If you follow me on IG, you know I trained for and ran the Coastal Delaware Marathon on 4/14. Training started Jan 1 and it went well…until it didn’t. I was preparing for a 3:30-3:35 time and crossed the finish line at 4:31 – my slowest road marathon ever. It didn’t take much time for me to realize what had gone horribly wrong.
With reasons that I’m not willing to share, my life leading up to CoDel was very stressful. There were a couple things going on in my life that weren’t helping my mentality and emotions, and that were causing me major stress and honestly weren’t bringing me joy. I was aware of how stressed I felt but didn’t think it was impacting my training because all of January, February, and the first 2 weeks of March, my training was going really well! I didn’t really bomb any workouts, didn’t miss any runs, was running my easy & recovery paces right, so I had no reason to think otherwise.
Mid-March I had two consecutive workouts that I just bombed. Like completely bombed. “That’s ok”, I thought, “These disastrous runs happen and it’s all part of the process…onward!” Well, my body just never felt right after those two workouts. My legs felt weird and I honestly can’t think of a better way to explain it! It was a feeling that I’ve never experienced before. I had constant tightness in my chest and realized the bags under my eyes were darker and bigger than ever. I would look in the mirror while getting ready for work and think, “Wow, I look like I got run over by a truck”. I even asked Kyle what he thought of them and he agreed, saying they were huge. (He’s not one to sugarcoat things, ha!)
Going into CoDel, I was confident in the work I had put in but again, didn’t connect the dots about how my life outside of running was directly impacting my training. Cue slowest road marathon to date and finally the pieces fell into place.
“I think I’m just really exhausted” were the first words out of my mouth after crossing the finish line. I knew right then and there I needed a break from something, and running was the thing I had to forgo to give myself a little more down time each day. My coach also pointed out that because I was so exhausted in all aspects of life, my risk for injury was much higher than usual. So, for a solid 4-5 weeks I lay down during my normal running time. I sat in the comfy chair in our living room, put my feet up on the ottoman, got under a blanket, and didn’t move. No exaggeration. I found that I couldn’t even do things around the apartment during this time, like laundry, cleaning, or organizing because I just was so drained.
Over the course of these 4-5 weeks, I noticed that the tightness in my chest slowly started to subside, so I decided to start going for short walks on the weekend. I started with 1.5 mile walks, then 3 mile walks, and then by the end of May, I turned on my Garmin and ran 3 miles. I ran a few more times in late May plus a 5-miler in downtown Boston, and then decided to completely rest again until I was out for summer vacation in mid-June. I flew to Leadville for the trail marathon, gave myself 9 more days off after that, and have been slowly easing back into speed workouts and more consistent running since late June!
I feel so much better now but I know that I still need to continue catching up on sleep even though I’ve been on summer break for a few weeks. I realize even 7-7:30 hours each night isn’t enough for me.
I’m here to tell you – do not make your decisions based off of what other people on social media are doing. If you honestly feel like you need a break from running, whether that’s two weeks or almost two full months like me, do it!! Put yourself first. There is absolutely no reason to push through something that could potentially injure you when your body is obviously saying, “No!!”.
I never really get caught up in the “comparison trap” that people talk about on social media, so I didn’t find the almost 2 months of rest hard at all. I am so thankful I took the time to rest, knowing it will benefit my running this fall, and I actually found that they passed pretty quickly! Put yourself first always; you only have one body and jeopardizing your health is dumb!
Even though I’m feeling better than I was, I’m choosing to not run a marathon this fall, but instead train for a half with some shorter races thrown in there. I’m looking forward to about 6.5 more weeks of summer vacation full of running, coaching, traveling, reading, and SLEEPING!!! 🙂
What was the longest break you ever took from running?