Getting back to training after mid-plan overtraining symptoms?
August 20, 2008 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Marathon training filter: How long has it taken you to recover from the symptoms of overuse and get back to your training plan?

I'm currently using Hal Higdon's Intermediate II training plan to prepare for the 2008 NYC Marathon (my 3rd). It's been a big step up in mileage for me (I'd only been running 2 or 3 days a week for previous marathons, but I'm running 5 days on this). I took it slow and increased miles no more than 10% to get to where I am now. I am an avid stretcher and practice yoga several times a week, and am very cautious about injuries. My shoes were purchased near the beginning of training and seem to be just fine. This is week 8 (half way) for me, and I've had absolutely no problems, until...

I accidentally ran 18 miles when I should have run 16 on Sunday, at the end of a week where I had to rearrange a couple of runs because of travel. Nothing strange happened, but I was totally spent during the last few miles. Afterward, I stretched and took an ice bath. Then, I took Monday off, and went out for a short how-do-I-feel jog last night... My outer-calves felt very week, and the outside back of my left knee was a little... pinchy? Not excruciating, but definitely a sign I should take it easy. It feels a little like the time several years ago where I had IT Band problems, but nowhere near as painful. On the way home from my run, I stopped by the gym and stretched out a little: rolled out my quads and IT band, rolled out my shins and calves, and stretched the front of my legs. Iced when I got home.

Has anyone had a similar problems during training for a specific race? How many days/weeks did it take you to get back on track? Did you feel like your base miles reset or diminished? What worked for you? How did you decide to get back into the training plan?

Based on all I've ever read, this is a pretty common problem (I've been fearful and cautious about it for some time), and I understand that rest, ice, and stretching are usually the remedy; what I'm looking for is actual stories from actual runners about what impact this has had on their training. Did you bounce back in time to train for the race without further incident?
posted by activitystory to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I trained for my first marathon in the spring and I reached a "dead spot" about 8 weeks into a 16 week program as well. My runs all turned to crap and I started to feel injured when I ran. I took about two weeks off - no running, no lifting, no other cardio, etc. and took it really easy when I got back into it.

I'd really suggest taking a week or two off. Personally, I picked up at about the same mileage I left off with and tried to slowly work back up to the regular training mileage over the next couple weeks. I didn't do as well in the marathon as I had hoped but I was able to get both my 18 and 21 mile training runs in at the appropriate points in my training and everything turned out OK.
posted by PFL at 11:24 AM on August 20, 2008

You're still pretty far out, so I wouldn't stress too much about it. As you probably know, you're gonna have good weeks and bad weeks. 'Course, you wanna listen to your body on this one...

If I'm feeling a little "off," I generally do some kind of cross training -- biking, rock climbing, swimming, hiking, etc... Really, swimming is my current fave, but anything you're gonna do athletically is going to benefit you, albeit maybe not as directly as running.

I don't really attempt to do any real effort conversions when I'm doing an alternate activity... I figure an hour of swimming is more or less the same as an hour of running.
posted by ph00dz at 12:14 PM on August 20, 2008

Thanks for the encouraging details... exactly what I was hoping to hear. Just a single day of near-total rest has made a considerable difference, and I'm no longer all that afraid to take several days off.
posted by activitystory at 7:10 AM on August 21, 2008

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