>> Monday, September 28, 2015

Yep. I ramped up my miles pretty quick after my little achilles injury 2 months ago, and I'm feeling the effects of overtraining.

The first and only (or at least "worst") time I've been overtrained in the past was going into my first TC 10 Mile in 2009. I was naive. I ran most every run "all out." Just over 2 weeks before that race, I did a 9.5 mile tempo run. A few days later, I did a 5 mile tempo. Ten days pre-race, I did a "practice" 10 mile, and felt dead throughout. Now I know it was because I was training too hard leading up to it. (And WHO does a "practice" 10 mile race 10 days before your "real" 10 mile race? Sheesh.) I was running 2-3 times per week, and every run was HARD.

Now I'm smarter. I'm running a little more often (still just consistently 3 times per week), and every run has a warm-up and cool-down. I'll do an easy run if the legs need to be flushed out. There's more emphasis on distances and not just speed. Six years ago, I wasn't injured and didn't have kids, so I was getting in all the runs I could want, and I only covered about 70 miles in September. This year, I'm nursing an injury and working around "stay-at-home Dadding" and teaching, and I'm already over 89 miles with possibly 1 more run before the month is over to take September to maybe around 94 miles.

This year's overtraining is different than 6 years ago. Six years ago, it was about tired muscles from ALWAYS being worked so hard. This year, it's about sluggish legs from adding on miles so quick, mixed with sheer exhaustion (felt when not running).

Achilles injury on 7/20, then finally did something about it the week of 8/3 and started to build
my running back from there. Biking is all over the place, but running slowly builds.
(And remember, I stopped swimming 7 weeks ago because of my elbow.)


Exhaustion example #1: In the last few months since Charlie's stopped breast feeding, I've been the one getting up to give him a bottle in the middle of the night. (Don't give me a medal - my wife works full time and I work about 1/6 time, so it's literally the least I can do.) Once about 10 days ago - for the FIRST time ever - Charlie woke up and I nudged Pharmie out of bed to deal with him because I was just too tired. And then I felt so guilty in the morning. Oops. Sorry Hun.

Exhaustion example #2: For the last 3.5 years, I've been getting up once a week at 2:44 a.m. to go to Adoration at my church. (I really only mentioned it once in this post 3 years ago.) After church, I sometimes go out and make photos, and sometimes I workout. Before this month, I think I've maybe skipped ONE workout during the 4 a.m. hour over the last 3 years because I've been too tired. In the last month, I've skipped TWO.

(And I'm not extra tired for any other reason. I've had no stress to start the semester. I'm sleeping a good amount at night. In the past when I've been running this far, I'm FAR from this exhausted. I'm certain this exhaustion is from ramping up the miles too quickly [possibly mixed with doing more "distance" speed work when all summer I was only racing shorter triathlons] without giving my body time to get used to the build.)

Health example: Since March or April, I've only had 1 cold. Until recently. Then in the last 2 weeks, I've had TWO colds. I may still have this one next weekend for the races. Tip: don't run next to me this weekend because you may get a snot rocket blasted on you. Accidentally, of course.

Training example: By the time I got to my last long run 9 days ago (of 11.5 miles), miles ran at "race pace" were hard. Not because I was running them too fast, but just because my legs were super heavy all the time. Three weeks ago, my easy runs started feeling harder than they should have. But I just had to get the miles in.

So, how will this affect me this weekend at the races? Who knows. I'm not going to think about it. Maybe it will go away with a week of rest. Maybe my legs will feel like heavy crap bags in the first of my 3 races this weekend. I suspect if I feel any overtraining effects this weekend, it will be on Saturday in the 10K or 5K when I'm trying to go shorter and faster - my legs will already feel a bit tired on Sunday in the 10 Mile after doing the 2 races the day before, so I don't think I'll notice anything different. I hope. We'll see.

Back with some "Loony Challenge" goals in a day or 2!


Robyn 7:04 AM, September 28, 2015  

Steve, I love your thoughtful, insightful training posts. Your analysis is probably right. But if some post Loony rest doesn't clear things up, think about getting ardical work up. My run funk two years ago was due to anemia, a friend just found her crappy running was because of mono, and another friend who was wiped out turned out to have Lyme disease! There's nothing like discovering a treatable disease to validate how tired you're feeling! Anyhow, hope you're feeling better soon.

Robyn 7:08 AM, September 28, 2015  

Oops, "a medical work up". Thanks, stupid autocorrect.

Steve Stenzel 7:59 AM, September 28, 2015  

Robyn: I'll keep that in mind if rest doesn't do anything. That's a good point! But I'm hoping I just need to back off after this weekend. We'll see… Thanks!

Jumper 2.0 7:33 PM, September 29, 2015  

Overtraining is such a tough subject to figure out.

Sometimes it's too much of the physical working out, sometimes it's other stresses at work and home. How is your sleep? Is it enough? Do you get too much blue light (tv, computer, phone) just before bed to affect your sleep quality? Do you have a good mattress? How is your nutrition? Are you getting enough good quality fats from olive oil, nuts, nut butters, avocado, etc? Is nutrition affecting you more now because you're getting older and just can't get away with the crap you did before?

What's weird, is you could repeat all of this again next year and have a different result.

And that's my point. I wouldn't know (or even attempt to judge) if any or all of these factors come in to play for you. Ok, I wouldn't be surprised about the nutrition part, but for all i know, whenever you're not taking a picture of what you're eating, you're always eating grass fed beef or free range chicken and salad with olive oil and vinaigrette. What I do know is that if you keep asking yourself these questions and look for what works for you (which may or may not be different than what works for me or Jen or Robyn), there's a good chance you'll find it.

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