It’s 9am on Saturday morning …

“Shouldn’t you be at parkrun?” I hear you ask. 

Well, yes. Today should be my 100th parkrun in fact, but recently I’m learning that running needs to fit into life, and not the other way around …

Last month, I realised I had run 141 miles (an average month for me is around 100) and I know I’m marathon training, but with all the additional coaching miles I clock up with 3 sometimes 4 running groups each week, the miles soon accumulate. The majority of these are easy paced runs for me, but still a big increase in mileage. 

We know the more miles you run, the better you get at running, and this is apparent in my improved fitness and my pace (I’ve set 2 new PBs over the past 5 weeks) but it’s also important not to overtrain and to ensure you give your body adequate recovery. Some weeks I’m running 6 days without a break; often twice a day to fit my own training in as well as my running groups. 

I’m a busy mum, and I have to fit training in on the 3 days when my daughter is at preschool, and when my husband is at home to look after her. These 3 days are also the days when I work as a running coach and lead groups every day. Over the past fortnight, my husband hasn’t been around due to work, so I’ve been driving 140 miles to my parents for the weekend so that I can get some time to run, then home again.

I think I’ve overdone it a bit lately. On Wednesday I went to the doctors because I was feeling rubbish – cranky, emotional, run down. He said he thought I had flu and sent me home to rest. I suspect instead of flu, I’ve probably trained a little too hard lately and not taken into account what else is happening in real life. 

When I think about it, the signs of overreaching were there a fortnight ago: heartrate unusually high during supposedly ‘easy’ runs; irritability (that I put down to hormones); waking in the middle of the night unable to get back to sleep. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But I’ll k ow what to look out for next time and heed the warnings. So I’ve taken a few days off from running completely. And today, family came first. The weather is horrible (a swirling whirling snowstorm) and we didn’t feel like it was fair that we put our 3 year old daughter in her buggy while we did parkrun just so that I could complete my 100th. It’s only a run. 

So that can wait until next week if it’s warm enough. 

Training successfully is about finding balance between your training and your life, and not burning out. If life hands you a busy or stressful week, don’t push the training too. It’s a hard lesson to learn sometimes, but a crucial one. 

Today, instead of parkrun, I’m going to try a very gentle run back with some friends. How far I go will depend on how I feel, but I will be paying close attention to my body and how I feel. 

Wishing you all a healthy and happy weekend. 

Featured photo by kind permission of Ben Lumley.