avoiding burn out

As I look at the calendar, I realize that in just three weeks time, I will be only days away from getting ready to head up to Whistler.  Time is ticking and I’m getting to the point where I need to consider the tapering portion of my training.

I realized this past weekend that I’ve hit quite a turn-around point.  Only a year ago, I couldn’t even fathom the idea of running much more than half a block.  When I finally decided to commit to giving this idea of running a go, it took several weeks to get myself into a habit of suiting up, lacing up, and getting myself out there.  One year later, I had to hold myself back from heading out for a run.  I’ve become so accustomed to getting out for my weekly long run, that my weekend feels incomplete without it, even if it’s a shorter distance than usual.

I’ve been as diligent as I could since I began.  I made sure I was getting out three times a week for varying levels of working on improving, whether it was focussing on speed, hills, or distance.  Right now, with my distances getting longer and longer and my weekly run clinic being far more intense than I imagined, my body has been begging me to scale back to prevent my muscles from going into overload.  I started to worry about burning out before the big day.  The last thing I want is to arrive in Whistler having already hit a wall.  I think this is what was happening back in March just before our school spring break.  For a couple of weeks leading up to our trip to Hawaii, you might recall me writing about feeling like I was in a rut, and that week in Hawaii (beach run included) seemed to magically solve all my problems.  When I arrived back home, I seemed to have a renewed sense of energy to tackle my training once again.

Sadly, another week in Hawaii just before heading up to Whistler is not in the cards, so instead, this weekend I decided to experiment and I gave myself the weekend off.  I still went to my weekly run clinic last weekend, and I still work on my strength conditioning, but for the first time in months, I did not go out for a long run.  I wanted to give my body a break.  Last weekend I did complete a 21.1km run – not very well, mind you – but it was still time on my feet.  I wanted to make sure I didn’t suddenly overdo it by forcing myself to run again this weekend.  Initially, I thought it would be easy – yay!  – a free weekend!!  It was harder than I anticipated.  All weekend long, I had this “itch” to put on my gear and log at least 10 – 15 km, just to keep me moving.  But I resisted and forced my body to rest.  The last thing I need right now is an injury or aggravation.  Not after all this time and training.  Will I regret this week off??  I guess I’ll know soon enough.

I’ll try to head out tomorrow after work for a light, easy run and then I have my run clinic on Wednesday.  Next weekend, I’ll resume my long run.  That will probably be my last true long run before Whistler.  The last couple weekends prior to the race will be my taper runs.  It’s perfect timing since I’m slated to participate in a 5km fun run with my youngest daughter on May 25th.  Just enough to keep me moving without over-doing it.  After that, I’ll be gearing up for the big day.  I’m excited yet overwhelmed all at once.  I may have convinced myself to give my body a break.  Now I just have to convince my brain…

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