Do you find yourself pushing through workouts all the time? I know you’re probably addicted to the feeling that comes at the end of long runs – worn out and sweaty, but so accomplished. Except, maybe you’re not recovering as quickly, and you’re dragging yourself out of bed in the morning. Is this normal?
The first mistake you could be making is: following a linear plan versus training based on your cyclical body. With a linear plan, you might add more volume, intensity, and mileage each week. Sure, there may be an eventual taper week, and once in a while you sprinkle in a lower mileage week, but this plan doesn’t take into consideration your body and your individual cycle.
The thing is, knowing your peak times to train harder, and the best times to recover is one of the most powerful strategies you can have whether you’re training for a race, or just want to run healthier instead of harder all the time.
The second mistake runners make when they’re pushing through workouts is ignoring the warning signs of overtraining. Are you craving carbs, sugar, salt (or all of the above) all the time? Are you tired in the morning if you don’t have caffeine? Are you having trouble sleeping or crashing in the afternoon? Are you gaining weight even though you’re eating the same and running a lot? These could be signs of overtraining. This isn’t medical advice, but pay attention to what you’re experiencing if things feel “off” and take action with an expert who can help.
The good news is there are ways you can adjust how you train and still challenge your body. One thing you can do is start tracking your cycle and symptoms alongside your symptoms to notice patterns. This actually leads to the third potential mistake some women make when they’re pushing through workouts, not tracking important metrics. Maybe you already track distance, time, splits, etc. but what about how you’re feeling physically and emotionally, stress levels, sleep, digestion, and what day of your menstrual cycle you’re on? These are all important details to help you optimize your training.
Side note: If you don’t have a menstrual cycle because of menopause, birth control, IUD, or for some other reason? You can use the moon cycle as your anchor instead (new moon = menstruation and full moon = ovulation). Are you following a linear vs. a cyclical plan? Are you ignoring the warning signs of overtraining? Are you tracking your workouts alongside your inner cycle?
“Once you know better, you do better.” -Maya Angelou
P.S. If you want more on how to challenge yourself without feeling depleted, I have a free audio training for you here.
Great article! I am an ultra runner who just loves to run. I average 50 miles a week, so I guess you can say I am on the linear side. I just like to spend time on the trails with no plan at all. I know what you mean about taking the time to recover, as I rolled both ankles in a month’s time. Those weeks on the couch were tough, but I knew I needed it. It is so hard for us as runners to not be able to do so.
Thanks for this! A couple of years ago I was at the end of several years of training hard, meeting (and occasionally not meeting) ultra goals… I ran my first 100 and was supposed to take the next year off but missed the finish line cut off by just under four minutes (d’oh!) – you an probably guess how the rest of the story goes… In addition to not taking that following year off I started a physically demanding job. It’s been a lot of frustration, disappointment, and recurring injuries. So now I am taking deliberate and mindful time off to reassess and start over from scratch (and making a lot of “jokes” about how I’m just a hiker now, retired runner). I will definitely be doing this with a cyclical approach rather than linear as I’ve mostly done up to now. Xox