Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I’m starting the new week and new month with more questions than answers. Saturday I ran my alumni 5 mile race in 31:07 – that was after cutting my mileage to 34 miles for the week. For some perspective, I ran 29:50 last year. Oddly enough, according to McMillan, this time is directly in-line with the crappy 15K I ran 3 weeks ago.

After that crappy 15K I told Evan I didn’t have any other “symptoms of malaise”. Well now they’re staring me in the face and they’re pretty hard to ignore. I was looking at a book over the weekend and it was describing symptoms of over-training;

Loss of appetite: check
Poor nights’ sleep: check
Sore muscles: check
Irritable: check, check and double-check

The question now becomes; What do I do about it?

1) Shut things down now and skip TCM
2) Cutback for another week or two and try to run TCM on fresh legs
3) Forge on with my current training and see what October 7th brings

Whatever I decide, I can guarantee that TCM will not bring about a PR. You don’t head into a marathon with a general disdain at the very thought of running and end up with a great time.

With that attitude, it makes me wonder why I’d bother running TCM at all at this point. I guess part of it has to do with following through on a commitment. And some has to do with having paid 85 bucks. Then there’s me at least wanting to be part of the race day festivities.

Would running a 3:10 be as rewarding as a sub-2:57?

I highly doubt it.

Quote of the day;

“With two laps to go, I was thinking that fifth or sixth would be good, but then I thought about running in the sauna suit, and the 90-mile weeks, and the aqua jogging, and I said to myself, 'sprint.'” – Kara Goucher after placing 3rd in the World Championships 10,000m


brent said...

i'm kind of toeing the line with some of those symptoms too. i just figured it was that time of year; i really do miss fresh legs and the enthusiasm that tags along.

i read that quote in the original article /interview but re-reading it has me thinking; here is an athlete that trained for the world championships and she thought for a split second that 5th or 6th might be ok? how are we amateurs supposed to break through that malaise during a race when we having nothing but personal satisfaction awaiting at the finish line? hmm.

Don said...


My opinion for what it's worth: Your #2 choice. If you are overtraining (looks like it) then your only choice is to cut back; anything else might sideline you for some time: #1 will for sure, by definition, and #3 is likely to result in an injury.

But in addition to cutting back for two weeks:
a) Run some easy miles, for fun, for joy! Run some with friends.
b) Eat very well. Not too much, but eat super high quality foods including lots of fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
c) Run your last long run at a pace between easy & hard on Sep 15 or 16.
d) Option #1 is always available, right up to race day.

Taper the same way.

Just a suggestion. BTW, a cool NW breeze and a 50-degree day on Oct 7 might make you feel different about a PR!

Nice to see you at your alum race. Take care,


Anonymous said...

I'm with Don -- you can decide on #1 all the way up to race day and #3 is probably asking for trouble.

Tough decision all around -- unlike other distances, marathons are hard to pass on. They take so much time and effort to prepare for AND are held so infrequently (at least high-quality races that don't require a plane ticket to get to) that you can't make the decision to drop the marathon lightly.

Good luck with all of that.

Jim from Minnesota said...

Chad: Tough choices we runner have. I say rest until you feel better. Rest defined as easy running with no strenuous workouts. We all hope that as the weather cools, we will feel a bit better and less stressed due to too much heat. Rest too much and you may lose your "edge;" don't rest enough and you may feel too tired before TCM. There is a balance there that you should be able to find.

I am making a run at TCM myself. I had a great summer and tweaked my left hip-area muscles 2 weeks ago--rather than rest, I ran 80 miles the next week and the hip did not heal. So I rested a few days and things got better so I ran the Victory 10K and the hip tweaked again. I woke up this morning with a swollen and black-and-blue hip. I went to the doctor who asked, "Why didn't you stop running when it became sore?"

Evan Roberts said...

Sorry to hear the race went poorly.

Just wondering if you should check your iron levels etc. You took what should have been a decent recovery from Grandma's, and your mileage has been slightly lower since then, even if the intensity has been a little higher (I think you said you're doing more workouts per week).

So I wouldn't leap straight to the conclusion of overtraining.

I think Don's right that easy, aerobic runs followed by a sort-of evaluation run in 10 days keeps your options open if you start to feel better.

Kurt said...

Man I would tell you to look into that Optigen. Adam should be able to get it from q-active. I have felt better with it.

Anonymous said...

You are exactly in the same place I was in July. I ran 6:30 for a half marathon, the the same pace for a 10K. I backed off and just ran until I felt better, about 2-3 weeks. Slept better, ate better, took iron etc. I have had 5 good training weeks, but still decided againest TCM. Doing the 10 instead. I am in the same frame of mind, that I don't want 3:10+++.
It's a bummer. I figure there will always be another marathon!
For whatever it's worth!
Karen S in Eau Claire

Anonymous said...

I vote for the first option. And while you're at it, please skip this week's City of Lakes 25k and Rocky's 5k. And I want you to understand that I say this because I am genuinely concerned for your mental and physical welfare and that it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I am now just a mere 143 points behind you in the MDRA Grand Prix standings. So if you could just adjust that "general disdain" to "total disdain" through the end of this race season, I think the rest would really be of great benefit to you. :)

Tucson HS Cross Country said...

+1 on Don's advice, and +1 for Evan.

I've tried the "a little more of everything" approach after a good marathon and was rewarded with a time a bit over 3 minutes slower than my best.

Good luck on your recovery and getting your mojo back.

Peter said...

Chad - sorry to hear about your running malaise. I was looking forward to running 6:40 pace and hoping I'd be going stride for stride with you.

I'd have to second most everyone on here and tell you to hold off bagging the race just yet, and run some easy miles and see if you can shake the blahs. I know I worked harder this summer than I ever have, and have doubts about my goals about 1-2 times per week. Of course, I haven't run a marathon in 23 months, so it's a bit different for me.

In any event, I'm looking forward to connecting with you sometime during the trip. Good luck in whatever you decide.


Anonymous said...

Press on. Race this thing. Of course your not going to have eye popping times now. You can see the port up ahead. Don't tell us how rough the waters are, just bring the ship in.

Line up and give it your best that day. Whatever you run will be worth it and I venture you will learn something from the experience for the next time around. Race it, take a couple easy relaxing weeks and hit the street. Things are so cyclical for us mere mortals. Hey, your in the valley a bit. Do what you feel is best. Appeal to the coach inside you and figure it out. Your in shape, just round of the corners and let fly. Your not as far off as you may think.

Race day has a way of unlocking those concerns your carrying. Wake up tomorrow and say, "I'm Chad Freaking Austin."