Over Training Syndrome – Not Just for the Elites

It’s been close to six weeks since I ran the Miwok 100K and haven’t really been writing much about anything since then. Not to mention I haven’t been running much either. The fantastic write up on Over Training Syndrome in Outside Magazine prompted me to reflect on these last six weeks and realized, I felt a similar fatigue and a mental burn-out after the 100K. In social media, all of us tend to post pictures of PR’s and talk about how running is our life, etc. And I’m sure that to a large extent, that’s true. Turns out there is another (less-macho) side to it.

Over Training Syndrome

After I first started running in 2012, I was pretty obsessed for the first three years. I had to figure out how to run ultras without injuring myself. This year’s been a little different. I normally average anywhere from 20 to 30 miles per-week, and mostly unstructured too. A little hill climbing, some trail runs, stroll around my work with the occasional bleachers and 800’s. No real goal in mind other than getting out either for the sun, company with great friends or solitude. In anticipation of American River 50M and Miwok 100K, I had bumped up these miles getting close to 40 or 50 per-week, sometimes higher.

Over Training Syndrome

Two days after Miwok 100K, I felt great, physically. Two blackened toe nails and a hot spot above my right ankle were the only “injuries” from the long run. But I was pretty drained, exhausted and had no interest in shuffling my feet out the door. The intense focus and the depletion your body goes through after being out in the trails for 13+ hours does take a toll. The “generalized fatigue” in the Outside Magazine article seems to pretty well explain what I was going through.

And my only solution to this was to just lay off running. Ate like the blerch, slept a whole lot, biked some and pretty much vegged out for the next few weeks. I love variety and with running, especially so. It’s really hard for me to get on the same trails/route over and over again and a big part of me realized that’s exactly what I was doing. Rancho San Antonio is just a hop away from my house and mostly out of convenience, I run there a lot. Pretty soon you’ve seen all the lines, all the trails and while there’s always room for improvement, the mind’s just bored.

Given how running fits into the broader scheme of my life, I have realized that I’d rather run happy occasionally than feel compelled to do so every day. And I think that’s the key. When running becomes a chore, it’s really time to change things around. All that said, I’m totally looking for Double Dipsea this weekend. How fun it’s going to be to show up without much training, hang out with other runners and make a fool out of myself! 🙂 And ah, the ice-cold IPA at the end. That fixes everything.

Have you over gotten Over Training Syndrome? How do you cope with it?