Friday, June 10, 2011

Is This What Overtraining Looks Like?

So I hit my first 40 mile week, and did 31 miles over the last weekend. I was tired Monday and took a needed rest day. Tuesday, I ran speedwork with the North Texas Runners group. I ran half-mile repeats at the pace I would have chosen based on my half marathon PR, with no consideration for the fact that I'm postpartum or that it was 90 degrees outside. I was drained on Wednesday and wanted to spend family time so I didn't run Wednesday.

So yesterday, Thursday, I'm just in an awful funk. I'm tired, I'm trying to eat a little more consistently and make slightly better food choices, I feel behind on my miles for the week, I've gained a pound total. I want the marathon to be only a week away and not SEVEN MORE WEEKS. I'm not excited about training in the heat anymore.

I had a few mini-pep talks and comments from Twitter friends throughout the day but couldn't shake it. I had a strength training session with my trainer that night. I ran 3 miles right before the session.  We sat down for 10 minutes, and playing part-therapist, went through all my feelings about running and my body at this moment.

He decided I'd been so perfectly on my training plan for the last 4 weeks and it was a very stressful plan I was putting myself through with the high mileage gain, long runs, and addition now of strength training, that I was on that edge of overtraining.  So he originally wanted me to not run anymore for 72 hours. I said no way because I have the North Texas Runners monthly run on Saturday. So I can run Saturday, but I have another rest day Friday and Sunday.

But it's not like I'm just taking 72 hours off. I'm going to start cataloguing my food, and we're going to start making small steps to get a handle on that. Plus, I need to get more sleep. I've been way deficient this past week.

My brain spins out of control because all I can think about is that low weekly mileage total in the middle of my training plan. But one major stepback week won't cause me to lose fitness. The marathon is still 7 weeks out, and I've already down 2 20-milers and several 16-17 mile runs. I really appreciate the compliment last night from @Tricia Running, that she was impressed with my dedication to my training. I said I've been on it, but now I feel like THIS, I'm on the edge of overtraining and must recover. But she replied "even that is dedication :) great job listening to your body & doing what's best for YOU". Thanks, Tricia, I needed to hear that!


  1. 40 miles a week?!?! I'm trying to get 40 miles for the MONTH! ! :-)

    Good Luck with your marathon. I don't know if I'll ever get to the place where I would even want to run a marathon but maybe.

  2. Every runner is different! What may be overtraining for you is easy for someone else and vice versa. Rest days are important. Your body knows when it needs to scale back. In my very humble, very un-expert opinion, your body demands rest days to keep you from getting hurt when you're getting too worn down.

    You sound very ready for this race. Honestly .... I only did ONE run over 20 miles before my first Mary. I wasn't in BQ condition but I finished the race. You're going to do great. You've trained hard. The race is just a victory lap! You're picking up your medal to honor your hard work and dedication. Don't worry, Libby. You'll rock this race!

  3. The one thing that we endurance athletes do is not trust the training. We are always thinking that more is better and that is not always the case. You have a great base built if you have 2 20 milers and still 7 weeks out so trust what you have done and listen to your body.

    I also believe that food plays a much bigger part in our training then we believe. It needs to be analyzed and understood. I ate X and ran great, I ate Y and felt like crud. I slept Z and and X and it was phenomenal....I think you get the picture.

    Trust what you have done and you will be golden come race day.

  4. That Tricia girl, she is one smart cookie :)

    I 100% meant it. Its WAAAY harder for a runner to be honest with themselves and listen to their body and reign it in then it is to simply plow on. I'm super impressed and totally respect you for it.

  5. Proud of you for tackling all of this training Libby - you are going to do GREAT!

  6. A lot of plans have one stepback week per month. Missing a few runs to rest and prevent overtraining isn't a big deal. I would treat it just like a minor sickness or minor injury - you would rest, right? Good on ya for being able to tell the difference between a little tired and flat out EXHAUSTED.

  7. Well, I just wanted you to know that you inspired me the last two weeks to challenge myself a little. I have had two 25 mile weeks and I have NEVER done that before. Thanks for all you do for the North Texas Runners. I am really enjoying the group and the friendships. You are a true running ambassador!