Showing posts with label overtraining. Show all posts
Showing posts with label overtraining. Show all posts

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ahhh... two rest days!

I'm currently running four days/week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday. That gives me two rest days before my long run, speed training, or hills on Saturday. I look forward to and enjoy these rest days, because they help insure that I'm well rested and have a high energy level for Saturday. Sunday is also a rest day because that is my Sabbath, and that day helps insure that I'm well rested for my Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday runs. Without sufficient rest, I would not be able to perform at a high level, and I wouldn't enjoy my runs as much as I do. My body needs rest as well as exercise.

Many runners have a problem with rest days. They are either so enthused about their running that they miss running on those days, or they have the misconception that their performance will deteriorate if they miss even one day of running. They don't seem to realize that our bodies react slowly -- slowly to improvements and slowly to degradations, and that one or two days without running will have little effect on their condition. Also, many of them are typical type A persons who are driven to compete with everything in life, and they have a hard time when they aren't in competition with something. Instead of a rest day, many runners get rest by doing a shorter, slower rest run. In fact, that is the basis for my Monday and Tuesday runs. They are about half the distance of my other two runs. So, I do rest runs and also take rest days. If a person listens to their body, they can decide on the best way to get rest.

So, good morning rest days! You're welcome in my life!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Are you working too hard?

I've started reading Running Until You're 100 by Jeff Galloway that Santa brought me for Christmas. Here is a statement from the book that I like.

Mature runners who have time goals can get too focused on running faster almost every run. This often results in injury. One of the first signs is increased stress associated with running, often resulting in motivation problems. At the first sign of these symptoms, reduce mileage and let mind and body get back together again:

Running is not as enjoyable.

You don't look forward to your runs.

When you say something to others about your running, the statements are often negative.

The negativity can permeate other areas of your life.

You look on running as work instead of play.

Monday, November 27, 2006


I try to listen to my body and adjust my training accordingly, but I missed one message from my body that I was tired from my training and needed to take a break.

The message that I missed was a decreased enthusiasm for training. I was lethargic about non-running tasks that I needed to get done. Being retired, I have a lot of time to do yard work, house repairs, etc., and usually I have a lot of energy and interest in doing those things (once I quit procrastinating and get busy with the tasks, that is). Towards the end of last week I just moped around and didn't get much done. I went out running but didn't have the excitement that I usually have for the running. I recognized that I wasn't getting much done around the house and yard, and I told myself that I needed to buckle down and get busy. Of course, doing that would just make things worse.

Fortunately, I realized on Saturday that my real problem was that I needed a rest from the intensive training I was doing. I was overtraining. So, this week I'm running fewer miles. In the future, I will follow the suggestion from Jeff Galloway and have a "rest week" of reduced mileage once a month.

Here is the link to the page in my running site on Overtraining.

Here is the link to the page on stress.

Here is one of Jeff's articles on rest.

Monday, November 06, 2006

How I tell I've recovered from a stressful run

A normal wakeup heart rate is a good indicator that our body is overcoming the stress and is returning to normal, but it does not indicate that ones body has fully recovered from the stress and is ready for another speed or longer distance workout. At least with me, a high energy level is the best indicator I've found that I'm ready for more distance or speed. I first look for a normal wakeup heart rate, and then I look for a high energy level. By using both indicators, I'm able to listen to my body and respond accordingly. Sometimes, though, and Saturday was an example of this, I have a good energy level, and even though my wakeup HR is slightly high, I'll still do a stressful workout.

Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems

My wakeup HR was 48, indicating my sympathetic nervous system has done it's job in helping me respond to Saturday's speed run and is now slowing down. My parasympathetic nervous system has become dominate and is causing my body functions to return to normal. I could tell, though, that I was still tired. I had no desire to go faster. Tomorrow will be another hour rest run.

When we apply stress to our bodies, our sympathetic nervous system responds and elevates our breathing rate to give more oxygen to our bodies. Our heart rate increases to give more blood. If needed, our sweat glands are activated to cool us off. Our adrenal glands are activated to produce certain hormones to help our bodies handle the stress of running. After we stop running, our sympathetic nervous system slows down, and our parasympathetic nervous system becomes dominate and causes our bodies to recover by returning to normal conditions. Thus, in order to properly manage our running, we need to know the symptoms that tell us we are under stress and the symptoms that tell us when we have recovered from stress.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I'm mixing speed and distance, but...

I'm a firm believer in not mixing speed and distance in my training. Both put stress on ones body, and I think it is wise to subject our bodies to stress from only one source at a time. So, I usually do LSD for my distance running, or do fartleks and intervals for my speed training, but not both in the same runs.

However, as you're aware if you've been following my blog, I've been increasing the distance of my Tuesday rest run and also letting my body go as fast as it wants to go. This means that I'm mixing distance and speed together. I'm doing this because I've been making small increases in my distance: approximately 1 mile per week added to my Tuesday rest run. One mile increase in 30 miles run per week is ~3% increase per week. I figure that is a small increase and that my body can handle the stress from that as well as the stress from running faster. Also, I'm letting my body decide about running faster, so when it wants to run faster, that is ok because it is doing well in handling the stress from the small increase in distance and the stress from running faster. The way a person gets into trouble by mixing speed and distance is when the person's brain, not the person's body, decides to run faster even though the body may not be doing well in handling the stress from the faster runs.

Tomorrow will be my last Tuesday to add distance. I'll add 10 minutes, and that will give me another hour rest run. Then, I'll start a new rest run on Thursday, starting with 10 minutes, and I will add 10 minutes per week. So, by mid December my Thursday rest run will be up to an hour, and I'll cap it at that amount of time. That will give me approximately 38 miles per week. I won't start increasing my long run from 13 to 14 and then to 15 miles until February.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The most significant aspect of training

While I was running, I was thinking about training and about what single factor would be the most important to a person training to run. I came up with sufficient sleep at night being my most important task. If I don't get enough sleep, my energy level plummets. I expect that younger people might not be affected so much by lack of sleep, but I'm really affected that way. Also important to my training is listening to my body and adjusting my training accordingly.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The GSL was a peak; now I'm in a slump

I think I peaked for the GSL. When I first started running at the race, I was doing 9:30 to 10 minute miles, and I felt great. Except for looking at my GPS, I couldn't tell that I was going too fast. I kept up that type of pace for 6 miles and a slightly slower pace for another 2 miles. Before the race I pushed myself to run 13 miles at a 12 minute pace, and since the race I'm running 4-5 miles at approximately a 12:30 pace. My fast pace during the race really was an abnormal pace for me, and I think I was at a peak (all racers dream of peaking for their races). It's taking me longer than I expected to get my distance back since the race, and I think that means two things. I'm needing longer to recover from the race due to my exertion during the race, and I'm probably in a slump. It's normal for slumps to follow peaks.

My wakeup HR was 52 this morning, and I ran for an hour. I drank 12 oz of water during the run. I felt tired, compared to last week, and didn't push myself during the run. I had a good 7 hours sleep last night, but the night before I only had 5 hours due to an early morning (4 am) phone call for my daughter-in-law who is a nurse at a local hospital. I couldn't go back to sleep after the phone call woke me up. I'll take a half hour nap this afternoon.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Switching to a time base for my runs

Starting with today, I'm using a time-base instead of a distance-base for specifying the length of my runs, which will all be long slow distance. This will have the advantage that on days that I'm tired I'll run slower and thus a shorter distance in the same time, and on days that I feel great, I'll run faster and thus farther. The result is that I'll have an automatic adjustment on the miles that I run. For example, I ran faster during the second half of my run this morning and went about 1/4 mile farther in the second 15 minutes than I did during the first 15 minutes of the run.

Training Graphs

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Tired today

My wakeup HR was 50 this morning. I feel tired even though I had a good 7 hours sleep. I think I'm tired because I pushed for speed yesterday. If I had done LSD, I probably wouldn't be as tired this morning. My body is stronger, but it still needs a rest day after the long run.

Yesterday after the run, during the night, and this morning my feet feel fine. My wife commented yesterday afternoon that I wasn't hobbling around like I had in previous Saturdays. I've mentioned in past posts that my feet have some pain and stiffness after I'm on my feet a lot and after long runs. This pain was the original reason why I started running. I didn't feel any pain after long runs 24 years ago when I ran marathons, because my feet had developed strength due to the running. I haven't felt the pain since the run yesterday, and this is a good sign!

Training Graphs

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

My energy level is still low :(

I started my 10-mile run but quickly realized I didn't have a lot of energy, and I aborted my run and walk/jogged home for a distance of 3 1/2 miles. Last Saturday I ran out of energy after 13 miles and mostly walked the last 2 miles to home. I took a day-off from running on Monday but was active in the yard that day and yesterday. Yesterday, I was on my feet for about 6 hours replacing the sod in the trench I dug last week, mowing lawns, rototilling my garden, and planting trees, plus working 6 hours at the college where I'm employed. Today it all caught up with me, and my body said, "Whoa, let's go home." My wakeup HR was 51, still a bit high.

I've had good runs for the past several weeks, having brought my long run from 10 miles up to 15 miles and my medium run from 8 miles up to 10 miles and my short run from 4 miles up to 5 miles. It's about time for my body to go into a slump while it recovers.

Training Graphs

Thursday, May 11, 2006

My body is recovering from sleep deficit

After a good 7 hours sleep last night, my wakeup PR is back to 49 and I feed great this morning. If I get good sleep the next two nights, I should be in good shape for my 15-miler on Saturday.

Training Graphs

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Taking a day off...

I didn't sleep well last night. After 4 1/2 hours I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. I got up for a couple of hours and then went back to bed and slept some, but not good sleep. This week was the same pattern as last week, feeling pretty good during the week and then bombing out the night before the long run. In both weeks I didn't get enough sleep on one night in mid-week, and that had an effect on my Friday night sleep, I'm sure.

One of the symptoms of stress being too high is not sleeping well at night. I've had that problem for several weeks, but in most cases I would go back to bed, or take a nap before I left for work, and get the sleep I needed. However, last night and the Friday night the week before I didn't get the needed sleep. So, I decided it was time to listen to my body and take the day off from running. On Monday I'll do my 5-mile rest run, and on Wednesday my 10-mile medium run. For next Saturday, I haven't decided if I'll go for the 15 or drop back to 13 and take a couple of weeks to work up to 15. I'll make that decision on Saturday morning.

Training Graphs

Saturday, April 29, 2006

A new PB in distance in Utah!

I completed my 14-mile long run today. I've been in Utah for 13 years, and this run was a new personal-best for distance in Utah. When I first moved here I did long runs of 11 - 12 miles, but I don't think I went as far as 14. When I lived in Massachusetts I did 15 milers year around. I'm hoping I can maintain long runs of 13-15 miles year around here, too.

I could tell when I got up this morning that I was tired. My wakeup HR was up to 50, and I didn't have that "spark" of energy that indicates I'm in good shape. I was surprised that I was tired, because I've had good sleep the past few days (8 hours last night). However, on Wednesday night I didn't get enough sleep, and that probably was the cause of my being tired this morning. I've noticed in the past that there frequently is a 2 - 3 day delay in my feeling the effects of insufficient sleep. I decided not to abort the run but to do a lot of walking during the run. Instead of walking breaks every mile, I took them every half-mile, and a few times more often than that. Had I not done the extra walking, I would have had to abort the run.

I didn't have a problem with diarrhea during the run. I drank water on the way out and a combination of water and Gatorade (small swallows from each bottle) on the way back. Hopefully, my body is getting used to the Gatorade.

Another thing that made me tired during the run was the rototilling I did before I ran, and the moving of 45 bags of cow manure from my son's truck to the back of my yard. Each bag only weighed about 20 pounds, but it all adds up. Also, the rototilling only took about 15 minutes, but that took some energy, too.

I saw the red fox that I saw last week, in the same place, too. This time she ran about 100 yards out into the field and hunkered down in the grass and watched me. After I passed the grove of trees from which she ran, she returned to the grove. She probably has a litter there. She is a beautiful animal. Long red tail with a white tip. On my way back, I passed the grove of trees, but she didn't run out. Maybe she has figured out that I'm ok.

[later in the day] On my Wednesday run I saw a farmer's wife and kids getting their irrigation ditch ready for canal water. They had a "ditch plow" that was pulled by a horse. The kids were riding on the plow to give it weight. The plow cleaned out stuff from the ditch. Today I saw a different farmer cleaning out the filter that is at the head of his irrigation ditch. He said the canal will have water on Monday.

Training Graphs

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Two days in a row!

I usually run Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. This week, however, I ran Tuesday, Wednesday, and hopefully Saturday. Yesterday I did my 4-mile rest run, and today I did my 9-mile medium run. My wakeup HR this morning was 50, and I felt pretty good. I had a good run, but as I approached my walking break at the 8-mile point, I could feel that my right calf was getting tight. I thus walked 0.2 miles for that break to relax the calf (I usually walk .06 mile for the break), and my calf felt fine during the last mile of the run. Going into the run I was concerned that I might not make it the full 9 miles since I had run yesterday. However, I did well, and this indicates that I'm getting stronger. I had tried two or three months ago, to run two days in a row and couldn't do it.

The temperature was in the mid 40s (F), and the sky was mostly cloudy on the way out and partly cloudy on the way back. A 8-10 mph head wind on the way out gave me a challenge, and I was looking forward to having that wind as a tail wind on the way back. But, as usually happens around here, the wind died down in mid morning, and I had only a 5 mph tail wind on the way back. I saw several sets of ducks in rain puddles in the canal. Usually I see one male paired with one female, but today I saw one male and two females--must be one of the Utah polygamists that you hear about :)

Training Graphs

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

That extra rest really helped!

On Monday I planned to run 8 miles but felt tired, both before and during the run, and I cut the run back to 6 miles. Today I felt fine before and during the run and completed my 8 miles. My wakeup HR was 52 this morning, same as on Monday.

We've had a lot of melting snow and rain, and the canal trail was muddy, so I ran a city street that goes North-South for a million miles. The temperature was mid 30s (F) with a 5-7 mph headwind when I left home and gusts to 10 mph. Having the tailwind on the way back was nice. A great day for running, and a nice run! The sun came out on the way back, and I removed my wind breaker and just ran with two layers.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Tired so only did 6

I could tell, when I got up, that I was tired; I didn't have that "spark" of energy that I usually have. My wakeup HR, though, was 51, indicating my tiredness probably isn't serious, i.e. not another cold coming on. I left on my run, but at 3 miles I turned around and came home. Best that I let my body rest. Hopefully, I'll feel better on Wednesday.

The weather was cloudy with a 5-7 mph headwind, and the temperature was about 30F.

Training Graphs

Monday, January 23, 2006

Recovery after flu: 2 miler

I've been down with a stomach flu for the past week. I'm pretty much over it, and this week is my recovery week. Rather than go back to 10 miles, I'm going to level off at 8 miles for a month and let my body build strength for that distance.

My wakeup HR was 54 this morning, and I felt pretty good. I ran a slow 2 miles and felt fine at the end. If I recover from this ok, I'll run 4 miles on Wednesday.

Training Graphs

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

4 mile rest run

My wakeup HR was 65 today, a bit higher than on Monday. I felt ok but not super energetic. I went out running, but after two miles, I was starting to get tired, and I turned around and came home, a total of 4 miles. I could have pushed myself to keep on going, and maybe reached 6 miles total, but my body would have had significantly higher stress. I turned around to give my body more rest. My next run is on Saturday, and I should do better then that I would have if I had kept on going this morning.

Training Graphs

Monday, January 09, 2006

10 miles but tired

I ran my 10 miles today but walked most of the last two miles. My wakeup HR was 53, and I felt pretty good. I still have my cold, but it is in the thick mucus stage. My cough is mostly gone but not quite. I didn't run at all last week, and I should have limited today to eight miles as a way of getting back in to it.

Training Graphs