Athletes, Burnout and Routine Shake ups

20130711-091537.jpgBefore I started marathon training, I had been taking a number of rest days. Part of me knows that was completely reasonable to do. Especially since I had run a half marathon and a 10 mile race within six days of each other. During the weeks of the taper leading up to my half, I started to get sick. That would explain my half not being the absolute best and why I ended up missing my time goal.

Anyway, Shortly after the 10 mile race, I ended up taking consecutive days off from working out. And I realized I was starting to get burned out from working out. Yes, I took days off, but then to get back at it seemed like such a chore. I tried to run a couple of times and each time, all I could muster was a mile. It felt so pathetic. Pathetic because I was the person who had gone over 450+ days straight of doing something, whether it was easy yoga or an intense weight class to leisurely runs. I talked about this revelation with my trainer and she said, well part of it is because I am now an athlete. Athletes have to and do take breaks. To prevent injuries and so as not to start hating what they do. She may say I’m an athlete, but I don’t think of myself that way. It took years before I could finally call myself a runner and not feel like a fraud when I said it. Now, it is easy to think of myself as a runner. I have goals related to getting better at running and I’m well on my way to achieving them.

An athlete? No way. When I think of athletes, I think of people who are either doing their sport as their job or very close to being on their way to making a career of it. Furthermore, while I am quite active, at times I still feel like I could do more.

In any event, I decided that before I get back to training, I should probably branch out and try new things before the impending burnout became a thing I was unable to overcome. So I took a boxing class. It wasn’t bad except my sparring partner was absolutely terrible at holding the targets so I could punch. A few times I came pretty close to punching her, but I guess that is what happens when you don’t hold the targets up. It was a great workout to get sore in places I had never been sore before.

I also took a TRX class. I’ve used TRX before in my training sessions, but the class was interesting. It alternated between cardio intervals and using the TRX for stuff. I wanted to try a few more different classes, such as possibly getting into a dance class (classes I generally avoid because dancing for a workout is not my thing) but I still need to “rest” and get back to finding the love of working out. I had a chance to go back and do some of the classes I had missed out on due to my training plan. Another bonus of my routine shake up was finding out I am in way better shape than I thought I was. The cardio intervals in boxing and TRX were easy. A revelation I never thought I would get to with those types of workouts.

And now that I have begun training again, I quickly got back into my groove and am loving working out again. The “this is great” moment came in the second week of training. There, I did my second run of the week as an interval workout of 5×800 repeats. And I really enjoyed it. Apparently, all I needed to get back into running was an interval workout.

This past week, I did my least favorite workout – 8×800 repeats and that was really enjoyable. Maybe it was because it was a distance I was expecting to run and I had absolutely no dread. The feeling of no dread for a workout was so great to have. Especially because 800s had scared me when I did them for my half training. This time, I am loving them. And this week’s 800 repeats were definitely hard. So hard that I was drenched in so much sweat (thanks summer humidity) that if I cared about how much of a hot mess I looked, I would seriously be embarrassed due to the amount of sweat and the peed-in pants look. To give you an idea of how bad it was, I was wearing black pants that day. Oh well.

I am in week five of training with a half marathon and a 10k coming up next week. I’m expecting to have great times in those races too since my passion for running is back despite not feeling like an athlete and the great humbling experience of humidity. Maybe one day I will believe and say I am an athlete, but for now, I am just going to keep striving for my goals that for now will remain a mystery to the world.

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