TAKING A BREAK & SHAKING THINGS UP…

Last weekend was the OC Marathon/Half Marathon, a race that I’ve run the last two years and had planned to do again in 2015.

Whoa boy.

Whoa boy.

But I didn’t run it.

Instead, I slept in that morning and then read about and congratulated a bunch of my friends who completed the race (and did well). Why, you may ask, did I skip a race I wanted to do?

Simple, I’m a bit burned out.

Sometimes you gotta take a much needed breather.

And sometimes you gotta shake things the hell up.

Basically, that’s where I am right now in regards to racing and running.

My last race was the Hollywood Half Marathon in April. And while my finish time wasn’t horrible, it certainly wasn’t my best race and well off my H’wood Half pace from last year. I didn’t have my normal level of energy and my legs just felt tired.

I realized that since the fall of 2013 I’ve basically been running races non-stop, without any kind of break.

Yup, between September 2013 and April 2015 I completed 27 races (4 full marathons, 19 half marathons and 4 10Ks) and had done at least one half/full marathon each and every month. That’s a helluva lot of bling and T-shirts earned and a huge amount of miles run. To be honest, I was exhausted.

If I were a match.

If I were a match.

And every athlete, no matter their skill level, needs some down time.

One other complication from training non-stop was that I was always just a few weeks away from my next race, which discouraged me from changing up my training regimen.

As a result I hit a plateau and got in a bit of a running rut doing basically the same workout week in and out. Not only did my timing and conditioning NOT improve, I actually regressed a bit. I’ve also gained back some of those pounds I worked so hard to drop in late 2013.

My body has been telling me for a few months now to ease off the gas and also to change things up.

Well, stubborn me is finally listening.

I cancelled my races for both May and June and have taken it a little easy on workouts for the last few weeks to let my body rest a bit and reset.

In the next few weeks I’ll start ramping things up again, but with some changes.

Lifting weights film noir style.

Lifting weights film noir style.

I’m going to get back into cross-training, to help work my core and gain some upper body strength. And the added muscle mass should help me re-shed some of those pesky pounds. I also plan to rejigger my diet (those darn french fries found a way to creep back in) and get back on the healthy path. I may even ditch my diet coke addiction or at least get it back under control.

I plan to incorporate a few new exercises into my repertoire, including swimming and cycling. Who knows, maybe a triathlon will end up in my future.

As for the running, I’m going to better incorporate fartleks (what a great word) and speed training to help increase my speed and endurance. I still want to break the 2-hour barrier in the half marathon and finish stronger in the full marathon next time.

'cause they're shakers... get it.

’cause they’re shakers… get it.

I’m even trying some new gear, including new shoes: experimenting with Hoka’s Bondi 3 running shoes. So far, so good.

My next scheduled race is the Peachtree Road Race 10K on July 4th in Atlanta (one of my annual traditions). I’ll follow that up with the REVEL Rockies half marathon later in the month. And I do have several races planned for the fall.

I know that the road back may be a little frustrating as I’ve slipped a notch and have to work to regain (and improve on) my old form.

But to quote a John Michael Montgomery song I like: “You might crawl even after you’ve walked.”

Should be a tough, but eventually rewarding, journey.

Run a little slower for the time being… but Run on!

Have you ever experienced “burnout” or a plateau? And if so, how did you shake it off and move forward? I’d love to hear about it or any other words of wisdom you care to share.

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Posted on May 11, 2015, in General and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Sounds like a much needed break. I do that over the winter here. It’s always back to basics for three months.

    • Thanks for the shout out. Typically no “icky weather” season here in SoCal (not that I’m complaining) to step back and reboot. It is a little frustrating when your body doesn’t respond like you expect and your enthusiasm lags a bit. Looking forward to coming back strong.

  2. I know this had to have been a tough decision, but kudos to you for seeing the big picture. I’m sure you’ll come back refreshed and ready to nail some PRs. Good luck!

    • Thanks. Definitely not an easy decision. But when something that worked before stops working, you need to evaluate things and take the necessary steps to correct it (otherwise you’re just spinning your wheels). Looking forward to shaking this off and getting back on track.

  3. Hanna @ TheMillennialNextDoor

    I can’t say I’ve ever been at this point, but I want to avoid it so I will be doing something similar to you in my next training cycle. I’m training for a time goal for my June 20 marathon, and that kind of training takes a lot out of you, physically and mentally. I know I don’t have it in me to jump right back into this. So, for my fall marathon, I’ve decided not to have a time goal and just run it for the experience. For my training, I will cut back a bit on mileage and run fewer times a week, supplementing a lot of my easy runs with cross training. The goal is not only to stave off burnout, but to become a more well-rounded athlete and improve my overall fitness. The thing I like about not training for a time goal is that allows me to be flexible and take risks with my training. This run less/XT more strategy may work and it may not, but I’m glad I’m giving myself a chance to find out and have a “learning experience” race. I need to allow some room in my plan for the inevitable race when things don’t all go smoothly.

    • Thanks for the note. Sounds like a good plan; be sure to let me know how it works for you. It’s true that you can’t be “on” all of the time. And I continue to learn. Happy to be a “student” of running.

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