A Fine Line...

I think there is a fine line between overtraining and undertraining and between rest and recovery and "active recovery."

When I look at plans other than my Smart Coach plan, I think I am undertraining mileage-wise. When I run out of steam in mile 8 in a half-marathon, I also think I am undertraining. However, those same plans emphasize the importance of rest days, active recovery, and cross training. It's hard to figure it all out.

This is a confusing week training-wise. After my hard effort (at least for the first 7 miles!) on Saturday, I'm technically supposed to take it easy for 13 days. The school of thought is one easy day for every mile raced. But do I have 13 days to spare? I don't think so! On Sunday, I took the day off. On Monday, I ran 3 very easy miles with still sore quads. Yesterday, I chose "active recovery" over rest and biked for 10 miles.

(It's actually a funny story. I was a spin-class dropout. I finally got my courage up to try spin, but had no idea about adjusting the seat height and tension and RPMs and such. The class wasn't for beginners-- it was called "spin endurance." That should have been my first clue! The teacher taught the class pretty much drill-sergeant-style. She was yelling orders left and right--it felt like mostly at me.

"Get your head up!!"
"DON'T lean on the handle bars!!"
"STOP BOUNCING! If you can bounce, you need to add more tension!!"
"STOP leaning on the handle bars!!"
"Bend your elbows, Fool!" (OK, she didn't really say fool, but she was thinking it.)

I can see how that toughness can be motivating, though. I just don't think I was ready for it! After I got to 10 miles, I got off my bike and waddled right out of there. I felt like a chump, but these legs are meant for running, and I knew I had a mid-length run on Wednesday. I'll be trying the "beginner spin" or "spin for dummies,"--whatever it's called--next time!)

Afterwards, I did abs and arms for about 20 minutes. But now today, I'm kind of tired. My legs are a little sore from my "recovery" day. Shoulders and chest, too. And I get to go run six miles in a few minutes.

I want to build endurance, but I don't want to be tired all the time. I guess sore muscles and fatigue ARE signs I'm stretching the limits of my body, so that's a good thing, right?

Like I said, it's a fine line......

Update: Two words: DEAD LEGS. I just eeked out 5 miles with dead legs. (I had run one extra on Monday, so running one less today will still allow my mileage to work out.) The first two miles were ok, but after that it was seriously slow going. I just had a protein shake and hope to rest up the rest of today and tomorrow for my long run on Friday. 16 miles. Scary.


Amy said…
Yeah, you're right... it is a fine line, but your body learns to adjust quicker than you think it would, I've found.

Great job on the race on Saturday! The gravel did indeed suck. But at least it was a nice day (I've already put the voracious head winds out of my memory, apparently).

And yes! That was me in the blue tank and ponytail! I was hoping to be able to see you and meet you, but we had to jet immediately after I finished because of the Vandy/UT game.

Are you planning on running the Tom King, too?
Bethany said…
I'm not one to give advice on running since I'm so green to it, but just listen to your body. Run your 6 today but take it easy.

And having an instructor YELL at you is so not cool! Active Recovery is great, but it is hard when you feel like you really just need to rest. The more I ran in a week the less spin I did on my rest days. Not saying this is a good thing, but I was just tired... It is a total "Fine Line!"
Anonymous said…
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def listen to your body. I try not to get to caught up in it all. It gets confusing. I have a 16 miler this weekend too and I am hoping my quads will let me.
Run Mommy said…
I LOVE Spin classes. Next to running, I find it to be a top notch work out. I woudn't worry too much about the level of training. If you have found a program that works for you, your level and your lifestyle...trust it. It will all be worth it.
MCM Mama said…
I've found that I NEED two rest days a week. If I don't get that, my legs are dead. I've never felt undertrained for a race, even with only running 4 times a week while training for the marathon and not doing any cross training. For me at least, what matters is running decent distances when I do run...
Jennifer said…
Good luck with your long run. I hope one day to be able to say that my long run is 16 miles (instead of 7)
Anonymous said…
When I was training for the marathon, I would be wiped out too. I needed more sleep, more rest days. I also found that I needed more fuel (beans, Gatorade, etc.) by mile 5 instead of waiting until mile 6-7. Just a thought.

You're doing great - keep up the good work!