Effects of training too hard

Im wondering what people thoughts are on training too hard, over time. In other words, continuing to do hard days when you should be doing easy, training hard when you should be resting, and so on.

I guess from your personal perspective as well as from the perspective of the coaches on here.

I’m trialling a feature of TrainerRoad that has gone back over my training history flagging up the days I should have been taking it easy or resting. And my calendar is littered with those flags where you might expect it only around hard phases of training and races.


Too hard, or too much is relative. There is no absolute right or wrong as everyone is different. age, training history, current training load, even girls V boys is very different, ie women can get away with far more intensity and can recover quicker than men from hard sessions, hence one of a myriad of reasons 80/20 or 90/10 is not suitable for them.

I wonder how clever the TR algo’s are and if its using a form of AI how much “learning” it has done to get to this point (I doubt there’s anywhere near the dataset on TR to actually learn enough to prescribe it on an individual basis)


Their whole setup now is largely based on AI and machine learning. TrainNow is good for ad hoc workouts and that uses ML based on recent training load, and all their training plans (if you follow one) are updated after every session based on ML and athlete provided feedback on a given session.

Interested that you say they probably wouldn’t have enough data? What makes you say that / how much is considered “enough” in the IT world? Bespoke for each individual is probably true though. I imagine they are just applying general trends to all their recommendations. Which for the average weekend warrior is probably fine. Almost certainly not suitable for an elite athlete though (despite the fact they say many use them)


My very limited experience of TR told me that it always way overestimated tss of cycling vs running and didn’t know how to handle slow but very hilly running.

Based on tleven that flaw I can’t then see how it would accurately predict over training. It can’t see if you have 10 beers the night before a session or if you were stressed at work or if you didn’t eat well before or after a session. All aspects that will seriously impact recovery and ‘readiness’.


Really? I’ve not heard that before. Interesting.


I kind of guessed everyone would focus on the last paragraph than the first, but still makes me chuckle.

It may be decent, it may not be, that will take time to tell.

But how much value is in the proposition? If I am training a bit too hard most of the time…what is the “so what?”.

Hence my question.

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I’m feeling this now.
Always done the 80/20 rule and had some good efforts of it race wise.

80/20 was virtually impossible with hyrox but I sort of adapted it in the end, with a more tri/ running/ strength focus now it should settle down, I’ll bet everyone on here has been guilty of too hard too often at some stage, the main key is probably recognising it, if you don’t have a coach

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Despite TR now bringing in running data, I’d not ever use it for that. It’s a cycling platform as far as I’m concerned, and it’s good at what it does.

Despite venturing into running data, the fact it’s origins were with Nate who was an amateur triathlete and they’ve still never done anything re swimming says where the focus is.

I guess my point was, I’d not even contemplated that @joex was talking about TR opining on running related sessions. But maybe it is

Read Stacy Sims work. She’s actually on the Simon Ward podcast this week, must get round to listening to that

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This particular feature is in early access and covers running and cycling and they’re working on swimming. I think swimming is an industry problem though, based on the lack of standards in data formats.

Doesn’t use/need TSS for running which shows some promise.

There’s never enough, but if they have 50000 or 1million subscribers the quality of that data is key. Does every user upload every session to it, does it take into account all multisport sessions, the “stress” you created gardening or running for the bus, packing the kids off to school or the day in the office and 8k of walking during the day to get there and back. How does it get things like RHR, current weight, HRV data, sleep data, how does it quantify stress in other areas of your life and nervous system “recovery”. Two identical weeks for one of us could have very different outcomes based on the outside influences.

tl;dr Much of the data will be subjective, and no doubt incomplete.

So what is better, a computer saying “your are tired” because of a general trend or actually assessing yourself; your current fatigue and stress levels and thinking “I am tired”

What are your thoughts on training too hard over time and continuing to do hard days when you should be resting?

I’m unsure. Over the years I’ve tried to learn feel. I rarely have truly hard days imo. Long gone are the days of an indoor workout leaving me draped over the bars needing a ‘moment’.

But is that because I manage my training well or because I’ve become accustomed to hard work and being tired all the time? I’m not sure.

Theoretically I guess it should lead to inconsistency at least. But is my inconsistency primarily from life or overtraining?

Does the stop/start element of inconsistent training reduce the benefits or limit the gains?


You don’t have to share original thoughts of your own but would be nice.

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It’s simple. There are invariably two types of people training for an Ironman: undertrained and overcooked. I nearly always fell into the latter. Getting it just right is hard if you’re not a full-time athlete.

The effect/affect is increased fatigue, slower recovery, no fitness gains, probably fitness losses, mood swings and potentially injury or illness. But we all knew this right?


How do you determine the ‘when’?

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Not an easy calculation to make, possibly impossible…

are they not the same depending on your definitions?

the algorithms are getting better it seems, as is the data management, however they are based on drawing expectations from a very broad range of people…if you are on the tails of the bell curve, which you probably are, then it is highly unlikely to be specific for you…

This is why (good) coaching takes place in the margins…


I think with a job, sleep and sitting on the sofa for three hours every evening, we cannot ever train too hard.

You’d soon get tired, but that’s not from training.
That’s from life.
Quit your job and you’d soon feel right as rain without the schlep there and back and stress of it.

I went from doing pretty much naff all to 15-20 hour weeks when I wasn’t working full time. Absolute cake walk :white_check_mark:

So no, the effects aren’t from training too hard. They’re from other life things.


I’ll add to this, I’ve only ever done one truly hard session;

6am start. 1km warm up
5 x 1.609km in 5:10
400m recoveries
1km cool down

I was sick.
Swimming is pretty much a piece of pie.
I’m usually defeated by the heat before effort there.

Cycling? I’ve had a few “wobbles” due to not enough fluids etc, but no truly hard sessions. Pissing blood the morning after one hot ride was pretty hard, but dehydration and passing kidney stones doesn’t count, does it :person_shrugging:t3:

Running? Pfft. One. As above. The rest are just either long or slightly uncomfortable.

So no, I don’t think we can train “too hard”

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So your hard sessions may actually not be hard enough depending on what your goal is?

Impossible to say without knowing an extensive athletic history. Fatigue though comes in many forms and I think Im safe to say you dont have the easiest of life outside training either creating regular sympathetic nervous system responses

Highly unlikely you are suffering from overtraining syndrome , maybe a compromised nervous system and “under recovery” is more likely but this is likely due to many other areas of your life, as you say you never go really hard. Your inconsistency, from the outside, looks to be life based not training based. You’d know if you had Chronic Overtraining Syndrome and training 10 hrs a week is highly unlikely to be the cause of any under recovery, life is

@AndyS dug himself into a hole in 2009/10 ish iirc (he may choose to share as he did on TT1.0 at the time) and it was picked up by a coach and basically he had to stop all activity he was so fatigued (Its a long time ago so all iirc)

Seems obvious no? Consistency is key. All males should be prioritising lots of easy movement along with strength and mobility work. Only when you have this nailed down then think about the rest.

There’s nothing magic in training, don’t believe the facebook coaches or companies selling you stuff. The number of athletes I come across and have to “sell” that just do the 95% correctly and you will go a long way. Its not complicated, Move well, move often. The rest is filler.


My thoughts on two separate but related things …

Back in the 90s when I took up running seriously, I definitely did too many hard sessions early on. I didn’t really notice it tbh as I was young and fit. However, my race PBs improved quite considerably when I started running twice a week with my wife at much slower pace.
I think back then, everybody knew a lot less about this and so the tendency was to learn from the faster and more forthright people; neither of these groups were probably the ones best able to give advice to me (with the benefit of hindsight).

Which brings me to the second point, one of the more useful discussions from TT 1.0, I think initiated by ttowel and eventually labelled something along the lines of ‘7/10 training’.
The point was that it’s very easy for your ‘hard’ training to be not hard enough and ‘easy’ training to be too hard … so instead of being ‘black’ and ‘white’ it all ends up a shade of grey.
This issue should be less prevalent these days with all the tech we have available and tailored coaching programmes but as @joex states, it’s still very easy to fall into the grey trap.