Nine months ago while training for my first half-marathon I began experiencing issues with my sleep. That is, once I got to sleep, it was next to impossible to stay asleep. My appetite all but disappeared and most importantly I had lost my love for running. My mood was not too pleasant (just ask my husband), and I was becoming quite irritated with those around me, especially my running coach.
What in the world could be going on? My initial thought was the big M (you know, MENOPAUSE), but as I had not experienced any other symptoms, I thought peri-menopause? But my running coach had a whole different thought. He believed the symptoms I was experiencing were due to overtraining.
Huh? Nancy and overtraining had never been mentioned in the same sentence EVER in my entire life. This is coming from someone who did everything in her power to avoid PE class. While I must say I am a type A perfectionist personality all the way, I could not and did not believe that this was even a remote possibility.
He insisted that I take a full week off from the gym and not run a single day. Talk about major anxiety. This had been my way of living for almost 3 years and NOW I was told NOT to exercise at all, especially 5 weeks before the race of my lifetime! But I had learned a long time ago to TRUST THE PROCESS and so I did exactly as I was told.
That was the longest week of my life, and had Christmas and New Year’s not been a part of my exercise-free week, I am not too sure what I would have done. Thank goodness the holidays kept me preoccupied, but whenever I saw a runner in my neighborhood I can’t begin to tell you how anxious I was not being able to get out and run. I just knew that with each passing minute I was losing valuable training time.
Surprisingly, within 5 days I started sleeping again and my appetite slowly began to return. Within 2 weeks my mood stabilized and I started looking forward to my runs again. My coach insisted that I start keeping a training log so at the first sign of trouble, we could nip the problem in the bud.
I survived my first half-marathon and I am training for my second in 5 weeks; and yes, once again, the same symptoms slowly began to inch their way back into my life. This past week I knew to pull back on my cross training and a little on my running. I now realize that as important as exercise is, rest is just as crucial. For it is during our rest and recovery that the body begins the adaptation process to the stress of exercising. Once again the theory of everything in moderation can be applied, not only to exercising but eating as well.
Do you have an all or nothing approach to exercise? Have you ever experienced anxiety or guilt if you miss your workout and how do you handle this? Do you feel the need to make up for a missed workout, even if that means letting other obligations slide?
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