A couple of years ago, in preparation for Melbourne, I sought out a running coach, I was over-trained and I ended up losing some love for running. Over-training is so easy to do, especially for women runners. I was running 5-6 times a week, which isn’t unusual for me, but to accommodate it I had to give up cross-training and although I had a great result in Melbourne, towards the end I dreaded training runs.
Funnily enough, after writing a post yesterday about comparison (even to myself), this morning in my timehop was this photo.
That was just at the beginning of Gold Coast Marathon training (even though I didn’t end up running because I got injured). And a whole heap faster than I am now. And there are lots of reasons for that. But the main one is probably that (unfortunately) you can’t really stay at peak fitness for very long, eventually you have to rebuild. But it’s also not overly important. It was one point in time, and this is another point in time. And I’m still recovering from that over-training. Physically I’m fine, although I still have a few niggles from my injury so I keep tabs on that pretty closely. But I think the worst part about over-training isn’t the physical toll, it’s the mental one.
When you do too much, any type of run becomes tedious. You lose your love for it. You dread the long stretches of time on long runs and you dread the demands of speed on your short ones. And then one day you remember that you are supposed to be doing this for fun. And it’s a great reminder that finding a running coach that suits you is a bit like finding a partner – you have to try things on and see how they fit and be willing to adjust when they don’t.
Holding that joy close to your chest in times of recovery or boredom or tediousness or difficulty is so vitally important. Because you can’t measure joy in distance travelled or pace or any other number. So I hold on to that joy, even when it’s hard to remember.