Too Much Too Soon

How to Give Your Body the Training it Needs Without Burning Out

No pain no gain. This catchy saying has led to more injuries and burn outs in training than I care to think about. But even if you know better, the temptation to push your body too far in training is one we can all succumb to.

Over the past few weeks, I competed in the Boston Marathon, ran the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon, and the 5 Peaks Golden Ears Trail Race. 3 MAJOR events in 4 weeks.

No badge of honour. Since then I have been one a one-week hiatus from running. The season has just begun, and I was not taking the proper recovery time.

So why did I over train?

I convinced myself that the Boston Marathon would make me stronger for the BMO Half Marathon – and that the BMO Half would get me ready for the 5 Peaks run later in the week. I was expecting some PBs!

But I was missing a crucial element – rest and recovery. And I’m a personal trainer – I should know better. I wouldn’t do this to my clients, why would I do it to myself? I was just excited about the all the races, and didn’t want to let go of any of the races.

Over the last few weeks, I started to get a little bit of pain in the plantar fascia of my feet. This was a red flag! Time to take some time to care for the feet before they get too bad. It’s tempting to push through the pain, but that can lead to an injury that takes you out for weeks. I’d rather sacrifice a few weeks over a full season.

If we continually over-reach in our training program, it can lead to Over Training Syndrome. I was over-zealous. I thought every race was a chance at a new PB, but the opposite was happening. My body was reaching plateau and I wasn’t seeing any improvement. Can you relate?

To avoid a situation where you might be over-training consider the following steps:

Implement mandatory recovery weeks

Give yourself permission to take some time off. Strains and sprains come when we don’t give your connective tissue enough time to recover from the breakdown. It takes time to get the smaller muscles and connective tissue used to extra physical activity.

Cross Train

If you are in the middle of an intense training regime, be sure to vary your running with some spin classes, core exercises, stability training, stretching and strength training. Everyone loves to go for a long run, but focusing on these areas, in addition to strength training, will keep you well rounded and help to prevent injury.

Build a  Training Team

Get some pros on board. Having a trainer, chiropractor, physiotherapist and massage therapist on board will help keep you on track toward your training goals, without crossing over the lines.

Implementing recovery time doesn’t mean you have to stop training altogether – but you have to really listen to what your body is telling you. Even if you just slow down your tempo on certain days during the week, it’s better than training at red line 24/7.

Space out some of those hour-long runs with stability training, stretching and bodywork. Reset your mind on your intentions, not just for the upcoming race, but for your entire season. Keep the big picture in mind – we are in this for the long haul!

Can you relate? Let me know in the comments below, or share this with a friend who you think could use a timely word.

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