Boo to overtraining!

I’ve had very different experiences during the teen weeks of my 4 marathon trainings seasons thus far…

#1. All sorts of system failures occurred long before this. By week 9 or 10 I was falling apart and firmly believe that I wouldn’t have made it to race day without my god-send chiropractor Dr. Jenny.

#2. Much better. I still had issues (Don’t I always?!?! Yes.)  but with one training season under my belt and regular maintainance from the wonderful Dr. Jenny before big problems began, I progressed through the higher mileage much more comfortably/successfully.

#3.  High mileage weeks? Long runs +16 miles? What are those? Are we speaking the same language? I felt great throughout my training! (And then like I’d been run down by an African chicken bus for weeks after the marathon…oops…)

#4. The best yet! I’m (unfortunately) thousands of miles from Dr. Jenny The Great and haven’t found another chiropractor since moving to NJ. I was really worried about this (and still am a bit) based on how horribly I felt during my first training season, but so far I’m doing ok. I can tell that a number of things are just a bit off…a tight muscle here or there, a sore ankle, a tight , a stiff neck, a stab in the shin…but over all I’m very pleased. Knock on wood, but there hasn’t been anything more than a few acute issues. My runs are feeling good. I can make it through the long ones with just a tiny bit a bunch of therapeutic complaining and I feel like I have good speed and strength throughout the short intense mid-week runs and on hills and all of that good stuff… That being said, I can’t afford to slack on the maintainance and have to put the effort in and find someone good to start seeing on a regular basis again. That being said, does  anyone have Princeton area chiropractor suggestions ?!?!

Anyway… the point of this post (only 6 paragraphs in, eh?) is to share a Runner’s World article jumped out of the computer at me as I was trying to work hard this evening…

Am I Overtraining for My Marathon

By Coach Jenny Hadfield (not to be confused with the one-and-only Dr. Jenny…)

August 22, 2013

Having trouble completing your workouts? Here’s how to train smarter to avoid fatigue.


The part of the article that I really like is the 4 day / week running + cross training schedule that Coach Jenny outlines for making sure you aren’t overdoing it during these later teen weeks of training…

Not being able to finish workouts due to fatigue is a classic sign of overtraining. I’m an advocate for cross-training, especially for runners over forty, as it takes longer to recover from harder workouts. Of course it also depends on the efficiency of the runner and many other variables like sleep, nutrition, stress, body alignment, and balance.

I’d follow your instincts and train four days per week.
1. A long run (make it at a conversational effort, please).
2. A hard speed workout with the group.
3. Two easy-effort runs.

If you’re unable to make it through the week of workouts, your body isn’t recovering efficiently. By scaling back the number of runs to four per week—and including two hard runs (long and speed)—you’ll allow your body time to recover, so you’ll be able to complete the workouts, adapt, and improve this season.

Weave in cross-training activity that focuses on body strength, balance, and flexibility (Pilates, yoga, or a general strength/flexibility workout). Your body needs to balance the high-intensity workouts with more calming activities that balance, lengthen, and strengthen the body. That way you flow from hard to easy and recover more efficiently. Your schedule could look something like this:
Monday: Easy Run
Tuesday: Cross-Train
Wednesday: Speed
Thursday: Cross-Train
Friday: Easy Run
Saturday: Long Run
Sunday: Rest (or light restorative flexibility exercises)

I’ve actually adopted a 4 day/week training schedule for the entirety of my preparation due to the logistical constraints of the rest of my generally out-of-control life. This has served me well.

I have two weekday runs and then Saturday and Sunday of course. I try to put my weekday runs on Tuesday and Thursday to space things out – with Tuesday being shorter (4-7 mi) and “faster”/tempo, and Thursday being a bit longer (6-12 mi) and at a comfortable pace. I like to get the long run out-of-the-way on Saturday morning (as Friday night activities allow) topping out at 22 miles and with 3 +20 milers (alternating with 12 mile long run weeks). Sunday then is a good (as Saturday night activities allow) recovery run of 6-10 miles.

As for the “cross-train” part, this ranges from 18 hr days in the lab to hiking and flag-football. Oddly enough, I do think I’ve built considerable mental muscle from the frequent unreasonable-work-day + training-run schedule. Now I was starting to feel like I may actually be losing it with this theory. I mean how does this make any sense at all? I’m exhausted from work when I start my run, just to go back to work when I’m finished!! So, you can imagine my delight when I came across the How To Build Mental Muscle article that totally backed up this crack-pot idea of mine! Fantastic! 🙂 Also oddly enough, football has helped me realize that post-November 17th I need to rework my maintainance training schedule to include some speed, hills and core work. It will be nice to switch things up a bit for the next few months. Wait! What? I’m looking forward to speed and core work?! I guess I have lost it after all!

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