Let’s talk about burnout… It is a real thing. There is a such thing as too much training and there is a very fine line between consistent heavy training and over training. I personally was over training and to be honest I really hadn’t even noticed that I was over training; I just all of the sudden realized I was done and so very much over it. Which is why I quit running. One of my great loves, I just quit.
Well, to be honest, I was doing way too much and didn’t even realize I was over training. I was running between 3-4 days a week and doing Crossfit 2-3 days a week. If you do that math, you will notice that there were days I was doing 2-a-days; which means that I was training more than once a day. I had 1 or even zero rest days and that is not good. If you’ve been around my blog very long you know that I preach on the 4 R’s – Rest, Relax, Renew, Recover. Those four things are as important as your workout.
I’m super competitive. It’s one thing that my parents had to work with me on while growing up. They worked with me to channel the competitive energy because I was not being kind to others. They taught me it was okay to be competitive but it was not okay to be unkind. Thankfully I listened to their teaching and was kinder to others but for some reason as the years have gone on, I turned that negativity on myself and became my worst critic and biggest competitor.
This competitive nature really played a role in my over training because I was constantly pushing myself to be better and do more which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Honestly, sometimes LESS IS MORE.
How did I know I was over training?
Welp, (<– yes that’s a word) let’s start at the beginning. I started Crossfit as my cross training in June of 2017. When I started Crossfit, my run time immediately went down, I was getting faster which made me so excited I thought more training had to be better, right? Nope.
I went from running 3-4 days a week and Crossfit 1-2 days a week, to running 3-4 days a week and Crossfit 3 days (or more) a week and something random on the off days. My run time started to be slower again and I had zero energy. Not only that, all of the sudden I started to wonder why the heck I liked to run and workout anyway. Which made me feel like a fraud, because fitness is my job!
It all of the sudden hit me when I was sitting in class for my RRCA Coaching Certification. As the coach was telling us how to look for signs of over training in our athletes, I met every single one of his criteria.
I felt like I was looking in the mirror:
- Running time gets slower
- Decrease in appetite
- Hate for the sport that they love
- Non-interest in things that they enjoy doing (outside of training)
Hello, my name is Amber and I was over training. (This is where you say, “Hi, Amber!”)
Okay, never mind. Moving on…
What to do next?
I made a plan to take a BREAK.
Even though I was was training for my next race which was a half marathon (which I got two PRs in by the way), I told myself that after that race I was going to stop running for however long it took for me to WANT to walk out the door and run again. It was a scary thing for me. Remember me telling you how competitive I am? I thought, what if I never want to run again? How can I continue to blog about running and fitness if I am not even running myself? What if I lose all my weight loss progress up to this point? What if the sky falls and my ears fall off my head? You can see how ridiculous I was being. It’s not like I was going to quit working out all together, just take a break from running.
A break was needed and I knew it, I just needed to let go of the feeling of control.
So, I quit running.
Remember I said I was training for a half marathon? Well, I ran that half marathon, and put my running shoes on the shelf.
Honestly? I was terrified of what would happen but I did it, because I knew I needed a rest. My body needed time to repair itself from the intense training I was putting it through, plus, in my heart of hearts, I knew I’d be back, because I love running.
First week of not running I was still sore from my race, so I was thankful that I wasn’t pushing myself to get back into it. I still went to the gym to work out the sore muscles but I did a lot of stretching and foam rolling.
Second Week of not running was fairly uneventful but by the third week I was noticing a difference in my attitude and in actuality, the shape of my body and how my clothes fit. It’s amazing all the benefits of running but that’s another post in itself.
The good news? I could feel myself getting ready to get back out there again because I missed the open road and honestly, I missed running with my Izzy Bear.
My first run back was actually on the track because I wanted it to be flat and an easy transition back into the game. I was so excited to go running and I hadn’t felt excitement for a long time. Plus, I had only taken a few weeks of a break. I honestly thought that I would take months off that’s how bad I was feeling before my break, but nope, I was ready and it was a great run. 2 Miles at a 9:55 pace was exactly what I needed, the runner’s high was back and I am in love with my sport again.
Moral of the story?
Give yourself a break, sis. You must have those rest days and honestly those weeks that you give yourself a break. I have a new mission for myself so that I can work to keep those feelings of burn out away and you can incorporate them too!
- Allow myself time for the 4 R’s (rest, relaxation, recovery, renew)
- After a race, give myself at least a week break from running to allow my body to repair itself. Remember the competitive thing? Yep, my body gets TORN UP from pushing myself so hard in a race
- Remember why I run. We all have different reasons for why we run, so remember yours because it will help you get right back on track and stay on track.
And remember that your break from running maybe longer than than 3 weeks and that’s okay. Obviously keep your activity up and don’t become a couch potato.; but allow your body time to heal from the intense training you put it through.
More isn’t always better. “Simple”… I think it’s my new favorite word.
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