When you don't let your body take a break every now and again, it will demand a break from you. The body can do this via injury, like a pulled or strained muscle, or it can do it via fatigue.
Fatigue was the case during my run this morning. I had planned to do close to 25 miles but ended up doing about 20, with significant walking breaks.
|The sun rising over Los Angles two hours into my run|
But, I stuck with it - to some degree, anyway. By slowing my pace and taking more walking breaks I lowered my overall mileage and intensity, but I hung in there for the full allotted time. Additionally, I decided that if I couldn't run the whole course at a good pace, I'd focus on certain sections of the trail to run hard (ok fine, medium-hard), with slower running in between.
And while all that was going on, I was considering why I was feeling so crappy.
Looking back over the last few weeks, it's not all that surprising. Recently I've been making a special effort to train more consistently, which essentially means the following:
- running hills with nearly every workout
- running at a faster pace through every workout
- more frequent workouts during the week
In addition to that, I had pumped up my mileage in the last week and it was over 5 weeks since the last time I had taken a break from my weekend long run.
To sum it all up, I was pooped.
I contemplated this during my run-walk-run-walk-amble-run. I had already decided to take it easier than I intended - it was just too hard to do otherwise - but I was feeling guilty about it. I wasn't sure that "taking it easy" was justified. I wasn't sure if I should be pushing through the resistance or listening to my body.
Winners don't "take it easy" - do they?
|Road up to Griffith Park Observatory|
But... I'm tired, a small voice in my head said. My stern inner voice was silent at this, but I swear I could hear it rolling it's eyes.
As already noted, I ended up listening to my body - or in other words, I took the easy way out. Still feel like a wuss about that one. Still kinda don't care though, in light of all the other training I've been doing. Still feeling a little tired.
All this debate and self-berating can be avoided, however, with one simple solution: by scheduling breaks into training in the form of "recovery weeks". I don't typically do this very well (or at all), but recovery weeks are an essential part of training, as told by coaches and runners with far more experience than me.
By giving myself "easy" weeks every 4-5 weeks and allowing my body and mind some time to recover, I can better avoid injury and burnout while also avoiding the feeling of "slacking off" during training when my body just shuts down.
|More of the trails at Griffith Park|