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As training load increases there is an initial rapid improvement in fitness. Further increases produce diminishing returns until a optimum training is reached. Further training beyond this point produces less than optimal results until overtraining is reached when fitness is dramatically diminished.

Overtraining is a lack of recovery from training stress. The most serious type of overtraining is Overtraining Syndrome, but there are other categories. Each involves some imbalance between training and recovery, but with different outcomes. All levels of runner can experience any of the types of Overtraining, including Overtraining Syndrome.

1 Overtraining and Supercompensation

Exercise produces a temporary decrease in fitness, followed by a recovery and supercompensation.
With sufficient rest between workouts, fitness improves.
Without sufficient recovery time, the fatigue builds up until injury or overtraining syndrome occurs.

2 References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Physiological Perspective of Endurance Overtraining – A Comprehensive Update http://ajms.alameenmedical.org/article_vol05-1-jan-mar-2012/AJMS.5.1.2012%20P%207-20.pdf
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the Overtraining Syndrome http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/tandf/tejs/2006/00000006/00000001/art00001
  3. The unknown mechanism of the overtraining syndrom... [Sports Med. 2002] - PubMed - NCBI http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11839081