Sunday, October 20, 2013

Overtrained, Burned Out, Whatever

I think I've dipped into overtraining. Ever since the Highlands Ranch 1/2 Marathon two weeks after the Leadville 100, I haven't felt great, save a few decent runs here and there. A nasty cold made its way through our house, leaving me with a hideous cough and a host of symptoms that lasted 3+ weeks.

Then, on Friday night, I lined up for the Scream Scram 5K, a great Halloween-themed event in Wash Park in Denver, and ran a decent time and was first master. But today, when I went out for my run, I felt horrible, mentally and physically, and packed it in after 6 miles--something I'll rarely (read: never) do. I'm a warrior--I battle through tough workouts. But not today. After my aborted run, I headed to the gym and did a decent lower body workout--my first time in the gym since March. And I enjoyed pumping iron. At this point, anything that isn't what I've been doing for 10+ years (running) interests me--even this (mostly after I read this awesome interview with a runner I very much admire).

So how did I get here? Over the summer, while out of work, I consistently put in 15-17 hour weeks with over 15,000 feet of climbing--all while dealing with the stress of being out of work and looking for a job. Thankfully, I was sleeping well every night and so I was able to recover between workouts pretty well (or so I thought at the time). But it's now clear to me that the Leadville Marathon in late June, when I ran a scorching time by my own standards, was the high-water mark of my fitness. By the time I lined up for the Leadville 100 in mid-August, I was on the downside of my fitness--mostly because I'd been pushing myself so hard all summer and once again missed peaking for my A race. And so now I find myself fried mentally and physically and not at all interested in running.

I know this is a temporary thing. In time, my love for running will return (it always does). I'm even burned out on my iPod music. Last week, with no new podcasts to listen to (I'm an avid podcast listener), I just ran in silence with my dog, Nick. Whenever I turned on my music, I immediately got irritated and then turned it back off. Such irritation tells me I need a break.

And so I'm now in a break. I don't know how long it'll last--a week, two weeks, who knows? I plan to lift weights, walk my dog and maybe bike a little. Hell, I might even get on that damned elliptical trainer. Anything but run.

All in all, I've had a good, injury-free year of running.
  • I re-qualified (by more than 10 minutes) for the Boston Marathon at the Arizona Rock 'n Roll Marathon.
  • I set a PR at the Leadville Marathon that will be tough to beat in future years.
  • I had an incredible final 35 miles of the Leadville 100, earning another finish at the Race Across the Sky despite puking 25+ times during the race (food poisoning?).
  • I stayed healthy throughout the year, except for a nasty sprained ankle that seemed to patch back together pretty nicely.
I have every reason to look back on 2013 with happiness and fulfillment. I am grateful for my good health and grateful to have enjoyed some awesome races. I'm excited about 2014, especially if it means the Western States 100 (and Leadville!), but at this point I need to call it quits for this racing season and kind of rest and rebuild.


  1. Be careful if you are going to try and add in Crossfit style workouts or you will end up sick and hurt like I did last spring after doing it for 3-4 months. You really have to make sure you eat enough or your body will break down, especially if you keep on running at the same time like I did. Here are some fun workouts for ya.

  2. Thanks for the info, Shad. I'll check it out. I don't plan to go all-in with CrossFit Endurance--just give a few of the workouts a shot and see what it's like. I like the idea of doing 100-meter sprints with push-ups sprinkled in--stuff like that. I'm always looking to get better and try new things. This winter, strength-building with weights is once again a big priority.


  3. I love these stories!
    Keep writing.

  4. Thanks for sharing some thoughts. It sounds like you had a major summer of running preparing for Leadville with heavy mileage. From what I've read it sounds like some time off from running will be a very restoring experience. The chance to cross train will give the legs a break too.

    I usually lift weights six days a week (low weight, high reps) for the sake of keeping running in perspective. Otherwise, I believe I would grow tired of it quickly too. I know that you will bounce back though - stay the course!

    Austin Bonds
    Deep South Running