Overtraining and overeating

I’m about halfway through my 16 week half marathon training plan, and I’m starting to see some major changes.

Change number 1: I can run 5 miles without stopping and it doesn’t feel like death.  A few weeks ago, I got super excited about a 3 mile run, and 4 miles was my mental equivalent of an Ironman.  Yesterday, I ran 5 miles in under an hour and it felt great.

Change number 2: My calves have shrunk.  Yes, shrunk.  I’ve always been that girl who wouldn’t wear skinny jeans because of my super manly calves and high boots didn’t fit me.  Well, enter 6 weeks of actual running and my calves are thinner.  This is totally superficial, but it certainly made me smile this morning when I pulled on my jeans this morning.

Change number 3: I’m HUNGRY.  Holy hell am I hungry!  I should be well aware of the results of intense exercise; I was a distance swimmer for many many years.  It wasn’t until I started running that I realized that exercise other than swimming made me equally hungry.  I’ve read many, many blogs about people who gain weight during marathon training due to intense hunger and I’m trying not to become that person.  I spent a lot of time and energy losing weight the past few months, and I’m not going to let myself undo it.  That being said, if my body needs fuel, I’ll fuel it; I just need to make sure its with healthy food rather than that bagel that keeps making sexy eyes at me 😉

Final change:  PAIN.  My legs hurt, my upper body hurts, I’m not sleeping as well as I’d like, and I’m seeing my weight workouts become less and less hardcore.  This, boys and girls, is overtraining.  I’m impressed that I was able to recognize the signs, since I tend to go balls to the wall on everything I do, regardless of consequences.

So what am I doing about these changes? First, I’m backing off.  My training plan is for an arbitrary date that I just made up when I decided I wanted to start running.  My half marathon will be in September, not February as the plan claims.  As such, I’m stopping the distance increase after next week.  I’ve decided that 6miles will be my longest run and remain so until the winter is over.  Its pretty darn hard to run outside in New England after November 30 anyway (hello, freezing cold) so I’ll stick to the treadmill.  I’m also going to focus on technique and speed rather than distance.  Since  5 miles feels pretty good right now, I doubt that 6 miles will be a killer.  So, I’ll stick to 3 running days a week: one easy run, one speed run, one long run.

I also invested in a foam roller, ice packs and I’m thinking about getting some compression sleeves to tend to those sore calves and shin splints.  Keeping myself healthy, fueled and on track for the new year!

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