Overtrained, Unmotivated, and Full of Blahs

Hello and Happy Monday!  I happened to take a week off of blogging.  Totally unplanned.  We are up in Michigan for a short while and between enjoying the weather, the lake, the woods, and family, I ran out of time!  Marathon training has started for many runners and it is also keeping me blissfully busy (you know I love coaching!).


I also have been dealing with some overtraining symptoms and lack of motivation to run, which tends to extend itself over into the my blogging.  Last year when I was pregnant, Rock ran Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN.  When he finished, he told me that I definitely needed to do this race and we both agreed that 2016 would be the year to do it and hopefully use it as a chance to qualify for Boston.

After coaching the Chicago Marathon last year, we both had that crazy itch to get another marathon in and that lead us to sign up for the Poconos Marathon which we finished this May.

I knew training for two marathons that were just over a month apart would be difficult.  But I liked the idea of having two opportunities to qualify for Boston.  I had an amazing race in Pennsylvania and then took 4 days off from running.  Ideally, I would have taken a week.  But I was coaching the Chicago Spring 13.1 for a charity and needed to get a few short runs in before the actual event.  A week after running the marathon, I did just over 10 miles on the course of the half marathon.  It wasn’t the perfect plan, but life for me is a balance between my own running and making sure my athletes have a great experience.

I took a day off after the half marathon and then decided to follow my previous training plan for the final four weeks.  It isn’t the most aggressive training plan but it certainly calls for a heavy amount of miles and some tough speed work.

What I didn’t plan on was NYC deciding to finally skip spring and go right into summer.  We went from cold days to hot, hot, hot days.  That first week, I didn’t finish a single planned run.  In fact, my 17 miler only lasted for 9 miles and I squished my way home in soggy clothes.

As a running coach, I know that I am still in great shape coming out of my last marathon.  I still have the endurance and strength.  My legs have recovered.

Any athlete who missed the 2012 NYC Marathon the year of Sandy, knows that your body maintains that level of fitness for up to a month.  Runners who didn’t get to do that event had up to a month to find a different marathon and still reap the benefits of their training.

But it is still deflating to have runs end poorly or go much slower than you would like.  In my head, I know that I am in good shape, but it would have been lovely to have another perfect training cycle.

Going into Grandma’s, I have absolutely no expectations.  I am happy just to be there.  But this past week I was hit with a bit of Overtraining Syndrome.  It started with a lack of appetite (who doesn’t want to eat during marathon training?!).  Then I started having the blahs, which turned into feelings of sadness (I’m a pretty darn happy lady and being in my favorite place should have me grinning from ear to ear).  My resting heart rate was unreasonably high.  Worst of all, I didn’t feel like doing a single run.  All of these are signs of overtraining.


See how happy I was to finish my last long run this weekend?!

To be fair, I haven’t pushed myself hard.  Sure, my speed work has been faster than it ever has been.  But I believe that is the bi-product of successful training.  Yet, 20+ weeks of strenuous training will take it’s toll on anyone.

I love running.  I am a running dork.  When I start dreading runs, we have a problem.

Overtraining Syndrome is a real deal and it is important to know that signs and know when to back off or take a break.  Right now I don’t have the option of a full break.  I don’t want to end up injured.  I played it smart the last two weeks and shorted some runs and took extra days off to allow for more recovery.


Signs of Overtraining Syndrome are:

Depression or moodiness

Achy legs and muscles

Lack of motivation

Abnormally high resting heart rate

Lack of appetite

Insomnia and headaches

Lack of motivation for your sport and decreased enjoyment

If you recognize any of these signs it is important to consider contacting or seeing a physician.  Take some time off.  Rest, hydrate and hop over to your favorite cross training option.

I will certainly be doing all of this after Grandma’s and I will be kicking my legs up at the lake and catching some rays!

Have you ever experienced the symptoms of overtraining?  What is your favorite way to cross train?

15 thoughts on “Overtrained, Unmotivated, and Full of Blahs

  1. Definitely important stuff to know about yourself – and one reason so many of us who have been running for a long time are always pushing younger/newer runners to ‘first, know yourself’ because the lure of social media can be the quick path to injury!

    And I am sure that as a coach it is super-important to you to demonstrate what you teach through your own training (no pressure, eh?).

    Enjoy your marathon and the relaxation time that follows!

    As an aside … that list looks like it could also be ‘signs you are dealing with a teenager’! 😀

  2. Have fun at Grandma’s! The weather can be unpredictable, but I have heard great things about the race. As for overtraining, it can happen to any and everyone! Stress builds up, both from physical and mental triggers, and that can overload anyone. That is why there is froyo 😀

  3. Oh man, you’re running Grandma’s?! I did that race last year too! It was fun but it was also awfully humid there after the downpour last year so time-wise I didn’t have my best showing. After that race, I had to jump right into training for Steamtown basically and I could sense that I was needing a break so I gave myself a lot more flexibility in training for Steamtown in order to prevent the burnout. Hope you have fun at Grandma’s and the weather is better! 😀

  4. This is a great read! Training for my first marathon and it’s good to know these signs. Thank you for sharing. I think it’s so important to always listen to your body! Have a great run and glad you’ll be kicking back afterwards!

  5. Cross train? I think that’s picking the mountain bike over the road bike…. but I’m not quite sure. That doesn’t happen till late September anyway! WOOHOO summer!!!

  6. Hope the mini-break has helped and you have a great run at Grandma’s…I’ve definitely experienced some of those symptoms recently – the running streak was really hurting me while trying for 5 marathons this year and something had to give. I ended my run streak at 147 days a couple weeks ago, quit my job (planned), enjoyed a visit from my Mum before starting my new job. Amongst all this, I was pretty much unmotivated to run – I made it through a 20 miler and a 14 mile grind but was skipping the in-between stuff after I had ended the streak. Now, it’s race day on Saturday and I have no idea how I will do, but in a weird way I feel refreshed and ready to just go out and enjoy what will be my 8th marathon. Of course, I probably wont be saying that around mile 20!! Best of luck with the rest of your prep and look forward to hearing how it goes.

    • Thank you so much. Run streaks can be fun but I am not a fan of them. I think it is a recipe for injury, loss of love for the sport and as you mentioned, overtraining. Wise to take the break. Good luck this weekend and I hope you can take a few extra days off after.

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