Hackney Half fitness tips with personal trainer Matt Smith: ‘Over-training’ and how to avoid it

PUBLISHED: 17:44 23 March 2018 | UPDATED: 17:55 23 March 2018

Personal trainer Matty Smith. Picture: Polly Hancock

Personal trainer Matty Smith. Picture: Polly Hancock


Matt Smith is training the Gazette running team for the Hackney Half. He will be giving readers regular fitness tips to help in their own preparation or just inspire them to get off the sofa. This week, he tackles the phenomenon of over-training.

There’s a phrase I use with some of my clients: “Can you go?” It’s something I picked up after reading a few books by American coach Dan John.

It implies: are you ready? Do you feel able? But perhaps a better phrase when thinking of distance running is: “Should you go?”

Over-training is a real issue. I see a lot of it. Listen to your body: no, that knee shouldn’t feel that; no, it’s not normal to be that tired; and no, you shouldn’t be that resentful of the exercise you’re about to do.

Take the rest. And if you really can’t face the run today. Do it tomorrow, but get it done. Set weekly and monthly targets for what you’d like to achieve. It’s creates good goal setting and makes rigid things a little easier.

Taking a rest isn’t pressing stop – it’s pressing pause.

• Dalston man Matt trains clients at Fitness First in Liverpool Street station. E-mail him on or visit

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