July 6, 2014
This is my 10th year in endurance athletics. It completely blows my mind when I sit back and think about where I started, what I’ve done, and what a crazy fun ride this been.
One of the things I’ve learned, though, is that there are invisible stressors that you cannot measure. Those stressors can turn into Overtraining if allowed to, even with the best made workout plan by the smartest coach ever.
Overtraining is the enemy of most Endurance Athletes and an unknown concept to normal people. Endurance Athletes tend to be driven people and so much so that they can work out TOO MUCH. On Purpose. REALLY! Crazy, I know.
To combat overtraining we use training plans, coaches, and log our workouts. Some even go so far as to log mood, energy, food, and sleep as these all play a role. Work stress, family stress, community stress, and so on also play a role – albeit almost impossible to measure. Best you can do is recognize the SYMPTOMS and set the ego on the curb and listen to your body.
Every endurance athlete needs a down period each year. A period where the focus is to recharge, re-energize, and regain the love of the sport – not just follow “the plan”. Knowing WHEN to do this is tricky. Most of us in the northern states do it in the winter, when workouts can be a real challenge anyway. However, I’ve been learning over the years that JULY is just not a good month for me (4th year in a row!). Many reasons play into that. Family obligations, work, etc play into this. Looking over my workouts, they have been perfect. My coach knows what I can handle, pushes me to the edge, and pulls me back when I go over that line. She also knows when to tell me when to pull the plug.
So July will be my ‘off’ month to recharge. Yes, that means not racing in July. Yes, that means no training in a STRUCTURED manner for a few weeks, I will go where the heart desires. If I want to swim, I’m going to swim. If I want to take out the mountain bike, I’ll do that. Go on a longer ride with friends? I’ll do that. Ice cream run with the kids, you bet.
When do you rest each year? Comment below!