Have you noticed recently that running feels harder than usual? The more you train, the slower you get? Gaining weight, persistent fatigue, and just generally wondering if running is ever going to be fun again?
You might think you’re not doing enough, and that you have to run more to get faster. So you increase from 4 days a week to 6 – and since you’re sure the reason you’re getting slower is because you’re overweight, you start eating less.
But somehow you gain more, get slower and feel worse.
Then you think it must be stress, and so you run even more, because that’s how you relieve stress.
And gain more, get slower, and feel worse.
You are not alone. It’s possible (even likely) that you’re overtraining. In other words, you’re running more than your body can manage. Especially if you’re running 5-6 times a week, and you’re over 40. It just can’t keep up.
Rest is an important part of the training equation, and if you’re not getting enough, your muscles can’t recover properly. Over time, this can add up to feeling pretty crappy.
But it gets worse. When your body is tired, your form will suffer, which can result in injuries. It’s a vicious cycle.
There is a solution though – and it’s pretty simple.
I’m not kidding.
If you just made a move to close this email in disbelief, I totally understand. It’s counterintuitive to do less to feel better, but I promise it can help.
Cut back to three runs a week, and don’t pick up extra mileage on those days. For example – if you normally run 15 miles a week over five days, cut back to nine miles over three days – and then rest on those two extra days. Really rest. Stick with it for at least a month and see how it feels.
I know it might be hard to run less. You might feel guilty or wonder what you’re going to do with your extra time. Or you might actually feel relieved. Whatever it is, just lean into it. Sleep more, and feed yourself really well. Just don’t go running.
After a few weeks, you’re going to notice your energy coming back, and your appetite normalizing. You might even start losing a little weight. But most importantly, running might start to sound like fun again.
Do you think you might be overtraining? How does running less sound to you?
(Disclaimer: Always check with your doctor to eliminate other potential causes for your fatigue such as Lyme Disease or an autoimmune disorder.)