Posted by: pursuingsub17 | March 14, 2012

Pain and injury not the only signs of overtraining – made the right decision


Ever catch yourself not wanting to admit your spouse/friend/training partner/coach is right? Last night I kept telling Marc “It’s like my legs are constantly full of lactic acid! I feel like I’m always climbing stairs even if it’s to walk from my desk to the water cooler – my legs feel so heavy!” I swore up and down there’s something physically wrong with me. This morning I was even thinking “thyroid” since my mom has that issue.

The thing is, I’m not physically tired (unless I don’t get enough sleep of course!). I get my running gear on, head out, and that “heavy” feeling you get in your legs the first 2 to 3k or 10-15 minutes into a long run just doesn’t go away. My legs start out tired – as always – but they stay that way. I’m used to that feeling going away and then just the joy of running kicks in. Nope. After 10k, I’m ready to pack it in. My time is still good – but it takes more of an effort. I’m not in any pain – I just have heavy legs. Now my enthusiasm for training is wasting away. I don’t like that feeling – so I don’t want to put in the effort. It isn’t effortless anymore. I feel like I did when I started training for my first 10k race.

So I’m at work – and not wanting to work or have much to work on – I’m doing a bit of research. I thought maybe I have some strange disorder where I can’t get rid of the lactic acid. Googling “why are my legs so tired?” I found this site:  http://www.runninginjuryfree.org/2008/09/overtraining.html

Okay, I’m still going to continue reading some other articles but this site looked pretty legit. I’ve studied a lot on human physiology – both in college studying psychology and my training in national lifeguard classes. I know about the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Or, at least, I did know and this site reminded me. The light went on. Overtraining.

Whaaaattt?? …being my first reaction. I always associated overtraining with illness (such as a bad cold or chest infection) or injury (like plantar fasciitis or iliotibial band syndrome). I’ve suffered from both. But I didn’t know that overtraining would cause my legs to feel heavy and mentally sabotage my will to train. Well, I guess that last part makes sense. Train too much and you just don’t want to do it anymore and it makes you angry to have to do so and then makes you angry when you actually miss the workout – followed by guilt. But the heaviness in my legs makes sense. I’m just not used to it because I’ve trained for long distance races since 2008.

But I did push myself. I wanted to be faster this year. I forced myself to do the 9 min/mile tempo runs over an hour – followed up by a half hour of goal pace running – and 48 hours later do 15k of hill work then thought I would have what it takes to pull a 20k easy run two days later. Hell, I’ve done it before. No. No I haven’t. I thought I did but I’ve never pushed myself to do those speeds. I was aiming for a 4 hour marathon. The average person can do a marathon in 4.5 to 5 hours. That’s normal. Why do I feel that I should be abnormal?

Overtraining, huh? Yes, it’s good to aim high – but good to know your limits as well and also listen to your body when it needs rest.

Okay Marc, you’re right. Yeesh.

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