Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Last chance workout & a winner

Not really certain if my running routine these days really counts as working out.
Just trying to maintain and ward off the over trained feelings I'm beginning to experience.

With spring marathon #2 now just four days away, today was my last workout of this cycle. After a night of burgers and fro-yo with a very wise and insightful running pal last week, I decided that it would be best to stay clear of any structured workouts in the remaining days leading up to my race. Treating myself a much needed day off yesterday, today's workout consisted of a progressive run where the goal was to really hammer it out in the last few miles.

At this point in time, workouts like this should be feeling easy-peasy but instead they are quite the opposite. I've spent the last 19 weeks in focused hardcore training that proceeded 10 weeks of base training only through the winter months, meaning all & all my spring training cycle has pretty much been just shy of a 30 week program.


Not really sure how I let that happen, but it did and there really is no turning back at this point. I would NEVER advise any of the athletes that I coach to enter into a cycle like this, even if they were highly fit going into training. Yet I've somehow gotten myself tangled up in what is beginning to feel like the early stages of burn-out and over trained.

There is a very very fine line between riding your limit safely and taking training one step too far where most of the time it is difficult to realize that you've over stepped your limit until it's too late. While I've been consciously aware of how my body has been responding to training, I've chosen to not shed light onto the fact that as time passes on my body is seeming to run more and more on less and less.

regrets collect like old friends,
here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
and all of the ghouls come out to play
and every demon want his pound of flesh
but I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues drawn
it's always darkest before the dawn

Some symptoms I've been experiencing:

Loss of appetite.
It's very unusual for me to not be hungry all the time, but these days I'm having to force myself to eat regularly where most of the time the thought of consuming food makes me nauseous.

Unexpected weight loss.
I don't really weight myself often, but lately have noticed that I seem to be slimmer in areas then I was several months ago. Sure enough, when I stepped on the scale I've somehow lost a precious few lbs. off of my already petite frame.

Increased amount of sleep needed to get through my day.
You would think 9-10 hours of sleep would be enough for a person, but it just doesn't seem to be enough these days for me.

Unusual muscle soreness.
While my legs have been fine and haven't really been sore in quite some time, my back is killing me. 

Decreased immunity.
I've been sick 3 times in the last 3 months, that seems a bit excessive to me.

I get headaches rather often, but they have been quite prominent lately for me post exercise.

Sudden drop in performance.
As much as I don't want to admit it, it is taking 10x the effort it should take for me at this point to be keeping up with my training.

This kind of stuff happens, and it's not really worth getting upset over at this point because I'm the one who has led this cycle where I'm the one who has made all of the decisions of what workouts to do when. I am in control of my training, even if it has led me to this point.

So what now?

Well, I'm going to try to make it through the next 4 days as best as possible where Saturday's race is now not about the clock and instead just about a solid performance from start to finish. Whether that means 8:30 or 6:30 pace at this point is completely irrelevant to me. I just want to finish in one piece and lay this spring cycle of 2012 to rest and enjoy some much needed time off.

and that's that. Not going to expect any miracles to happen on Saturday, and I may not even run with my watch. life will go on.

Without further ado, the winner of the 13.1 Chicago 5k entry is:

Charlyn from Pain is Nothing.

Congrats Charlyn! Excited to see you on Saturday! Email me when you get the chance.

Who else is participating in the 13.1 Chicago this weekend? 
I know there are lots of you out there that are going to be there, and hopefully I'll run into you all. 

Don't forget that if you are attending this race, Give Your Sole is collecting moderately used sneakers to benefit homeless men, women, and children living in the city. It never hurts to give back to your community!


  1. Good luck at your marathon on Saturday! You'll do great!!

  2. really insightful post and great thoughts on how you are finding that thin line...I am doing 13.1 Chicago and hoping that the ttaper this week will work well because I was feeling that line myself.
    Good luck to you!!

  3. Good luck on your marathon! Maybe you should have it checked out since it may be something simple that is causing you to feel less than 100%. I hope you are feeling better.

  4. Nice job realizing the signs that you could be burning out. They say people should take a week off every so often (I forget the time interval) and I think we all forget to do that. Rest and hopefully you can ease back into it all!!!

  5. Good luck this weekend. I truly hope you are able to enjoy the race no matter what the clock says. I know it is easier said than done.
    As for burn out, I know that feeling oh too well. I am fighting it right now. As I finished my 1st triathlon on Sunday and had to teach fitness classes today I was tired and really dreaded actually doing it. And that is so unlike me. Ilove teaching my classes. I realize I need to take the rest of the week off so I am ready to start training for the next event on my list feeling refreshed,

  6. Have a GREAT race!! I know burnout too.....the problem is when you're burning out you are usually too stubborn and exhausted to realize it. I do believe that a huge percentage of success is just getting to the starting line healthy!

  7. I think you said it best in that last part about just running a strong race on race day, whatever you are capable of that day. You might surprise yourself. That's how I went into my race this past weekend and it was just a good experience. However you run it, just enjoy being there and racing. You will do great!

  8. Good luck! And, from both a runner and doctor perspective, please take a break after the marathon and make sure your symptoms really are just from overtraining and not anything else!

  9. 30 week training cycle...I would be dead! GOOD LUCK ON SATURDAY, you are such an incredible runner and athlete. You better take plenty of time off after Saturday because those warning signs are scary! You are so right about there being a fine line when it comes to training...I tend to go overboard! Have a great night and get lots of rest gorgeous girl!

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  11. http://runningopenroads.wordpress.com/

  12. haha okay I’m failing at commenting on this post...copy-paste issues, my apologies! what I meant to write was - I just discovered your blog, and I love it! you’re really an incredible athlete. Anyway I do know what it feels like to down to a few days before a race and realize you’re a bit burnt-out. It’s hugely frustrating! I think sometimes when our training is going well and we’re continually suprising ourselves by pushing our limits, we sort of feed off that and get carried away...it happens. But you’re definitely smart to keep it low-key till your race - after all you’ve done all the work, best to just get to the start line with as much energy as possible. Best of luck on sunday, I hope that regardless of the time on the clock you finish feeling like you gave it your best :)

  13. You are such a great runner, don't take these signs lightly girl!!! Take care of yourself and whatever you do, you are still awesome!

  14. Hey Britt,

    As I read your post, this one phrase just kept popping into my head. You'll probably laugh, but what's that country western song with the lyric "...just breathe..". In other words, take a deep breath and be confident in your training. You did the work so don't doubt yourself. I've had some of the same symptoms while training and it's a great excuse to just rest up. I have a hunch you'll do very good in the race.

    If you get a chance, stop by my blog and say hello. I'll check back in to read your race report.

    Take care.


  15. So sorry to hear this! And I hate to say it, but you sound so much like I did a while back leading up to my disaster of a 1/2 marathon. I will say, however, that a part of me wondered after how much my negative thoughts made my physical reality that day. Try, if you can, to rally on the mental side so that it can hopefully pull your physical side through.

    Good luck!!

  16. Oh no! I hope you start feeling better soon!

  17. Gosh, good luck this weekend. Kudos to you for recognizing burnout. Just get through the weekend (fueled by good nutrition and rest) and then take some much needed time off. I would hate for you to get injured. I am currently injured, likely due to over training. It's the worst. I would give anything to go back 2 months and take the break my body was asking for.

  18. Good luck this weekend! You might surprise yourself, sometimes when we stop racing the clock and do what feels natural the time takes care of itself. Just enjoy the race.

    I hope you are able to some time to rest after the race.

  19. YOU ARE SO STRONG you are going to kill this marathon. All you have to do is just start slow and KICK IT at the end. I cannot want to hear all about it. Your body definitely deserves a rest after this marathon is over :)

    And congrats Charlyn!

    get ready to run fast and have a blast (okay I'm corny and just rhymed!)
    I hope you've been having a great week of rest and are starting to feel better!

  21. Been following your tweets/blog. You've had a series of races that disappointed you--a 5k DNF, a half in hot weather, the 10 miler. Sounds like you're overtraining--and maybe forgetting how to have fun in the process. ALSO, your diet and supplement intake might be getting overlooked. If you're not hungry, you might not be eating the volume you need--and the cycle is compounding itself. Not knowing anything about you, I might advise a large steak or a bacon cheeseburger and a high calorie beer. When I'm running a lot I'm ever more conscious of B-complex loss through sweating, and iron count levels as well. Best,fellow runner.

  22. You know all of those things are symptoms of iron deficiency, right? Go get some blood work done and Ferritin levels checked, if you haven't already. Distance running can make you anemic.

    1. I do, thanks for your concern. I actually just got a check up about 10 days ago where all my vitals and overall health checked out to be normal, which is how I've narrowed down the tiredness to too long of a training cycle that has led me into an over trained state. But thank you for your input.