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A Well Earned Break…

Before I left for the beautiful Labor Day weekend vacation, I was training HARD! I seriously had increased my mileage in my running, two-hour bike rides, 50-minute strength training session, and hot yoga classes. A lot of the time, I was doing double sessions, between training clients, stressing about starting a business, and two straight weeks of sleep deprivation. These symptoms lead to a serious case of “over-training”. This is the first time that in all of my athletic years that I am saying it out loud, because I think it is important to not only discuss this topic with women, but also admit it to myself. I have come to another decision in my training career, that I need to LISTEN to my body and I’m doing it and it feels so GOOD.  With the Century Ride a couple of weeks away and possibly another ½ marathon in December, I need my body and mind to be healthy, strong, and injury free.

This was EXTREMELY difficult for me to do, when I got to Nantucket for the long weekend, because I usually come up here and run every day. The bike paths, scenery, and fresh ocean air, are a runners dream. But I didn’t have a car, so I was walking everywhere, which probably ended up being a few miles a day. What better time to relax, sleep in, spend quality time with family and friends, not have to worry about planning workouts, and just CHILL? So when I arrived to Nantucket on Friday, I decided 3 straight days of no planned workouts. Is this hard for me? YES! But, my body I secretly think is rejoicing inside.

Here are few signs of Over-Training that most athletes feel and what I have especially felt the last two weeks:

  1. Sleep Deprivation: I would be exhausted all day, but as soon as it got time to get into bed, I became very nervous and afraid of falling asleep, because I knew I wasn’t going to. I’d read for 30 minutes, turn the light off, put my head on the pillow, and be wide awake. I even tried Advil PM and that couldn’t knock me out.
  2. Plateau: I wasn’t noticing any changes in my body. No matter how far I’d run, bike, or increase the weight when strength training, my body felt just “blah”.
  3. Depression: I have a lot on my minds these days. Lately, it’s hard being single, trying to start a business in this economy, and sometimes worrying too much about the way you look. So all of these things would weigh on my mind and obviously lead to sadness.
  4. Moodiness and Irritability: I was always feeling very on edge with friends and especially my Mom. Little things would annoy me all day. Plus, I also found I was constantly thinking about food 24-7. No fun in any of these!
  5. Feeling Tired All Day Long: I felt in a fog all day long; of course until I would get into bed and all of a sudden be wide awake.

It’s very hard to admit these things to one’s self, but it’s also very important. These are big steps for me, and I’m proud of myself for recognizing a problem and taking care of it. It’s also helps that I was on vacation in my favorite place in the world. My goals for the trip were: 3 days off of no training; enjoy the food (this does not mean eating Boston Cream’s every morning) and adult beverages; sleep; be happy; stop obsessing and enjoy every moment; take naps whenever my little heart desires!

After 3 days off, I decided to go for a run around the island after dropping my friend off at the boat and it was fabulous. It was a detoxifying run and it was just what I needed. The sweat was pouring out of my pores, my legs felt refreshed, and my mind was exactly where I needed it to be. So with only 2 days left on the island, I’m back. I’ll be doing 2 more runs, at home circuits, and making better eating choices. I do have to say, that these 3 days off from not worrying about my workout schedule and what I’ve been eating, has been very REFRESHING! Life is too short to not enjoy the things you love, the people you love, and the places you love! Nantucket has that affect on me…It is a very special place to me and I’m leaving the island feeling refreshed, rested, and ready to go back to NJ to tackle the beginning of a new season!

Have you ever taken a break from working out and eating well? If so, how long of a break did you take and were you able to truly let go and enjoy yourself?

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. You needed that girl! I am so proud of you for stepping back and taking a break. I think we can all learn from experiences like these. It is amazing how much a vacation helps you slow down and appreciate the little things, like how you feel, versus trying to plan and schedule everything!

    I find that even a few days of stepping back gets me motivated to get back at it with a more relaxed approach or a different routine. It is definitely good to do this every once and a while. Maybe we should add that one to the schedule too ;-).

    September 7, 2011
  2. This is so what I needed to read! It’s hard to admit to over training and I know make excuses for myself when I’m on the verge of over training. Luckily I’m getting away this weekend and plan to just walk around the beach a bunch, maybe do some easy bike riding with the family and RELAX. Oh I cannot wait!

    September 7, 2011
  3. Thanks for your honesty Katie! When I emailed you about my injuries, I was defnitely right where you felt you were before vacation…over-training! I was SO tired all the time and like you, not seeing any changes in my body (with all the exercise I was doing). I got hurt and then it was FINALLY time to take a step back a really look at how I was treating myself! Is it REALLY necessary to work out 2x’s a day? IS it REALLY necessary to do 2 workouts in a row? NO WAY! After about a month of working out 4-5 days/week, I FEEL better, I wake up refreshed, and I’m looking forward to my workouts! The best part? I feel really fit!
    As for the healthy eating…that’s pretty constant in my life but every day I usually have a little splurge! That way I don’t get crazy when I do go on vacation or on weekends. Last night we made banana soft serve over a heated mix of oats, almond butter, a couple choc. chips, and a few peanuts. It tasted like a snickers bar! Healthier than eating a snickers bar! ha

    September 9, 2011
  4. I definitely do! On a very regular basis lately. 🙂 I’ve just kind of realized that I’d rather enjoy life a bit and maybe not have quite as flat of a stomach. But I still have those moments when I’d rather have the flat stomach!
    Good for you for listening to yourself!

    September 10, 2011

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