Top 5 Signs of Runner Burnout

Twitter is a funny world. I guess I should say, “world”. Complete strangers (mostly) share their lives, workouts, interests, secrets, fears, and triumphs on the Internet in 140 characters or less.

People follow each other's every virtual move. AKA stalk.

13,699 tweets? What the hell do I have to say that’s so important?

You can link your Facebook, blog, FourSquare, Vine, Run Keeper, Nike+ running, Daily Mile, MapMyRun, My Fitness Pal, and oodles of other apps to your Twitter feed. People can track your every move if you let them.

I actually like Twitter. The people I follow aren’t serial users or obsessive (at least, I don’t think they are) and I genuinely enjoy their quips and updates. As we approach Boston Marathon weekend, I’m seeing a trend in runners that I’ve noticed before, but not quite as much as right now.

Running when one clearly hates running right now.

What happens when it becomes YOUR punishment, too?

What happens when it becomes YOUR punishment, too?

More than one runner who is headed to Boston this week has confessed that their head and heart just aren’t in it. They’re all seasoned-ish runners who have surely defined themselves as RUNNERS, but they clearly no longer enjoy running.

What do you do when you just don’t feel like running anymore?

Even Snoopy feels like this sometimes.

I would say this person is experiencing complete and total burnout.

Top 5 signs of burnout:

  1. Running feels like a chore
  2. Every run feels hard & there’s rarely a “runner’s high”
  3. You come up with any excuse to drop out of races/workouts
  4. Races give you anxiety (more than usual, that is)
  5. Your heart isn’t in it anymore…and you know it
...at least, it should be. (Image courtesy of Runner's World & your inner child)

…at least, it should be.
(Image courtesy of Runner’s World & your inner child)

I want to say this to all the runners out there:

IT’S OK TO TAKE A STEP BACK FROM RUNNING.

Did you hear me? IT’S OK. It doesn’t take anything away from you or change anything you’ve done. If you aren’t feeling it, don’t force it. Forcing it will only make you resent it more.

Take a step back. Do something else. Try something new.

Don't be afraid you might like something else better.

Don’t be afraid you might like something else better.

You are not defined by only being a “runner”. You are so much more and can be anything you want to be, just don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to walk away from it until you miss it. Don’t be afraid that you might find something you like better.

You can always come back to it.

If you don’t love it, don’t do it. Life is too short to waste your time and energy doing something you hate.

Just a thought.

Now go out and run (or not).

PS. Pictures from the Kick Ass 5K must be received by me via email (runstrongereveryday@gmail.com) by midnight tonight to count toward the raffle. Get ’em in–I am loving all the ones I have so far!

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Effects of De-Training

THE VIRTUAL 5K IS TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't forget to wear your bib!

Don’t forget to wear your bib!

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then click here first to find out how to sign up and click here second to learn about the INCREDIBLE prizes you could win.

(psssssst: a trip for 10 to Acapulco is one of them!)

This is your LAST CHANCE to get the $15 entry plus the $10 additional entry. After tomorrow, raffle tickets go to $20/each! There’ll be other items to purchase along the way, like…

Shirts! Shirts! Shirts are on the way!
Shirts! Shirts! Shirts are on the way!

Everyone loves a shirt that says, “Kick Ass” on it, right? Right. This will be my first foray into selling-of-shirts land. I’m a little scared…

…anyway, onto the actual blog for today.

Because more people than ever are participating in endurance sports, more people than ever are getting sidelined by injury. This is just the natural progression of things, but what does it mean for your training? How long can you be out before your really start to “lose” it?

Being out sucks. Trust me, I know. Hospital gowns are not nearly as comfy as running clothes. They're kinda scratchy.

Being out sucks. Trust me, I know. Hospital gowns are not nearly as comfy as running clothes. They’re kinda scratchy.

Here’s the science:

  • 7 highly trained runners or cyclists who trained for 10-12 months, at least 5 days/week for 60 minutes daily at 70-80% of VO2 max were studied. 57 sedentary individuals served as the control group.
  • Except for exercise during testing scenarios, walking was limited to < 500m daily at a slow pace and all other physical activity was limited.
  • After 12 days VO2 max (anaerobic capacity) decreased by 7%, by day 84 VO2 max was down by 16%.
  • Max heart rate increased by 5% (aerobic-means your heart works harder to do the same activity) and then leveled out by day 84.
  • Cardiac output and stroke volume declined immediately and had decreased by at least 5% by day 12.

Reference

Coyle EF, et al. Time course of loss of adaptations after stopping prolonged intense enduracne training. J Appl Physiol 1984;57:1857.

What does this mean?

There is an immediate decrease in your conditioning after 12 days off from training, approximately 5% or more in your heart’s ability to efficiently pump blood. 5% isn’t terrible and won’t kill you, but you’ll feel it.

And you’ll really feel it after 84 days at 16% when you can’t get going.

Your anaerobic goes first, followed by your aerobic which absolutely TANKS after 3 weeks. I mean TANKS.

photo (7)

Image property of: Coyle EF, et al. Time course of loss of adaptations after stopping prolonged intense enduracne training. J Appl Physiol 1984;57:1857.

Conclusion: 12 days is where the most marked changes happen, but it’s a steady decline after that into the depths of de-training.

This effect will be amplified by sickness, anesthesia, damage to the body systems (pulmonary, cardiovascular, etc.), disease, and lack of training to begin with. So, if you’re sick or have some kind of immunological disease, these effects would be more dramatic and over a shorter period of time.

Getting out of the hospital is a big step. No one runs out of the hospital and does 16 miles. No one.

Getting out of the hospital is a big step. No one runs out of the hospital and does 16 miles. No one.

I hope this helps some of you when you’re curious about the how long it takes a well-trained athlete to de-train and by how much.

Don’t stress over it, though. Your body needs whatever time it needs to heal and that’s the most important aspect of training: healing.

Now go out and run!

Friday Fitness News: Rock Stars

That would be YOU. You are a rock star. I cannot believe the outpouring of support and generosity from so many people over this past week. It’s truly overwhelming.

If you have not yet registered for the Kick Ass Virtual 5K, benefitting the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, DO IT NOW! Click here for instructions. If you just want to donate, go directly to my fundraising page.

Raffle prizes are still rolling in, including these fabulous businesses (and more to come!).

My favorite way to spend money.s

My favorite way to spend money.s

Seriously, get in on this raffle!

Soooo…what else is going on in the fitness world this week?

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(Image courtesy of Runner's World)

(Image courtesy of Runner’s World)

That’s all I got. Did I miss anything?

Have a great weekend, everybody! And don’t forget to sign up for the Virtual 5K (run, bike, swim, skip, elliptical, row) on Tuesday. 

Now go out and run.

Kick Ass

There are about 486 things in the works in my world these days and blogging has been on the back burner as far as my work output but at the absolute forefront of my mind daily. I have dozens of blogging topics running around my brain but this one is closest to my heart.

So close to my heart, in fact, that I’m scared to write it. I’m kind of afraid to fail and this is a big undertaking for me.

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that I have Ulcerative Colitis. I mean, technically I guess I don’t have it anymore cuz I don’t have a colon. That’s right. I’m colon-free and kicking ass!

No colon, no cry. No co-lon, no cryyyyyy.

No colon, no cry. No co-lon, no cryyyyyy.

In the Spring of 2010 I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (sexy!) that, along with Crohn’s Disease, develops as a result of a overreaction of the immune system. Basically, people with IBD have malfunctioning immune systems that attack the entire digestive system. It’s causes are unknown but it is likely hereditary and absolutely unpreventable and incurable (except for surgery for UC patients).

I don’t want to make this a graphic description about what happens to those of us who have IBD, but you gotta know it’s Hell on Earth.

Vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding ulcers, anemia, joint pain, severe abdominal pain, cramps, weight loss, loss of bowel control, fever, constipation, severe exhaustion, night sweats, and so many more specific to the individual patient. Hell. On. Earth.

Colonoscopies, steroids, chemotherapy, anti-immunity drugs, craaaazy diets, nutritional IVs, and everything in between.

Colonoscopies, steroids, chemotherapy, anti-immunity drugs, craaaazy diets, nutritional IVs, and everything in between. Told you. Hell.

There’s a reason that one of my favorite support groups is called My Doctor Knows Me Best From Behind. It’s a disease that people all over the country and world live with silently. Well, not me. I’ve been open about my disease, my colostomy bag, my stoma named Rosebud, and my fight.

I’ve shared with you my journey to surgery in 2012, then {unexpectedly} the second surgery, and finally clawing my way back after surgery. It’s not always been pretty but one thing I have vowed to never be is silent. Not that I’m ever silent about, well, anything…but I digress.

Colostomy bag or no colostomy bag, I'm proud to sport my tummy on the Internet!

Colostomy bag or no colostomy bag, I’m proud to sport my tummy on the Internet!

On June 8, 2013, I will be running 13.1 miles in my beautiful hometown of Sweet Home Chicago as a member of Team Challenge. We are the runners and walkers who raise money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America in the hopes that in ten years there will be a cure for IBD.

Team Challenge NYC (shamelessly stolen from Daphnie's FB page).

Team Challenge NYC (shamelessly stolen from Daphnie’s FB page).

I know people ask for donations for all sorts of diseases every day. But I also know that many of you asked me how you could help when I was diagnosed, in the hospital, and recovering. Well, here’s your chance!

I’m hosting the Kick Ass (or Kick Butt) Virtual 5K to benefit Team Challenge on Tuesday, April 9th, 2013. Why April 9th? That was the date last year when I scheduled the surgery that would remove my colon. It was a very big and scary day for me but it was also the day I took steps to get my health and my life back.

  • Date: April 9, 2013
  • Time: Any time of day your heart desires.
  • Location: Central Park, East River track, the treadmill at your gym, the bike in your basement, your neighborhood sidewalk, and anywhere else you can find.
  • Activity: Run, walk, bike, swim, or jump a 5K (3.1 miles)–your choice!
  • Cost: $15 donation to my team donation page.
  • Bonuses: $15 gets you one entry into the AWESOME raffle I’m putting together. Every $10 after that gets you another entry into the raffle. $50 gets you 5 entries.
  • Prizes: Still coming together, but I predict fancy workout clothes, great shoes, fun fitness accessories, and some more cool stuff. I’m working on it and it’s gonna be GREAT.

How you register:

  1. Donate to my page ($15 minimum).
  2. Email me (runstrongereveryday@gmail.com) that you did and how much so I can enter you into the raffle.
  3. Extra entry for blogging or tweeting about it (make sure you tag me or let me know!).
  4. Sport the race bib I email you and run/bike/swim/wheelbarrow a 5K on April 9th.
  5. Send me a picture of you sporting your bib, biking in the gym, running on your treadmill, or any other photo so I can include it in the blog recap of the race.

Time doesn’t matter, I don’t care if you do it one mile (or half-mile) at a time, and everyone is on the honor system. If you get sick, do it another day. No worries! My goal is 50 runners. I know, I know. Shooting for the moon. But I have a big family, $15 is roughly 3 latees a week, and you can literally walk your dog for 3.1 miles.

You can Kick Ass or Kick Butt, your choice. But together, we will find a cure for IBD!

You can Kick Ass or Kick Butt, your choice. But together, we will find a cure for IBD!

Please consider supporting me. This disease took my colon but I swore on April 9, 2012 that it wouldn’t take my life. And it didn’t. And it won’t. Yeah, my J-pouch is still kinda wonky but I will never look back on my choice with regret, rather I choose to stare this disease in the face and say, “I’m colon-free and kicking ass!!!”

Kick Ass (or Butt, if you prefer) with me, won’t you?

Now go out and run!

PS. If you or your organization would like to donate something for the raffle, please email me: runstrongereveryday@gmail.com