My pals over at Wikipedia tell me that overtraining is "a physical, behavioral, and emotional condition that occurs when the volume and intensity of an individual's exercise exceeds their recovery capacity."
-Despite my best intentions (articulated here), I haven't been doing a very good job of taking a guilt-free off day every 7 days
-In the last two weeks, my workout log has been peppered with words like "exhausted", "devastatingly sore", "totally dead", "0 energy", "leg fatigue", "practically crawled", and "dreadful on all accounts"
-Working out for over an hour and a half has become the norm
-90% of my laundry is from Runningwarehouse
-I'm increasingly irritable and persistently tired (even after sleeping 10 to 12 hours each night)
-"Good" days most often involve two or three workouts (recent example: 24 minute ab lab, 30 minute interval row, 45 minute upper body lift)
-I can't remember the last time that I've woken up without being sore somewhere
-My shins and my knees are starting to protest loudly even on runs as short as 3.9 miles
-Even steering my workouts away from running (bike workouts, circuit training, weight lifting, rowing, hiking, etc.) isn't making me feel better
-I can barely walk around the mall without feeling completely worn out
-I actually failed during an ab lab (and I wasn't training to failure as a goal)
-The words "recovery run" seem to be mysteriously absent from my running journal
-Going up the stairs and reaching my arms up to shampoo my hair feel like enormous efforts
-I've joined the slow walkers' club (I'm now one of those people who inches along on the sidewalk)
-I'm not getting that post-workout endorphin rush that makes it all worth it
Pair all this with the fact that I've been subconsciously subscribing to the "eat less, move more, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, don't eat too much junk food" philosophy...and we have a recipe for disaster.
Moving more and eating less isn't working. I need to get it through my head that while these "foolproof" dietary guidelines may be perfectly applicable for the overweight general public...they aren't sound pieces of advice for a girl my size and with my activity level. I can't pair intense exercise with limited food intake and expect to feel strong and see results. Every day can't be a marathon day (meaning I shouldn't need to feel dead after every workout in order for it to "count"). I need to eat when I'm hungry and rest when I'm tired.
Listening to my body is so much harder than it sounds. I'm beginning to realize that it takes just as much "mental toughness" to be able to back off as it does to power through a workout. Have you ever been bitten by the overtraining bug?