Something really jumped out at me in this podcast. Dr. Millan started talking about overtraining, and that overtraining is very different for professional athletes than it is for the average person, who is also working, caring for a family, ect ect.
The reason this clicked for me so much, is that I am one of those people who has been told I’m overtraining. I’ve had overtraining injuries – runner’s knee, stress fracture, ect. When I’m told that, I always feel so frustrated that the professional runners can put lots of miles on their body and I can’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I know there are some people who are better than others at handling high mileage. Even among elite runners, some do better with 70 mile weeks as opposed to 100 mile weeks.
However, this podcast brought home an important point – those professional athletes don’t get overtrained because they had a different set of priorities. Sure, running and training for a race is probably the most fun part of my day. However, it is NOT paying the bills. I go to work, clean my house, take care of my dog, grocery shop, make dinner, clean up dinner, put the leftovers away, get my food ready for the next day, work more, pass out and do it all over again. I know most of you reading this blog are the same way.
Here is what a professional athlete’s day MIGHT look like: wake up, eat, drills, run, stretch, foam roll, eat, nap, strength train or cross train, stretch, eat, massage/ice bath/active release, eat, relax, then sleep 9-10 hours a night. Obviously this is very broad and very generalized, but it seems to be pretty common from all the “day in the life” articles I’ve read over time of professional runners.
Their whole day is formed around training for a particular performance and recovering. It is literally their job to recover.
It may make me sound obtuse, but I never really realized that the responsibilities of a working person – even someone who might be sitting at a desk all day, can all attribute towards overtraining. Someone with a full time job, spouse, kids and tons of responsibilities may have a hard time getting even 6 hours of sleep a night, let alone do all the other stuff a professional athlete might do.
I don’t think I ever really gave myself enough grace and I hope that this might help someone else have the same realization I did.
How do you know if you are overtraining? For me, it is usually a couple things: (1) I’m not excited to do my run every day. (2) I have less patience (3) Things hurt, not in a good way.
Things you can do about it:
- Take a serious deload week. You won’t lose fitness, I promise. Cut your mileage in half for one or two weeks.
- Skip a workout or two and sleep in.
- Cross train – take a class, or just do something besides running. There is nothing wrong with getting bored of running and switching it up!
- Schedule a massage. This is possibly my favorite.
- If you do take a deload week, use your extra time for stretching, socializing, or sleep!
I don’t know why I love to foam roll while drinking a glass of wine – but something about it makes me so happy. I never said I was normal.
So, just in case anyone didn’t tell you today, you are doing GREAT. It’s ok, relax and have a doughnut. Or is it donut? Guess it donut matter as long as you are happy! (See what I did there?)