Posted by Steve Crowder
Competitive athletes can be hard headed to say the least, and me probably more so than most. It’s not necessarily a bad trait, because it’s part of what gets us out the door every day. However, it can be a detriment as well. We get ground into our routines as well as our ideas of what we need to do in training (which is almost always more since we want to be sure nobody is outworking us), and we refuse to listen to feedback, whether it be from our coaches, training partners, friends, family, or even our own bodies.
I had one such experience lately and am currently paying the price for it. Knowing I would have a week or two towards the end of November where my training might be less than usual, I attempted to string together too many quality weeks in a row without a down week. Coach Blickle sent me two or three schedules in a row where he recommended a cutback week with reduced volume and intensity, but I always told him that I thought I would keep my mileage up for another week or two then cut back.
I finally took the recommended, and much needed, cutback week the third week of November, but by that point I was starting to feel pretty fried. I didn’t run any doubles that week and only one workout, and the workout actually went very well. Even though I never felt particularly good throughout the entire week, I figured I’d gotten away with my hard-headedness and would be ready to resume full volume training the next week. Accordingly, I jumped right back into things, running twice a day on both Monday and Tuesday with plans for a workout on Wednesday. However, I felt pretty lousy the first two days of the week, and by Wednesday, I was feeling really run down. I headed out into the single digit wind chill that night anyway, but after a couple of miles at well over 7:30 pace (much slower than my normal pace even for easy days), I knew I was in trouble. I had the opportunity to cut the run short at three miles, so that’s exactly what I did.
Aside from being ticked off that I had to bail out of a run, I felt really run down once I got home and knew I would need a day or two off. I didn’t run at all Thursday or Friday then did a really easy day on Saturday and an abbreviated long run of 13 miles on Sunday. Last night, Monday, was the best I’d felt in several days, but honestly my legs still don’t seem to be fully under me, all because of my hard-headedness and refusal to back off. I think I’ll be able to dig my way out of this self-created hole over the course of this week and fortunately I didn’t wind up with any sort of overuse injury, but it’s been a setback nonetheless.
So, the lesson to be learned is to not take dedication and desire to the extreme, thereby causing those positive attributes to become negative ones. This is even more important for Masters athletes like myself, but it’s true across the board. Recovery is just as important a part of training as hammering out the workouts and mileage. Even if I’d wound up with a couple of cutback weeks in November, my mileage total for the month might not have looked as good, but I would have been farther along with my fitness, which is the real goal. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep that in mind going forward. Happy running, everyone!