When I first started training I would squeeze in a missed workout on a rest day. I justified it by telling myself that I was still getting in the same number of workouts per week, just reworking how the week went down. That was, until the missed workouts had piled up so much that in one week I did two long runs...and speed work...twice...without any rest days. Fortunately I didn't get injured but I wasn't able to complete the second long run either.
My legs were entirely too fatigued from all that running and I swore that I had learned my lesson. And for about a month I kept only two workouts sacred. Speed work and the long run. But old habits die hard and it wasn't long before I started piling on missed workouts again. Soon I started to see signs of over training. What does over training look like?
You might be over training if:
- You regularly feel tired all day.
- Your legs feel heavy at normal training pace and you can't seem to put together a "strong" training run.
- You experience an elevated resting pulse for more than a few days.
- You have persistent aches, pains, and injuries. If you're struggling with pain more often than not, you are probably on the edge of a major injury which could leave you sidelined for the rest of the season!
- You seem to be getting sick more than usual.
Letting go of runs is hard for me. I don't know if it's hard for you too but if it is let me encourage you. Life gets in the way of running. If you have a family, a job, a pet or any combination of the three, things come up that hinder your ability to train. Let it go.
There are only two runs a week that I consider sacred. First and foremost for any distance runner is the long run. It is what builds your endurance and teaches your body to go the distance. It is a confidence builder and a key component to every training plan. The second sacred run is speed work. Speed work teaches your body to run more efficiently, builds aerobic capacity and increases muscle mass in your entire body.
If life gets in the way and you miss a run. Let it go. If it is a "sacred" run then accept that you need to replace another, less important run for that one. Will your weekly mileage be reduced? Yes. But it is the only way to avoid over training and possibly injury.
I know it's hard but you can do it! Just think of it as a new dimension of the flexibility you have had to exercise to be able to train in the first place. It's a learning process and there are bound to be occasional relapses but don't be discouraged. Join me and together we can learn to let go!