That’s right. I am tired of running and I can’t stop eating. Ok, I said it. I feel like I was just inside a runner’s confessional. As a running coach I feel slightly guilty that I am sick of running at the moment. But when I took a look back at my training log for the month of September I realized that I ran 221 miles. Added to that is the fact that June, July and August were all 200+ mile months and there’s the reason I’m over it at the moment.
Don’t get me wrong, I love running. I am basically a running nerd (like you haven’t noticed?!). But we all get stuck in a rut. My body and my mind are physically exhausted. We all need breaks and let me tell you, after the Chicago Marathon I am taking a much needed vacation from running. My motivation behind this race is different than others I typically run. I am not racing Chicago but instead will be running the course as a coach. In this week leading up I don’t have that excitement mixed with nerves, wondering if I will qualify for Boston again or set a new PR. My excitement for the race itself is huge. I can’t wait to watch nearly 140 athletes that I have closely worked with complete their training and realize their dreams of finishing a marathon. That alone has kept me running this major mileage for so long so that I can be there to help along the way and witness their accomplishments. This is why I love coaching.
I am also the terrible coach that doesn’t always take her own advice. I haven’t really tapered yet and I know I should. Yesterday was supposed to pour here in Chicago and I was secretly excited to be forced to stay inside. That was my plan…..and then it didn’t rain. I started to feel guilty by early afternoon so I laced up the shoes and headed out the door. It was a pretty lackluster six miles.
When I shared these thoughts with my husband the other night he laughed and then admitted he felt the same way. He’s been training for Chicago and will be toeing the line a week from Sunday as well. I am really proud of his hard work. Not only has he been on an advanced training plan but he also helped coach with me all summer. When he had to do extra long runs, he rearranged his training schedule so that he could bike with the athletes for their Saturday morning runs. He’s basically a rock star.
I was SO glad to hear he was having these same feelings. And then we both laughed because not only do we not feel like running, but all we want to do is eat. That is a terrible combo! On top of that my IT band has decided it is a good time to start singing to me……
The good news is this is a pretty normal feeling for the end of your training and especially during taper phase. Your body is basically letting out a huge sigh as you let it slightly rest. You’ve been pushing yourself for months. Not only is your body exhausted but your mind is probably feeling the same way too. I have heard from a lot of athletes this week who just feel “weird.” Their legs feel funny and they feel moody or emotional. Don’t worry, things will likely feel different after a few days.
This is a good reminder that every athlete needs to take a break occasionally. After a long training period or a challenging race it is ideal to take some time off and let your body and mind recover. I once read an article where an elite runner said he allows himself a month off at the end of a training season and lets himself get “fat.” Obviously his version of this word is different than what most people would consider to be fat. But he was basically saying he lets himself rest, eat and enjoy himself. Once he starts training again, it all comes off. But in many ways it makes sense. You push your body to the brink during your training. Give it a vacation and let loose a bit.
So for now, I am going to keep on keeping on. I am going to tuck my chin and get to work. I still enjoy most runs once I am out there. I just have to remind myself that when I want to plop down on the couch and eat cookies instead. The week leading up to a race is exciting and I am looking forward to that.
And once I cross that finish line I am going to REST!