Fortunately, I haven't really gotten to the it all falls apart yet since I really do think I do a good job of listening to my body on most days. Yes, I said on most days. Some days I have a hard time determining if my body is lying to me -- or more accurately, I am making excuses out of fear.
Since the Maui Marathon my running hasn't been ideal. But before I go further, let me tell you the 5 signs I look for to determine if I really do need a break versus having long run anxiety, etc.
These are my five tells and many can be indicators of overtraining. But for me, these are the things I focus on and listen to on a regular basis. But what do I do?
- Fatigue: Go to bed early and ensure I get a good couple of night's sleep. If this doesn't remedy things I know something is up.
- Moodiness: Look to see if there is a reason such as stress or hormones. If not, focus on relaxing through yoga and prayer. If this doesn't alleviate my moodiness, something is up.
- Aches: Ask myself if the aches or balanced (ie. both legs hurting) or not. If it is unbalanced, such as one hip, have I been stretching? Did I injure it? Is there a reason? I tend to pull back miles with aches to avoid further injury but if I have a dull achy feeling all over, something is up.
- Decreased performance: Is there a reason? I totally expect a run after a hard effort to have decreased performance so if that is ruled out, cut back to one mile days and/or look at my motivation level. Perhaps I need to change things up and run outside, a different run goal, etc. If that doesn't fix things, something is up.
- Loss of focus: When I become scatter-brained there is usually something up and I don't mean the simple moments here and there when I may ask darling daughter what I was about to do. I mean a longer loss of focus where I feel a bit lost on the meaning or purpose of my life. I know this may sound deep and no, I don't know the meaning of life but I do know my goals each day whether at work or personally. When I lose sight of those, or worse...don't care, I know something is up.
In this case, I needed more that a physical break, I needed help but sometimes just taking the time to slow down and smell the roses is all you need to reinvigorate your training. Please, listen to your body.
I am so thankful I was able to progress through all of this without harming my body. I continued to run every day and tried not to feel too down that my mileage was dropping and my long runs weren't happening. I changed my marathon goals and I am so glad I did. The joy of running AND training is back in my heart. My running this week is close to the plan but not there 100% and that isn't because I felt off but because I am juggling so much. I am not complaining. In all reality, I am fine with it since my previous week's have been off I feel running less this week will result in a safer weekly mileage increase. I am happy and for the first time in weeks, I actually feel confident I will nail my long run tomorrow. I don't know if I will nail the x-miles at goal marathon pace, yes, I still have a training goal marathon pace, but I don't doubt I can bust at 20 miles....even at home!
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for doctors who care.
Daily Affirmation: I know when to ask for help.