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I Plead Guilty to Overtraining

It's hard to start running, it's hard to keep going once you've started, and it's hard push yourself without going too far.

I went too far. I pushed myself too hard for justttttt a bit too long.I pride myself in listening to my body and preaching rest. I'm good at following that advice.....Normally. But even I have a hard time reading my own body or should I say actually listening to it. It took my coach to confirm what I already knew. I was over training.

I should have taken an extra rest day, I should have cut my sessions, and I shouldn't have been so stubborn. I fell into the trap of pushing myself past my tiredness, mental exhaustion, and overall life stress one too many times and expected too much from my body as well as myself.

My coach said something to me yesterday that made me really stop and think. She said:

"Lets figure out a way to not have your runs feel like a chore"

Initially I got a little sad that that I let my run feel like a burden. But then I wondered, "How did I let something I love become a chore, another item on my to do list?"

The answer really was pretty simple actually. I'm not immune to the rest of life challenges taking a toll on me simply because I "power through" and run. Even though running is my safe haven.

I have set some pretty hefty goals running wise for myself to tick off in the coming years and since there are no firm races on the horizon I got so caught up in goals that are 3,4, even 5 years away just to have something to work towards. I wasn't looking at where I was at fitness wise currently and just kept expecting myself to run and run at the caliber that I deemed I should be able to.

The classic signs were there:

  • Feeling extra sore after workouts

  • Decreased Motivation

  • Unable to complete runs that were normally manageable

  • Declining performance

  • Trouble sleeping

I kept pushing all this aside and blaming isolated reasons (I didn't sleep well last night, I didn't stretch enough, or it was just a long day) when I should have been looking at the whole picture. It wasn't JUST daily stuff draining me. My running---my desire to improve---was draining my already warn out batteries.

For anyone who hasn't experience over training, the best way I can describe

it is this:

You charge your phone all the way up and you use it day in and day out. You think you notice the battery getting lower but think you're just looking too hard at it. Then a while later you notice the screen brightness goes down but figure it's just the new app you upgraded. But you would rather deal with the lessened battery than delete the app. You wait too long to delete the stupid app, your phone crashes and now you have no phone.

My body is the phone. I was stubborn and didn't delete the app (my running) and I had to take a week off because my body crashed. Luckily my coach and I agreed I was overtraining before I exploded. I was able to take my week off and feel better. I noticed immedietly I started to respond to the rest and within 24 hours knew it was the right call.

I went for a tester run and it was euphoric. I felt the runners high I had missed and enjoyed every step. I still struggled the next couple days to be motivated but my run today helped me let go of all the big expectations I have for myself and just enjoy the ability to run.

I could have been negative today---there was plenty to complain about:

  1. It was already hot because I got out too late

  2. I had to take walk breaks (yes, plural)

  3. I didn't hit my "easy" pace

But instead I just enjoyed it and looked at the positives:

  1. I was able to go during the morning which is RARE

  2. I kept running after my walk breaks and didn't give up

  3. I'm not injured and am actually able to run!

My goal this week is just to enjoy my runs and workouts. If I feel like running, GREAT! If I feel like just taking a warm shower and reading, THAT'S FINE TOO. If I don't listen to my body on what it needs, there is no one else that is going to. If I want to run for year and years to come I have to learn to accept that I have limits and need to respect those limits. Again, I preach REST to others because it's the secret to happy and productive training. I just have to remember that it applies to me as well and not have to be a super hero. Even though I think I would look awesome in a cape!!!! Don't you?

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