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How to tell if you are under or over training

Too much training or too little?

Many athletes have the attitude you just have to go hard all the time, they are tough and unbending when it comes to training, they know it sometimes hurts and is hard and you just have to deal with that. Take a teaspoon of concrete and harden up and this attitude has some great benefits with your sporting and fitness ambitions but can also . have great benefits for other areas of your life. You learn mental toughness and how to push through, however this approach can also lead to burnout and adrenal exhaustion, a break down of the immune system even hormone imbalances and stress. The body doesn't improve during the training phase it actually improves when you are resting and recovering and so it is crucial to factor this in and to make sure you are ready for your hard workouts prior to doing them.

In this episode Lisa Tamati and Exercise Scientist Neil Wagstaff talk about how to tell where you body is at and how to read the signals it is giving you so that you can optimise your performance and stay in optimal health without compromise.

They have also prepared a free guide to download so you can assess your own body and this can be downloaded at

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Show Transcription

Welcome to pushing the limits, the show that helps you reach your full potential with your host, Lisa Tamati brought to you by

Speaker 2


Well, hi everybody Lisa Tamati here, pushing the limits here with my wing man. Neil Wagstaff Neil how are you're doing.

Speaker 3


I'm good. Thank you. I'm good.

Speaker 2


We've got another great episode already for you guys today. I hope you're all excited. Now today we are going to be talking about how to tell if you are under or over-training. And this might be very counter intuitive for a lot of the people who are just saying go hard, go harder or go home. But we want to talk to you a little bit about finding balance in, in actually how to, how to work out whether your body is actually trying to tell you that it's time to pull back, have a bit of recovery time and what to do there. So Neil, take it away.

Speaker 3


Take it away. It's although as you, some of you may seen out there that moment, we've got a great guide and one of ebooks which were put in the show notes afterwards on how to work out if you're under or over on the training so that I'll have all the content and for you guys at the end. But we use with our athletes and ourselves as well by Felicia and I, we use our, the running hot coaching wellness check and that wellness wellness check it take you through a series of serious different things to look at. Very subjective. And all you're going to do is write yourself on a scale of one to ten one being that you are feeling like you're in the toilet, 10 being that you are rock and roll in, you are all, all guns blazing. you're on fire.

Speaker 3


Okay. So you are going to do this and rate yourself on a simple one to 10 scale with your sleep, your nutrition, hydration, movement, any injuries or niggles you've got your energy levels and then your stress levels as well. So seven things you're gonna check in on each of those. As I say, you right for one. So if you're scoring a one on everything and you base it in the toilet, does that equal going out and doing a high intensity interval training? No heel repeats? Probably not. So likewise, if you're up at a 10 and you've got all this energy in the tank, you should be able to go out and do a do a tough session. I just want to dig a little bit deeper into it because what you're gonna find as you collect this information each day, and we can send you out the spreadsheet we used to do this afterwards as well, is it will start to develop a picture for you.

Speaker 3


You simply get up in the morning, have a look through, doesn't take any time at all, and you just go, right, where am I at? Scale of one to 10. Just go through your, your check, see where your schools are at and you'll start see a pattern developing side. Personally. Also a pattern developing with my sleep. My sleep was where my scores were low. And do you niggles coming in as well? So very quickly identified to me that the area I needed to be working on was my, was my sleep. Whereas in hindsight, years gone by, if I wanted to get better in my running, I would have done nine times or 10 times out of 10 I would have gone out and done another info session. We'll go on out and then another hill session or run my longer run would've had half an hour added to it because in my head many years ago, to be a better runner, you need to run more than an exit.

Speaker 3


We used to have this same conversation as well when I started coaching with you, Lisa. But it's what we've learned now is that now by me addressing my sleep, guess what? That's making me a better runner. So dropping a session each week. So going from five day run days a week to full run days a week and getting my sleep from six and a half hours to seven and a half, eight hours, I've become a better runner and we're finding exactly the same thing's happening with all the people using it with often the things that are popping up will be hydration issues is that, imagine again the same thing you will get. You're going out and doing your running with people that we're talking to are going out and doing. They're running, they're doing more running cause I think that's gonna make them a better runner, higher intensity, more volume and they're doing it in a day hydrated state.

Speaker 3


So all they're doing by adding more load and volume and intensity is the becoming a worse runner, more injured runner and more unhealthy runner folks on the hydration instead because you've identified that as the area you need to work on, all of a sudden it starts, it starts improving thing that we want to point out as well as chatting to one of our clients over in the states yesterday. Lovely lady we worked with over there and in some of the time is fine understanding it and you and I have been here, Lisa, we've been at many times. It's fine when you understand all this, all this makes perfect sense from a science point of view and a theory point of view, application is the hardest bit. So I've programmed her to have a, she was on a five day run, we were starting to go into a taper program that I started dropping it down into four days and she understood why but it was now what am I going to do with Wednesday?

Speaker 2


Yeah. I'm psychologically not coping.

Speaker 3


Yeah. Well I haven't been Wednesday. Wednesdays are run day. What happens with Wednesday? So it's also, if you are playing with it and your schools are telling you you needs to meet an easy day, replace it with something that you can go and have fun with. So get 'em replace it with a yoga class for example. Or go for a walk instead of a run going, do something you enjoy but enjoy that day. Yeah. It's been given to you to fill your tank a little bit more, fill your cup a little bit more, give you a little bit more energy, which is gonna make you a better runner,

Speaker 2


Okay? She does not mean that you're a lazy ass. Not mean that you are useless, that you are not tough enough.

Speaker 3


Listen, somebody songs and we had that conversation

Speaker 2


Very, very many times and we still have it though. We knew it because you know, psychologically is athletes. We are often very much Taipei crews to the, all of these. We'd go get us. We want to, we want to work hard, we want to fight hard, we want to play hard. But which is fine and this is obviously, it's really fun when you're a 20 year old and you don't have a lot of other things on your plate, okay? And you get away with a heck of a lot more. Just like you could get away with partying and then going running a marathon the next day when you were 20. Not so great when you're 50. And in things you have to change as you get older. With each, with each decade, you need to look at things differently. That does not mean that you get weaker, that you get lazier, that you use ages and excuse.

Speaker 2


It just means you was up to the way that your body needs a definitely different stimulus in different stages of your life. And this is part of what we're trying to teach you is to understand your own body so that you know when it's time to push and when it's time to back off. And I'm obviously, I am, you know, preaching to the, the worst person on the planet. You know, like I will still go out when I've got an injury and I'll still try and when I'll got a cold and I shouldn't be. And I know, and it's a real battle inside my head. So I get this, this is a battle. But when I, you know, as I get wiser and I do start to pull back and this is where we actually have the gains because when we blow ourselves out and we over train, when we're not in a state for really strong training, this is when we start to break down emotionally.

Speaker 2


We start at district breakdown with the stress levels in our lives and stress is the number one most dangerous thing that we can do to our bodies. Stress is what causes us to get disease. Stress is what causes most of our problems in life. If we can lower our stress levels, then we can know of the chance that we'll get sick, we will help our immune system rebuild and all of these sort of things that we don't think about when we think just go hard or go home, you know, and like, you know, I'm a hard-ass athlete. I have been my entire life and so as new we're not, we're not softly, softly changeable when B types. Okay. But we are wiser than we were and we were 20 years ago. And we understand the need that we're not, we are not robots and you are not bullet proof and I don't care whether you're dean kinesis or you're David Goggins, you still need to recover in between these bouts of really hard ass life, you know?

Speaker 3


Well if you hit the nail on the head there as well, it's a, it's often a, I'll say to a lot of people that we're, we're working with and a lot of people we coach one on one lease. Is that, is that use your experiences to your advantage to part of the training plan is, is and should be. What's your history and what's your experience? If you've got experience with doing marathons, half marathons, ultramarathons you can use that to, your advantage has gotten, as you were just saying, so you've now got experience in doing things. You now know what works and what doesn't. So actually go through this daily checklist of subjects you're looking at where you're at. You can really start to create your own rulebook this, you can start to see and go, right. I know that historically that's what I've done well or that's what I've not done so well.

Speaker 3


I can now really start to focus on certain areas. If someone is coming in to do their first marathon with us at first half marathon and their first ultra marathon, if it's their first one, I want them to hurt a little bit more in training. I'll want to push them a little bit further because we need to not just train them physiologically. We need to train them psychologically as well and prepared them for that. If you're coming off the bat, which a lot of our athletes are multiple events, then a lot of that is already trained so we can, we can now get wise with the training because it doesn't need to hurt so much because that that is already ingrained.

Speaker 2


Fight through pain. Yeah,

Speaker 3


Exactly, and then especially that was a fine example is with when with the coaching that I was doing and continue to do with you is is that's there. You've got to remember what you already know because that would allow you to go to places that you couldn't, you couldn't have done, you could have done before. The other, the other piece of the puzzle is, is that you, by changing these things, we can change our environment so we can really start to change how our body's responding. If we're adding more hydration in, if we're changing our sleeping environment, that changes our us from a physiological, biological level level as well, which means then all of a sudden results just starts climber. So it's connecting the dots between do all of these things might be a better runner? Yes. Oh, they actually specifically to do with running, not directly, but they get to get an increase in a response in, in performance. So if you want to be wise, start using it, start doing it. Start thinking outside of the square.

Speaker 2


Yeah. And not just going harder and harder and harder and using those risk phases for exactly that to rest to recover. Because that is when you get better. You don't, when you go to the gym or when you go running and you actually braking muscles, you're actually causing microtears and things. So it's not that that's actually causing the improvement. Those kids are there. And then the, it's the body's recovery response, which only happens when you go and sleep and recover and rest and digest and still water. That parasympathetic nervous system stuff is when you actually get stronger. So if you just going back to back to back to back smashing yourself, smashing your smell and in thinking that you're going to get stronger and no, you're not going to because you haven't got that balance of oscillating between the parasympathetic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system and we really need that balance and auditor to have those, those breakthroughs and those improvements and not to plateau. Right.

Speaker 3


Total. Certainly some of the some of the changes you most we, we've spoken about the, you've gone for a more sort of bite sized piece of, of Excise Sundays. So rather than doing the long bouts, you've been getting some great results with shorter sort of 10 to 20 minute workouts. Also with how you've been integrating some of some more of the yoga stuff. Yeah. Your mindset is changed with Coz chatting to you and listen to you. It's all the benefits you now get from some of your yoga sessions are significantly greater than they would have been a few years ago. Yeah. And you're really starting to feel and see the benefits and then enjoying your runs more when you go for them as a result of it.

Speaker 2


Yeah. So I had a few years ago and you know, most of us as well heard this perhaps, but total burnout after running through New Zealand and doing this valley and doing all those other crazy Himalayan races. And I was getting to a point where the, I was doing the races and I, I was starting to break. I was just really sick. My body was starting to break down and I was starting to get health issues. So major health issues came along. Then of course, mom came along and with her with her major issues. And so my whole life priorities changed around and so I was forced into the situation of having slow or change is a better response. So I couldn't spend 20, 30 hours a week training like I'd done previously. And so that means I could head to go and actually listen to the offer change, changing culminate and some other things because the stress levels were through the roof.

Speaker 2


The cortisol was all over the place, the adrenaline, all of those things were just far schools. We talked about the start with load. They were all in the, all in the pulling the toilet, yet they were absolutely rock bottom. And so I had to start rebuilding my body again and trying to find my health again and let alone my fitness, getting it back up to speed. And so doing by doing a combination of very short, high intensity workouts, like crossfit style stuff and weight training and being in a, in a anabolic state and not just in a catabolic state all the time. And then adding in some Yoga. And which I really found had, by the way. I mean, I've, I've been a joke, plops life. Yeah. So I was, you know, I, I get the, how I'm controlling the body and movement and you know, dancing and gymnastics and stuff, but I still found yoga because it's slow and it's very brief controlled and all of those things actually bloody hard.

Speaker 2


And I know a lot of athletes do. We'd rather go for a run and go to a yoga class. And it takes a shift. You have to do it a number of times until you start to feel the actual benefits of it. And, but the thing that, what yoga does and what [inaudible] does or any sort of mobility with massage, all of these things start to get the body out of the sympathetic state into a parasympathetic dominant state. So that means you're shutting down the stress release of, of stress hormones. So your cortisol and your, your adrenaline's and norepinepherine than you know what, all of those sort of stress hormones, which are we need at certain times, but we don't want to be in that state all day. And if we've got a stressful life, then we tend to be in that state all the time.

Speaker 2


So we, you know, the the excess what is it? The hypothalamus, the Draino. Anyway, it keeps releasing hormones all day. And what that does is that means that your like parasympathetic or sympathetic dominant. So you're pushing out all these stress hormones in your actually slowing down your immune system. You're actually slowing down your digestive processes, you're slowing down the reproduction of new cells being made. Because these are only, these processes are mostly done when we're in a relaxed state. That's why they call it rest and digest sort of a state in the parasympathetic state. And so when you go and do a yoga or meditation or a deep breathing exercise, which sounds like woo, you know, it sounds like, ah, I just want to go and punch a punching bag or run up a mountain because that's the way we program. But if are in a state of stress and we've got to be actually encouraging more stress that way.

Speaker 2


And when we slow down and we go and do a yoga class, what it does is actually tunes off all those stress hormones from being produced and now our body can go into, oh, it's time for going and repairing. It's time for digesting. It's time for sitting my immune system up so that it can ask, go and fight the bad things that are coming in their bodies. And when we don't, and we ignore that for too long, that's when we get sick. That's when we get diseases. That's when we get start to break down mentally and emotionally and physically. And this is why you can't stay in that highly stressed out state without effects. And this is why this balance between the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous system is so crucial and you cannot, I've heard, and I've said this in the past before, I don't need to meditate.

Speaker 2


I go run and running east into top of meditation, but it's, it's in the sympathetic state of being and then that is by its own definition, not a recovery state. So it while you, you might be able to clear a lot of crap out of your thinking and you might be able to you know, get your body breathing well and all of that sort of stuff. It isn't a restroom recovery activity going for a walk in the park and enjoying the flowers and nature and the birds singing. Now that will turn your parasympathetic nervous system want. And it can be as simple as that. It can be as simple as going to the scene staring out at the ocean for us and hour these things. Turn our parasympathetic nervous system on and calm the body down and let your body actually do it's repair processes, which actually is, you know, the anti aging, the ND disease, the MD.

Speaker 2


Everything, you know, it's crucial that we have that oscillation. This is why, you know, everything is as a seesaw. We need to be trying to stay balanced all the time. And that doesn't mean that we can't go and do crazy ass things, but it does mean that afterwards we're going to have to go out and recover and repair. And you know, like we have this conversation with Carlos, so he coached it running hot coaching and amazing man who's done was doing 12 outros over a hundred kilometers, including a hundred miles in 24 hour rices and Multi Day stage races inside 12 months. And you did that last year. And then this year is having trouble because he's in the recovery phase. And psychologically that causes a lot of stress because we don't, we're used to going hard out, you know, and this is why you know, it takes a psychological shift and it's understanding that you're not letting go. You're not being useless. You're not going to put on 50 kilos. In fact, the opposite is often true because you're allowing the stress hormones. You probably find that you, if you're carrying a little bit extra weight, I want you to lose it. Doing the yoga, then you are doing the running and all of these things is counter intuitive, isn't it? Next time,

Speaker 3


But certainly counter intuitive in the the, the beauty of what we've put together for all the listeners is that we can now identify with a simple wellness check and a very subjective and easy way in a daily that you can see exactly where you're at. Yeah, you're just getting up you guys through your chat list and if you chat loose, slow, then we want to do something that, as you rightly say, is going to take us into a parasympathetic system. If you schools are rock and roll, then the they're up there and they're high. Then that's where that's the ultimate aim is we're like that on a consistent basis and the way we'll get like that on a consistent basis if we get the balance right between parasympathetic. So it sees as you've been talking about Lisa and sympathetic activities, we get the balance right.

Speaker 3


And the other thing is as well as understands that that is going to be very different for each of us individually. The once you get the balance right and no one, I say this to many people we're coaching, no one knows your body better than you though. So we're here to give you advice. We're here to mentor you, to coach you, to take you through and teach you, but we're always going to ask you to listen to what your own body's telling you because you are with it every day. You are going to know it better than anyone. Once you start listening to it, it will tell you what you exactly what you need to do to get the best out of it

Speaker 2


And not overriding the signals that are coming from your body during the night. Oh and hurts. It's hurting my, my bones are hurting my everything's liking out. Just toughen up and take a teaspoon of concrete and get over it. And there are times when you need to go there, right? To have that ability, but it's not general, not for general health, you know, not for general health. And that's why the sort of conversations are important for a lot of people. Don't actually hear and understand. And you know if you're a woman, you've got hormones and you've got cycles as another reason why you need to, you know, be on top of what's happening in your cycle and making sure you don't check yourself over the each one way or the other and that you don't get adrenal problems and so on and so forth.

Speaker 2


So I think this has been a really interesting conversation today. We haven't covered, you know, things in depth here, but if you want to find out more, if you want to get this wellness check, then reach out to us. You can reach me on this And we've got to put in the show notes, a link to the the guides that we've produced, which is all about how to tell if you're over training or under training and what to do about it. And of course we'd love you to come and join us at running hot coaching. If you want in a holistic run training system that isn't going to burn you out, that isn't going to break you. It isn't gonna end up with injuries necessarily. There's always a few that will creep in when we twist their ankle or whatever. But if you want to be able to prepare your body so that you don't just break down because you're starting to overcook, then come and check out our system, head on over to Lisa and she can air running programs. And neo, anything final to add to those words today?

Speaker 3


Nice spot. And Lisa as always spot on. It's yeah, it's just, it's just doing it. Do it. Take the time to, to have a look at where you're at each day is time well spent. It's a minimal amount of time, a few minutes each day. For me, when I started doing it and we've now started using it with all our all our coaching clients, it just makes the world of difference.

Speaker 2


Yeah. And, and this is really aimed at those people who are experienced, you know, and who are perhaps getting a little bit older and perhaps doing the same way they've always done them and not listening to the bodies. It's, it's genuinely not the problem of the beginner. The beginner is has to learn to read the body as well, but they need more structure in the program, as Neil was saying earlier, so that they understand how to you know, push through barriers and push through pain and all that sort of stuff. But when you experienced in doing that and you're not getting the results that you should be getting, this might be the reason why. So take that to heart and I hope that that's helped today. So thank you guys and we'll be back again next week. We've got another great session with Neil I think next week. So stay tuned and as always, please give us a rating and review. Really, really appreciate that. Help us get some exposure on iTunes. You can do that rating and review there or just reach out to us if you've got any questions around running around mindset, around nutrition. We'd love to hear from you Neil and I and the team, so please reach out to us and we'll see you again next week.

Speaker 1


Thanks, Lisa. That's it this week for pushing the limits. Be sure to rate, review and share with your friends and head over and visit Lisa and her team, at


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