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The B Word

The B word

And no, it’s not the one you are thinking about because autocorrect (on LOLZ phone) changes that B word to witch.  My autocorrect really likes ducks as well…

Another B word:

Burnout

I am going to fully admit this week was not what I wanted as far as running.  I’m mentally exhausted from running.  I don’t know what I was thinking but I wasn’t thinking.  I needed MORE time off this week. 

This week I had been consistently running every other day after Broad Street.  On Thursday, I found myself tired and not wanting to be out there.  So I cut my run short and headed home.  I was more tired than ever before and more miserable.  I asked myself, what is the point of logging junk miles that I felt like garbage and I wasn’t enjoying myself?  What on Earth was so pressing that I had to be out there and train?

The answer was nothing so I went home.

What happened last week was something along the following lines.  I had a good race at Broad Street last Sunday.  I got pretty excited to start marathon training even though I told myself “I have one more week until marathon training” and I pushed through the early part of the week instead of resting more.

My body is now thanking me for that.

Since Thursday, I have taken it much easier and truly listened to myself.  A lesson I should have learned a while ago but didn’t.  We all get ovrezealous in our training sometimes.

*I’m not injured or thinking I’m injured, I am just tired.  I believe the humidity, needing more rest and not getting enough sleep have played a role.  I think if I had continued to “run through the tired legs and fatigue” I would find myself with an injury.

So today marks 20 weeks until my next full marathon and I’m beginning my week far better then last week.  The month of May and part of June is about building my base.  I will be doing some shorter 5ks (hopefully).

There isn’t a need (as hard as it is to tell myself and trust myself) to do 90 mile weeks right now.  I’m not in that part of my training.  When I get closer to my full marathon I will be, but I have to make it there first.  I have to make it to not burning out.

I feel much more confident starting my training this week.  I feel ready and I’m happy I relaxed and enjoyed my final week (and final Sunday post for a while) that isn’t marked with Wineglass Week 1.

Questions for you:

What do you do to avoid burnout?

What is the more sore you have been from a  race?

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38 responses

  1. I always take extra rest after races. From my experience, more rest will never hurt you, but overtraining will. I think the most sore I’ve ever been was last year, when I ran a 25km hilly (read up and down a ski hill 20 times) race, then ran a 10km flat run immediately afterwards. Don’t ask. It was stupid, and I’ll never do it again.

  2. So smart to listen to your body, I always try to ask myself if I’m running because I want to or because I feel like I need to but I can’t say I’ve always listened and taken the extra days of rest but I am way better at it than I used to be. My worst soreness was actually after my first ever cross-country race (and only!), I had never run in spikes and never run on that kind of crazy hilly, muddy terrain. My calves screamed at me for nearly 10 days and I was only sore for maybe 2 days after my marathons.

  3. I had a similar week, Hollie! I enjoyed my runs, but I was trying to ramp it up too quickly after my back to back half marathon weekends and I ended up with soreness/tightness/niggles everywhere. Not good. Finally by Saturday I thought to myself “what are you doing?! Just let this be a down week and recover and get back at it when you feel better!” And I had an enjoyable “long run” of just ten miles (planned on 20). Already feeling much better.

    So yes, you are such a wise woman! No point in pounding out miles if you aren’t feeling it, especially at this point in your running cycle. You are smart and realize it will just lead to big problems down the road!

  4. I think half the battle of a marathon is getting there healthy. If you’re feeling burnout 20 weeks out then good for you for not being stubborn and taking additional rest. I almost always feel burn out about 3 weeks before a goal marathon. Luckily it’s right before taper so I have more time to rest and mentally heal up before go time. The most sore I’ve ever been was after my first marathon. I had no idea I would feel that way and when I thought about running another marathon in that time I thought “NEVER AGAIN.” 🙂

  5. Back when I was running (before I injured everything!), I’d get burned out between races about once a year. I knew to rest, but usually I’d already have some silly cold or something as a result.

  6. I’m feeling the burnout as well. I think I definitely overdid it with spring races but you live and learn. I’m taking it easy and hopefully some new scenery will help motivate me to get out and want to run again.

  7. Burn outs usually happens to me when I tty and jump right back in after races. So I avoid it by forcing myself to rest and enjoy the week after the race off! I hope you’re feel better for your next run 🙂

  8. I try not to do junk miles like you described. Especially if I’m not training for anything. I’m taking almost a month off after my next race to rest up and get ready for marathon training. I think if I had to do something before then, I’d definitely feel burnt out.

  9. I definitely have my fair share of burnouts. I think I’m coming out of one just because my legs finally feel good again. You have plenty of weeks of serious training ahead of you, so of course it’s better to not let yourself reach that point where you dread running before you start. I’ve always admired your approach to training and how in tune you are with how you feel, so as long as you keep doing that, you’ll be just fine.

  10. To refresh after feeling burned out, I get more sleep and I don’t run at all for a few days. I think it’s SO important not to slog through. If we just go out and feel crappy all the time and push through, I can’t imagine we’d ever recover fully. It feels so much better to be refreshed and enjoy the run. Thanks for the post because it’s reassuring to know that a successful runner also doesn’t push through! Kris’s comment above is also a good point – it would be bad if 20 weeks out you’re already feeling burned out 🙂

    The most sore I’ve been after a race was after the Providence marathon in 2012. I had run Boston (the “hot” year) and I succumbed to the heat. So I decided to run Providence 3 weeks later to get the BQ time so I could run Boston in 2013. I managed to get it and actually felt okay during the race but as soon as I crossed that finish line, my legs started screaming. 🙂

  11. Basically the entire month of January is like that for me, lol. You’re smart though, unlike most people who would continue to run through those feelings of blah, fatigue, etc. The next 20 weeks are going to be great (on the whole, lol) for you…I am positive. 😉

  12. I think learning to listen to your body is so hard, yet so crucial to prevent injury and further burnout. I am not in burnout phase, but have been sick a lot lately. I tried a 7 mile run yesterday and I could tell my body was jut exhausted. I stopped early and walked most of the way home. Just not worth an injury or further sickness! I used to beat myself up about not finishing a run, but not anymore. Its not worth it – there’s no point when you’re doing the right thing for you.

  13. I have been able to avoid burnout (and injury) by not running when I don’t feel like it. Saturday was the first day I ran since my half marathon in March. My heart wasn’t in it, and I needed a well needed break. I don’t want running to feel like a chore. This break will undoubtedly help me be more motivated for my next half.

    I was the most sore after my half marathon. My knees hurt so bad!! I never knew that I would hurt that bad.

  14. I went on a long run Saturday that just wrecked me unexpectedly…I think it was the hills. Anyways, I felt like I had 80 year old hips all weekend and I took Sunday completely off and will just do some elliptical later today. Basically, unplanned soreness happens – do your body a favor and give yourself some more time to recover!

    What marathon did you end up picking for this fall?

  15. I have been really good lately about not running if I don’t want to run or am tired etc. For now my races are more for fun than PR’s since I am not in that shape yet and concentrating on building a solid base (for me avg 30 mile weeks) before marathon training kicks off and I start increasing.
    Last year I started my cycle almost immediately after a month that included a marathon, 10K, half marathon and ultra 50K. Lets just say by the time the marathon came around 18 weeks later I was done. Lesson learned. Dumb. By the end of last year I almost hated running and took a chunk of time off.
    I usually get more sore from my lifting class than running! scheduled some massages because lately every run has had my legs feeling awful even after rest.

  16. You are going to have a kick ass cycle for Wineglass this year, that much I know for sure. Sometimes we just need to step back and readjust before during or after races, it’s part of the game I feel like. You’re a strong person and runner and have a lot going on- head up chickie!

  17. I think it’s good you cut your mileage back a bit instead of slogging through. Like Kris said, I guess it’s one thing to feel burnt out right before a race, but not when you have to start training for a marathon, you want to feel refreshed for all the longer and tough runs. I didn’t train as much this last week either and won’t train as much this week due to a 10K race on Saturday. We also joined a new gym so I’m excited about that and will probably do more classes with the summer heat here. My most sore race was probably the James Island Connector Run 10K, the next day felt like I ran a half. Typically I’m not really sore after running but more sore after lifting weights.

      • It’s an SC gym called Pivotal Fitness. It was only $40 per month for a couple and comes with unlimited classes. Most of the classes are Les Mills, which I’m really into. Clay’s happy because they have a ton of weights and squat racks!!!

  18. I felt burnout after my last half on May 4th. First though, I had a goal to get over 1,000 miles by the end of 2013. So i accomplished that, barely. I had a lot going on last year that included a hospital stay. And so I had to up my miles for the last few months of 2013 to get that goal. But then I participated in a challenge from runwithjess.com and told myself I’d achieve 20mpw at least for all of January. I did that. Then began my official half marathon training plan and I was afraid to dip on miles so I kept my long runs the same all winter/spring. I managed a PR. But now I’m also signed up for 2 more half marathons, one this month and one next month. I have to tell myself to take it easy even though another PR sounds amazing. I can’t PR every race I run! Also participating in a stair challenge at work so we have to achieve a certain amount of stairs every week until mid-June. ugh. I also do spin classes. lol I was coasting for a while but I think my body is getting tired and needs a break as well.

  19. Although I will say sometimes even if I think I’m burnt out, just getting out there is half the battle and I feel great after a mile or so. Sometimes it doesn’t even take a mile to feel great so it’s hard to know if I really need time off, or not.

  20. I try to avoid long training programs. I find it difficult to maintain the required level of time committment and focus for more than 12 week. So many thiings go un-done when you go running for 4 hours every Sunday. Life gets out of balance and if i’m in a 16+ week program my last few weeks can trail off substantially as the need to mow the lawn etc grows.

  21. what marathon are you running? I hear you on burnout… i think the best thing to do when you feel that way (i cant say i always do this) is to take a few days off, do some like cross traiing, get a massage, kinda just unplug and return to running refreshed.

    the most sore i was after a race was 2011 at boston marathon. i was still in college at the time and the next night we went to a bar…with stairs. i was taking so long to get up and down the stairs that some random boy i dont even know (haha) picked me up and carried me. how sweet haha

    -Christina (Sisters Running the Kitchen)

  22. Smart girl! Too often we push through those phases, feeling guilty for not adhering to the schedule. But mental burnout can be the first step to overtraining. Good for you for stopping it in its tracks!

  23. I think we all have weeks like that, and pushing through always gets me more frustrated, so I think you’re doing the right thing.

  24. oh burnouts…I have a post coming up on lifting burnouts- I thought even with adequate rest days, I’d be fine but nope! Glad you did the smart thing and let’s see you kill it moving forward

  25. After racing two weeks in a row, I definite’y just took it easy this past week, too! I feel like mixing up my workouts helps me stay interested in working out, but sometimes I just need a break!

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