“Ask yourself ‘can I give more?’ The answer is usually ‘Yes’”
Usually, but not always. Today is the last day of February, and the pull-up bar is still winning. However, it was NOT because I didn’t give it my all. I did. I gave my all this whole month, and not just in pull-up training. I did a month of Insanity, ran a brutal half marathon, started self-defense training, learned how to properly throw a punch, and hit the climbing gym hard. Am I guilty of overtraining? Possibly… But getting an endurance junkie/fitness fanatic to admit to overdoing it is like getting an alcoholic to admit he/she has a problem.
In endurance training, we frequently won’t rest until our bodies force us too. Why? Because we cling to a delusion that our super human power of mind-over-matter can conquer anything. We train through pain, fatigue, emotional breakdowns, and injuries until the only thing keeping us going is pure will power. When our bodies can’t push any longer and our muscles are shaking and numb, we conquer with our hearts. There is no “can’t”. There is no “too much”. There is no “take a break”. There is only indomitable will. Good luck trying to reason “overtraining” with that! Especially when most of the time we get away with it. We work out 2 or 3 times a day and we aren’t tired. In fact, we feel great- accomplished even.
After all, just because a person works out more than you might be able to right now, that doesn’t necessarily make it unhealthy. While it may be true that sometimes I push a little too hard and my body makes me pay, it is also true that most of the time I feel great. I also get sick significantly less frequently than my friends and coworkers, and when I do it usually for a shorter length of time. However when I do get sick everyone is so quick to point to overtraining as the culprit, as if that is the only reason an athlete ever gets sick. (Of course, when you’re sick I don’t point my finger at you and say “see that’s because you DON”T work out. I told you being sedentary wasn’t good for you!”)
When I do have issues, it’s not generally because I’m doing more than usual. Instead, it’s me trying to do my typical amount when I’m sick or sleep deprived. Getting three good workouts in on a day off does not usually send me into a tail-spin. However add in a stomach bug and some serious dehydration the day before, and yeah it probably wasn’t the greatest idea. Lesson learned. No it doesn’t mean I need to work out less. It means I need to train smarter.
While I may be pretty frustrated with not being able to push hard at the moment, I am trying not to let it detract from what I have accomplished in the past month. Not making the pull-up deadline has made me feel like I haven’t been improving at times, however then I do something simple like try to put on my skinny jeans and realize that I can’t pull them over my calves or quads! I tried on a size 2 pair of jeans in the store and they were baggy. Walking past the mirror I realized I now have definition in both my calf muscles, as in the are two distinct muscle groups (something I hadn’t even achieved running in vibrams). I am stronger and I can feel it. I am jumping higher, my endurance is better, and my body is changing. It’s an ongoing process, and as long as I continue to put the work in I know I’ll continue to have results.
- Colchester Half Recap (runningthriver.wordpress.com)
- Remember the Time… (runningthriver.wordpress.com)
- Marathon Training Update (kitchenmisfit.com)
- The poetry of running (suebabyblogs.wordpress.com)
- Training like a triathlete (fitness-health-nutrition.com)
- Don’t Try to Lose Weight (herfitnesshut.com)
- Half Marathon Training – Week 6 (inhabitthebeauty.wordpress.com)