Monday, 5 September 2011

I really should know better!

So that little burst of 'activity' a couple of weeks ago sort of backfired! It turns out it may have been a little bit 'too much too soon' and I've spent the last week fighting a nasty sore throat and a cold. I feel like I've taken 2 steps backwards which is hugely frustrating.

At the time I was so thrilled at feeling better, being able to get out running and cycling and if I'm honest, escape from the house for some peace, my enthusiasm got the better of me and I just pushed things a bit too much. I should know better.. but the excitement of feeling so good took advantage of my better judgement. 

I've always been prone to 'overtraining syndrome' and can get run down very easily if I do too much. I'm usually very cautious about recovery, nutrition and rest. But the rules have all changed now and I need to carefully reconsider what I'm capable of and allow more recovery time than I ever thought I'd need. What I thought was relatively gentle training, turned out to be too much for where I'm at right now. I think it was that last 40 minute run that pushed things over the edge. For a 40 minute run to be too much!!!! for goodness sake.. I really am at a very low point.

But it's no wonder though really.. my body has been through a lot and my immune system must be rock bottom. My diet was pretty limited for nearly a year and my intake of fruit and vegetables wasn't great, I've had 5 general anaesthetics and the trauma of the illness and surgeries have really taken it out of me. I don't think I'm going to bounce back as quickly as I might like!

This has taught me a valuable lesson though and once I'm recovered from this virus it's back to the drawing board.

So when I'm feeling a bit better I'm going to approach my training in a completely different way. I've followed a heart rate training method in the past which has worked a treat. Its' really hard and hugely frustrating but it works! It involves keeping my heartrate under 75% of my maximum HR all of the time.. which works out at 140 bpm. That is a tough call!! It means walking up hills and running VERY slowly. If my heartrate rises above 140bpm, I have to walk or slow down until it comes back down. But the system does work and when I've done it in the past it has helped me recover from a spell of overtraining. It will help control my enthusiasm and prevent me from pushing things too much.

I also need to make a concerted effort with my nutrition and to make sure I get enough sleep. I guess I have to remember I'm only 8 weeks out of surgery and whilst I'm much improved and feeling better, I'm still in the recovery phase and need to take it slowly and not push myself. That, as I'm sure you know by now, isn't easy!

Whilst frustrating though, this little cold didn't prevent us from getting out and about on holiday last week and we had a great time walking and biking in the Lake District. To celebrate the 7 week anniversary of my operation we climbed the Old Man of Coniston which is 800m and a really challenging walk. I had major jelly legs on the way back down. We also did some gentle mountain biking, walking, fishing and a tour of all the best cake shops and tea rooms in the Lake District! It was a lovely break and meant more because it's something I couldn't have contemplated before I had this surgery. 
Top of the Old Man of Coniston 800m

Mountain biking in Grizedale Forest
So, the summer holidays are over, the boys are back to school this week and my thoughts are turning to work, writing and coaching again. I've had a long break from proper work and my mind is buzzing with exciting ideas and opportunities. I've got a new website in the offing, a couple of coaching courses planned and plenty of ideas for articles and a new book! As always though, I have to curb my natural drive and enthusiasm and be careful I don't take on too much and push too hard too soon. As ever, the biggest challenge for me is to be patient!

I start back coaching my beginner running group tomorrow after a 2 month break, and I can't wait to see everyone and get back to normal. I just hope they're gentle with me as I'm not sure I'll be able to keep up !


  1. The HRM is a great idea. That's how I came back after 6 months off when I had my stress fracture. It made it OK to run as slowly as my body wanted me to, and the only way my brain could accept it. What if where you are now was perfect for where you need to be?