Sunday, July 17, 2011

Thickheaded? Sure

A few days ago I wrote about overtraining and undereating, a tag team that seems to tackle me to the ground every six months or so. After I wrote that post, the effects of steadfastly ignoring downright rejecting my body's cues stared me in the face. I'm hungry doesn't mean let's drink more water. I'm fatigued doesn't mean let's cut out carbohydrates at dinner. My shins hurt doesn't mean let's go harder tomorrow. I'm full doesn't mean let's not do that again. I need a week off doesn't mean let's hold off on a rest day.


Listen to your body, they say, in voices that do little to mask their impatience. That's not the problem, I want to reply back huffily. Do you think that I don't hear my stomach when it gurgles and that I don't feel the twinges in my knees after I run too hard for too many days in a row? I'm not that oblivious. It's not that my body isn't making the appropriate noises; it's that my mind seems to be overruling my body's streaming feedback.

My mind listens to those wants and needs and doesn't even bother flicking them steamrolls right over them, with no regard to the carnage left behind. I'm beginning to have a sneaking suspicion that it's my happiness and my health that are being left for dead. I feel incredibly deprived, but I've stopped losing weight. All I do is think about food and exercise. I'm so tired that it's all I can do to walk around for an hour in the afternoon. This is no way to live, cries a little voice from the back of my head.

Clearly, I need to make some changes. I'm still wrestling with the idea of returning to therapy and seeking out a nutritionist for the first time, but I'm ready to change my workout plan now. I know I've been doing too many hard workouts back to back, and I know I haven't been giving my muscles enough rest or the proper food to ensure full recovery. I really don't want to get injured (as much as I'd like to be sidelined for the Bradbury Breaker).

This is when it's really nice to have an older brother (and seasoned marathoner) who will send you a personalized training program* that has a little flexibility, a carefully calculated mix of easy and hard days, and a regular rest day. Here's what I'll be working with right up until race day (click to enlarge). Thanks, Brother #2!

*Keep in mind I've already been "in training" for months...This plan isn't intended to show the progression towards a successful 9 mile trail race from beginning to end!


  1. what a wonderful revelation to have- im so so so happy to hear it. ive definitely went through stages where i realized i was over training and undereating... i can tell usually when my energy starts to go down and my recovery time isn't as good... and i will feel more drained and possibly irritable- no fun!

    xoxo <3

  2. i very much like the title of this post.

    a few minor points: a tempo run is a tempo run (you might call it threshold), it is not speedwork. i'm slightly wary of you doing abs in the morning and then upper body lifting in the afternoon...i would recommend just running easy in the morning and then doing the lifting and abs together in the afternoon. you might not perform up to your usual standards because you will be tired, but it doesn't matter. you could stop doing abs from now until the race and it wouldn't change a thing. don't forget that doing lots of abs won't give you a six's simply a matter of low body fat.

    how did the leg lift go?