Don’t let a burn out burn you down

When I was considering a training plan for this year’s New York Marathon, I really, really wanted to stick to a 12-week cycle instead of the traditional 16 or even 20 week programs. Why? Because the last two times (the only two times) I’ve trained for a marathon I’ve seriously derailed somewhere past the 50% mark. In my rationale, if I make the cycle shorter, my bonk, or burn-out will happen right when the taper begins — perfect timing.

And, look. I probably should’ve done that, knowing my body and all, but I didn’t. I was over eager-beaver and jumped in Brooks-clad feet first into a 16-week cycle. And it’s honestly been great. Trust. But somewhere two weeks ago I started feeling so…shot. My legs were in a permanent state of sore, my joints were tight and, most of all, I had no desire to move. Everything felt way too hard and I kept having to cut my runs short.

After about a week of this, as I was packing for a long weekend away, I took a hard look at the situation. Am I really going to do this 15-mile run while in the scorching heat of Texas? Am I really going to make myself wake up at 5:30am everyday just so I hit all the check marks on my training plan? Is this worth it? The answer was no. I made the decision to take it easy for the weekend, run how much I can, when I can, if I want to. Come Monday I would have no excuses to not be back to 100%.

Guess what?

It worked.

In Austin I ran two out of three days. It was hot and humid but I loved exploring a different part of one of my favorite cities.

Monday morning I woke up and knocked out 7 blissed out miles. Last night I ran a stellar tempo run. This weekend I’m so excited to race the Bronx 10M.

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HOW COOL IS THIS BIB NUMBER?! IS IT A SIGN? Yes. 

Last year when I bonked, I gave up. I abandoned my training plan. I mentally didn’t want to deal with the training anymore and I was just going to wing it to the best of my ability. And that was fine, I guess. I didn’t feel that great going into the marathon but I didn’t feel totally unprepared either. I just knew I was winging it, which is isn’t something I imagined I’d feel going  into 26.2. 

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I have no idea what I’m doing and how I’m doing this!!

I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV, but I firmly believe that if you feel yourself burning out, take a step back, regroup and give yourself a timeline. Instead of throwing in the towel, just put the towel down next to you. Don’t underestimate the power of rest – for your body and for your brain.

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How bad?

How do you deal with burn-out? Do you power through? Do you rest? Is there a magical alternative I’m not aware of? Let a girl know.

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