As most people know, I took a 6-week break after the Atlantic City Half Marathon. It’s been the topic of discussion on this blog because it’s the only thing I’ve done running related. I was not injured, but both physically and mentally exhausted.
I asked myself: at what point do I just mentally rest and refocus?
On the drive home from the race, I knew I was at that point. Thinking out loud, I never anticipated taking as much time off from running as I did but my body did not recover well from a season of hard training or even the race itself. One week turned to two, then three to six. As I continued to rest, I was still burnt out and in no mood to run.
After a while, the running bug bit me again and I decided I wanted (key word: wanted) to get back into running again. Along with beginning to run again, I decided to get my blood analyzed again with Insidetracker.
Recently, InsideTracker has been a popular topic amongst running blogs. As someone who graduated with a health degree, I do believe blood tests and results should be more accessible to those who would like the information. Another aspect people don’t realize, is you can send your Insidetracker results to your doctor as well. Instead of making multiple appointments, you can come in with bloodwork results in hand.
It is not a replacement for a doctor, and they don’t claim to be. The biomarkers tested are endurance athlete focused. For the average person, results might seem extremely high in a routine blood test. Endurance athletes typically have skewed results. Depending on your lifestyle, individual blood results can always be skewed. For instance, people in upstate NY might have a Vitamin D deficiency, where those living in Florida might not have that issue. Physical Environment plays a key role in results.
InsideTracker gives simple recommendations that anyone can benefit from. If a result needs medical attention, they tell you and highly recommend you see a doctor.
It was my third time getting Insidetracker done. Each time, I chose to pay extra and get the entire process done at my home. First, I’m not the best with needles. Second, driving into Philadelphia during rush hour, after fasting for 12 hours isn’t a situation I’m comfortable with. It’s the best situation for me!
Just as the previous sessions, the process went smoothly. After a few days, I received my results which confirmed everything I felt.
My blood indicated I was both physically and mentally fatigued.
There were a few things that popped up that directly matched how I was feeling. It was “nice” that my blood confirmed I was mentally and physically fatigued. (So I didn’t feel like it was “all in my head”)
All three of my AST/ALT/GGT liver enzymes were elevated.
So what does this mean?
One enzyme elevated could mean you were tired but the fact that all three were up meant by muscles were extremely fatigued. My blood essentially showed that no wonder I was exhausted. It was overtrained and fatigued. Before getting the blood work done, I had thought that it was possible I was overtrained, but I didn’t think results would be as high as they were.’
I don’t have a liver disease, but all three remained elevated due to the stress training caused to my body over the past year. Like most things, it takes time to recover!
How Have I Been Fixing the Problem?
Are having elevated enzymes, the worst thing in the world? No. In fact, it justifies why I felt the way I did.
After getting the test, I waited another two weeks and decided to slowly start running again.
I’m not running every day and I’m not running nearly the volume I was previously. Right now, I can truly say I enjoy each run. I don’t run for pace, time or speed (unless it’s a race), but just run. As I mentioned on Monday, I’ve ultimately decided to use the summer as down time too.
With my schedule, running is taking a backseat. It’s allowing my body to relax even more. I’m doing many of my runs mid day on the antigravity treadmill at work. My options are outdoors in 85 degrees, indoors on a treadmill, or indoors on the antigravity treadmill. If I’m not training hard for anything, why stress my body hard during this period?
Rome wasn’t built in a day and your body doesn’t heal overnight. Using the summer to run casually, will allow my body to continue to physically and mentally recover.
I’m also taking both a probiotic and liver enzyme which I feel has been working well for me. It’s only been 4 weeks since starting to take the enzyme but once I go through the entire bottle I’ll discuss it more.
Finally, the last piece of the puzzle is I am also striving to eat proper recovery foods. As my husband trains for another marathon, we’ve made it a focus to work on both proper recovery foods for both of us. Neither of us has a terrible diet, but we do treat ourselves a few times a week or go out to eat more than the average couple. For now, we limited eating out (our budget has also thanked us) and focused on cooking more foods together.
Nutrition wise, another aspect I appreciate about InsideTracker is they give personal food recommendations for your own needs. A few recommendations including peanut butter, wheat germ, and eel. (I don‘t know if I’ve mentioned but I really enjoy eel, octopus, and squid ;).
I’ve been incorporating several of these foods into my diet and I’ve felt better and stronger because of it.
I do plan to get my blood tested again sometime in late July or August to see how I’ve progressed. I’m happy to have gotten the test done. It’s a good feeling when both your mental and physical mindset line up. When I scheduled InsideTracker, I wasn’t sure what it would show but I’m relieved that it provided answers and is allowing me to recover even more.
I would consider this time for myself, the off season. Or maybe even the off year. Relaxing, recovering well and building for a better training cycle is going to allow me to PR at a later time when I’m ready to train again.
Questions for you:
Have you ever gotten bloodwork done?
What are some of your favorite foods?