5 signs you need a break

You have big goals. You have a training plan. You are determined to stick to it even though you feel blah. You tell yourself you are tough by sticking through the blah and then....it all falls apart.

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?
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
Why am I telling you all this? One, it may help you. Two, I love honesty and being accountable. Plus, recently I had all five of these signs knocking on my door. I slept more, I eased back my run intensity, I focused on eating well to aid in muscle recovery, I did yoga, I prayed, I soaked in Epsom salt baths, I ran outside, I prayed some more and finally....I emailed my doctor. It dawned on me that my chronic issue was out of control and I asked for assistance. I got anti-virals and they helped....except for that spot on my leg. It was getting worse. I went in to see the doctor, found out I had a spider bite that got infected with Staph, got more meds, and guess what? I am almost done with that round of antibiotics and I feel like me again.

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.


  1. I hope you have a great week!

  2. I can totally relate. I took a long overdue break after Rock 'n' Roll Raleigh in April. I ran Rock 'n' Roll Savannah today but with no distance training. I had been running and training non stop for half marathon to half marathon. I was tired, didn't want to run and not completely achieving what I wanted. This break in distance running has been great and definitely needed thanks to my complete focus of cross training in the gym.

  3. I totally was dealing with overtraining recently. All those signs were hitting me and I was just ready to be done with that last half marathon for the year. Afterwards I ran maybe twice a week for a couple of weeks. It felt good not to have to worry about racing. I desperately needed that break.

  4. I love that you say "without harming my body." Yes! This is the key thing--we have to think long-term health over short-term running goals. Not easy, but essential.


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