Many people, including some of my coaching clients, are hitting the midpoint of their fall marathon training plans. This means mileage has been building for several weeks now and both physical and mental fatigue might be settling in. This is exactly the time when runners could be at risk for overtraining and possible injury (the big “I”).
As most of you know, when I started running three years ago I just ran and ran and ran with no respect given to rest and recovery. I paid for it. I am still learning how to find balance and hope that other runners are too.
Are you headed for the big “I”? Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I snapping at the kids, flipping people off when I drive, and crying when the line is too long at Starbucks? Irritability is a sure sign that you may be doing too much.
- Does it feel hard even though it should be
softeasy (TWSS) ? Have your “easy” runs begun to be more challenging both physically and mentally? Be careful, your body may be breaking down!!
- Am I losing the love? One sure sign of over training is that running starts to feel like chore, one more think you have to do, rather than something that gives you joy. Sure, you won’t feel ecstatic about every.single.run you do during many weeks of training, but if running starts to bring a sense of dread, this could be a warning sign.
- Am I sick of being sick? When our bodies are stressed to the max, our immunity can take a nose dive. Getting repeatedly sick or not being able to kick an illness might be a sign you’re doing too much.
- Every time I pass my bedroom, do I stare longingly at my bed? If you are continually fatigued and napping has become a top priority, your body could be trying to tell you it needs a break.
- Do I feel like crap for hours/days after a long or intense workout? If so, your body is telling you that it is not adapting to the stress you are putting on it. It needs more TLC and rest.
- Do lots of my body parts ache all the time? Watch out. Running with even mild pain and achiness could be building towards the big “I.”
- Do my legs feel like they are full of wet, heavy sand? It is normal to feel some sluggishness when you first start a run, but if it continues you may have “heavy leg syndrome,” a classic sign of overtraining.
- Do I want to have sex as much as I want to mow the lawn? Decreased libido can be a true sign of burn out!
- Am I starting to get obsessed? Do you fear missing one run, cutting a workout short by a half mile? You may have tunnel vision and are not seeing the big picture. This can be a sign of, or a precursor to, overtraining madness.
- Is my heart beating out of my chest? Have you noticed an increase in your resting heart rate, i.e., you wake in the morning with your heart rate elevated? This is a sign something is wrong and that the body is stressed.
Do any of these apply to you?* When I think back on what was going on with me leading up to my “BIG I” (stress fracture), I know that my body hurt and running was starting to feel like a chore.
*If so, a future post will be devoted to how to adjust your training plan to minimize burn out and over-training.