Coach Kaye Lopez is an IRONMAN Certified Coach and former member of the national teams for triathlon, cycling, and duathlon. She coaches age-group triathletes under her coaching group called FIT+ Academy and just recently came on board as the general manager of Powerman Philippines.



Triathletes are notorious for being born with a highly motivated, sometimes bordering on obsessive, personality.  After all, swimming, biking, and running for hours on end is not for the faint of heart and mind.  Unfortunately, despite the human body’s propensity to withstand and adapt to extreme levels of stress to ensure its survival, it still has limits that need to be respected to ensure our health, well-being, and longevity in the sport.



To help you sort through all the confusing signs that blur the lines between legitimate fatigue and utter laziness, below is a list of 10 objective clues for when to pull back before you end up throwing yourself over the edge:



  1. Feeling fatigue
  2. Excessive muscle soreness
  3. Difficulty sleeping
  4. Depression
  5. Suppressed or elevated morning heart rate
  6. Longer heart rate recovery period between intervals
  7. Easy irritability
  8. Persistent illness or injury
  9. Lack of confidence
  10. Overall lack of quantitative progress



Some visual cues include:


  1. Sunken eyes or fatigue around the eyes (bags)
  2. Gaunt appearance or dehydrated state
  3. Poor posture, slumped shoulders
  4. Lack of confidence
  5. Unusually quiet
  6. Lazy flip turns or reaching for equipment in the pool
  7. Dropped stroke rate during swim sessions
  8. Lack of speed, poor posture, and/or not pushing through during bike and run sessions



If you catch any of these signs early enough, there’s a good chance that these overtraining symptoms can still be reversed.  If you find yourself struggling to complete workouts or skipping them altogether due to any of the above issues, consider making the following adjustments to your schedule:


  1. Add more active recovery days.
  2. Schedule some days off to rest.
  3. Restructure your weekly workout schedule to prescribe 2-3 days of progressive workload followed by a day of active recovery.


Keep in mind that training stress is not the only one to blame for overtraining.  Stress from work, family, relationships, and other lifestyle factors, can all affect how resilient your body is when it comes to combating fatigue.  Consider also other possible non-training related sources of stress such as quality and quantity of sleep and nutrition, as well as other life events that might be placing a heavy toll on you — physically, psychologically, and emotionally.  Once you’ve determined the source of stress, then you can decide whether it’s the training that needs to adjust or if it’s possible to deal with the source of stress head on, nip it in the bud, and move forward with your training goals.