I think that especially the very early signs of overtraining – when overreaching turns into overtraining – are very easily overlooked. We tend to do more, if our performance level drops. We often prematurely draw the conclusion that we did not train enough. But if our “diagnosis” is wrong than more intensive training sessions can very quickly bring about heavy legs during exercise …… and if we ignore this early symptom and continue with high intensity training the consequences may be an overtraining condition that cannot be reversed within a couple of hours.
Heavy sore legs indicate that recovery has not been sufficient and that the inflammatory signs that the muscle needs to undergo to adapt to a higher workload have not been cured yet. If you feel heavy-legged you may also feel sluggish and lethargic, your muscles are sore. Generalized fatigue, diarrhea and headaches are common complaints too. Overall you are not feeling well, which is more a general diffuse feeling. We may wrongly conclude that we are developing a flu, or that some other virus is bothering us. Instead, we are suffering from symptoms caused by the inflammatory phenomena in your body.
The healing process for those inflammations needs an average of 24 to 48 hours, after that these symptoms should have disappeared completely. If this is not the case, then overtraining has already turned into a more severe state. I think it is very crucial to be sensible for situations of this kind, because listening to your body’s signs and taking a rest of only 24 to 48 hours (an easy jog for a few kilometer per day may be allowed 😉 ) guarantees that you are back on track on day 3. The first run after the rest should be a real pleasure, legs are feeling light, there are no traces of muscle soreness, you should even run an effortless 30 seconds faster per kilometer than normal.
Of course, if you are really training hard, the legs usually feel stiff and lethargic at the beginning of the run. However this feeling should disappear as the run progresses.
How to recognize whether the level of muscle soreness is inappropriate
Timothy Noakes in “the Lore of Running” advises to score all training runs on the basis of how your legs felt during the run. Muscle soreness that either persists or gets worse during the training run indicates that this particular run should be stopped. You have to give your body a resting period of 24 to 48 hours. Then full recovery should be accomplished.
Exactly in these situation biestmilch with its anti-inflammatory properties is extremely helpful. It is well accepted that high-intensity training sessions may compromise immunity. But it’s your immune system that has got the healing job to do. Therefore, strengthening the immune systems improves recovery. Biestmilch can dampen the inflammations induced by high intensity training sessions.