How do deal with the “Blahs,” the “Mehs” and avoiding the Slippery Slope that is Overtraining

This morning I woke up, 30 minutes before my alarm, as I passed it on the way to the bathroom..I paused…and set the switch to “off.”

“I have been running a lot of miles,” I reasoned with myself.  “I need some extra sleep,” I said.  “I’ll see how I feel after work and run then..”  (I think we have all said these things to ourselves.)

I sighed, uh oh…I have come down with a case of the “blahs!” I went back to bed.

A few hours later I rolled out of bed and went to look at my training log.  While I train hard and am competitive I do try to not to burn myself out, (as I may have had a tendency to do in the past.)  I am completely guilty of having been that stupid runner who will run every day of every month, but several years ago I realized that it was really getting me nowhere competitively.  I can’t do that and expect to have great speed or hill workouts too, rest and recovery are important to any training gains.

I should know this feeling by now, its that you-are-pushing-yourself-harder-than-you-should-and-are-nearing-that-edge-into-the-overtaining-abyss

Even though I try my best to be smart with my training and take proper rest days, sometimes I still get a little overzealous.  My training showed that I had run 370 miles in the last 4 weeks (averaging 92.5 miles/week) and I was probably in need of a break.  But this bums me out even further…here I am physically and mentally feeling low, and now I realize that I haven’t been doing a good job of recovering…damn it Rachel!

So what do I do?  Well to start I text a friend, ok maybe a few.  The consensus, of course, is that I have been slogging too many “junk” miles, and not resting…time to cut my mileage down this week.  It is so easy to fall into the “run your hard runs to easy, and your easy runs too hard.”

One friend threatened to come to my house and hide my shoes if I didn’t dial it back, another wouldn’t tell me his Labor Day weekend training plan because he was afraid my FOMO would get the better of me…FOMO thats a thing..really!! (Fear Of Missing Out)

I know that slow, hot, slogging miles won’t do anything for my mental state.  Shuffling around a hot forest in the summer is never a good mental pick me up…..So what’s the cure?  One word; ENDORPHINS!   Hm, well I know that chocolate stimulates the same pleasure centers in my brain…but that is not the answer.  I’m training for an “A” race right now, Grindstone 100.  No one ever PR’d by hanging on the couch eating bon-bons and watching re runs of Sex and the City.  (Com’on, cut me some slack, I need mindless TV sometimes..)

Ok, onto the next thing…SPEEDWORK!  Short, sweet, and hard!

So rather than my usual week (that looks something like this:

Monday 17+ mile hill repeating long run,

Tuesday 9 miles of stadium workout,

Wednesday 4 hour LSD,

Thursday 15% treadmill run followed by more miles in the woods,

Friday easy 1.5 hours,

Saturday LSD, and Sunday run with the family.)  Are you seeing a theme here…Obviously I like to run long miles, but tend to not put much hard effort into my week.

I did this;  Monday easy hour with the dog and x-train by lifting,

Tuesday proper hill repeats (ie Run HARD up the hill, and recover at the top, Run HARD back down, and recover at the bottom, repeat)

Wednesday 10 total miles, 2 warm up, 5×1 mile hard effort repeats, 2 mile cool down.

Thursday same stadium workout but cut shorter, and also harder effort with a break between each set.

Friday…I SWAM!?  (what?)

Saturday, dare I say it, I took a full day off!


Shorter runs also mean more sleep!  Since these workouts all took well under 2 hours, I had more time to sleep.  I also had more time to hang out with friends and family and could let my “training brain” rest too.

Follow up, this week (Monday after Labor Day) I am happy to report I ran a grueling hill workout faster than I ever have and I am back to being excited about training again…here I come Grindstone 100!


2 responses to “How do deal with the “Blahs,” the “Mehs” and avoiding the Slippery Slope that is Overtraining

  1. That plan is amazingly, ridiculously, inspiringly, frighteningly hard. 15% tmill incline (what tmill do you use, mine doesn’t GO that high!) followed by more MORE miles. 4 h run in the middle of the week? Yowza.

    Sounds like a week of change up and a bit more rest/less miles was the right way to go. You’ll rock your race!

  2. Pingback: September Blog Symposium Topic: Avoiding Burnout. | Trail Wisp(erings)

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