Training hard or overtraining? A break from the crazy train.

It seems next to impossible that my low mileage running could possibly lead to overtraining. In general, my weekly average mileage hovers around the mid-thirties. When I’m really in the thick of things, it tops out in the mid-forties. But that’s about as high as it gets. Given those numbers, overtraining seems like the unlikeliest of afflictions.

But then there are the signs. I’m exhausted, yet slept less than 4 hours on Tuesday night. I’m sure those around me would say that I’m crabby. It’s been some time since I’ve really nailed a workout. And every run feels like a battle with the weather.

So Wednesday I took an unscheduled day off. Today I started an interval workout on the track under a downpour and gusting winds. After struggling through two 400s and a slow 1600m, I bailed. I’ve been trying to keep up with the crazy train and just can’t do it this week.

My hope is that in preserving some amount of sanity today I can come back and hit it next week. I have a race in Virginia Beach in two weeks and this is not the time for an epic meltdown. Can you fudge your way out of overtraining? The Runners Connect site has one article that seems to say yes. But another that takes a longer-term approach. Obviously, I like the first one.

Entitled “Eating Yourself Out of Overtraining” (I’m liking this already), it looks at this as a refueling issue.

The first thing a runner has to look at when they’re overly tired or possibly overtained is the amount of calories they’re taking in on a daily basis. The reality is, most runners do not eat enough calories to fuel their calorie expenditure. This lack of calories means the muscles aren’t getting the nutrients and fuel they need to recover.

Eating more instead of running less? Sign me up, that certainly sounds a lot better than taking six months off. I’ve got some whey powder to throw at this problem. They even include a sample menu, though I’m honestly not sure it sounds like more food than I’m used to.

Wake-up: Whey protein shake (to stop nighttime catabolic process)
Breakfast 1: Oatmeal with berries (raspberry, blueberry, or blackberries) and wheat germ. Honey for taste.
Breakfast 2: Reduced fat Greek yogurt with fruit
Lunch: Grilled chicken sandwhich and small spinach salad with peppers, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, tuna, and sunflower seeds. Use a small amount of olive oil or mandarin oranges for dressing if needed.
Midday snack: Oranges or handful of nuts (Brazilian, walnut, pistachio)
Dinner: Salmon with brown rice and asparagus
Nighttime snack: Cottage cheese with strawberries.
Post workout nutrition: Recovery drink or Gatorade and Powerbar.

If anyone has any advice, I’m all ears. In the meantime, I’ll be hanging out in the kitchen.

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