My Body, It’s a Changing

“Ask yourself ‘can I give more?’ The answer is usually ‘Yes'” 
-Paul Tergat 

Usually, but not always.  Today is the last day of February, and the pull-up bar is still winning.  However, it was NOT because I didn’t give it my all.  I did.  I gave my all this whole month, and not just in pull-up training.  I did a month of Insanity, ran a brutal half marathon, started self-defense training, learned how to properly throw a punch, and hit the climbing gym hard.  Am I guilty of overtraining? Possibly… But getting an endurance junkie/fitness fanatic to admit to overdoing it is like getting an alcoholic to admit he/she has a problem.

In endurance training, we frequently won’t rest until our bodies force us too. Why? Because we cling to a delusion that our super human power of mind-over-matter can conquer anything.  We train through pain, fatigue, emotional breakdowns, and injuries until the only thing keeping us going is pure will power.  When our bodies can’t push any longer and our muscles are shaking and numb, we conquer with our hearts.  There is no “can’t”.  There is no “too much”.  There is no “take a break”.  There is only indomitable will.  Good luck trying to reason “overtraining” with that!  Especially when most of the time we get away with it.  We work out 2 or 3 times a day and we aren’t tired.  In fact, we feel great– accomplished even.

After all, just because a person works out more than you might be able to right now, that doesn’t necessarily make it unhealthy.  While it may be true that sometimes I push a little too hard and my body makes me pay, it is also true that most of the time I feel great.  I also get sick significantly less frequently than my friends and coworkers, and when I do it usually for a shorter length of time.  However when I do get sick everyone is so quick to point to overtraining as the culprit, as if that is the only reason an athlete ever gets sick.  (Of course, when you’re sick I don’t point my finger at you and say “see that’s because you DON”T work out.  I told you being sedentary wasn’t good for you!”)

Yup, that's how I roll. No I'm not going to change.

When I do have issues, it’s not generally because I’m doing more than usual.  Instead, it’s me trying to do my typical amount when I’m sick or sleep deprived.  Getting three good workouts in on a day off does not usually send me into a tail-spin.  However add in a stomach bug and some serious dehydration the day before, and yeah it probably wasn’t the greatest idea.  Lesson learned.  No it doesn’t mean I need to work out less.  It means I need to train smarter.

While I may be pretty frustrated with not being able to push hard at the moment, I am trying not to let it detract from what I have accomplished in the past month.  Not making the pull-up deadline has made me feel like I haven’t been improving at times, however then I do something simple like try to put on my skinny jeans and realize that I can’t pull them over my calves or quads!  I tried on a size 2 pair of jeans in the store and they were baggy.  Walking past the mirror I realized I now have definition in both my calf muscles, as in the are two distinct muscle groups (something I hadn’t even achieved running in vibrams). I am stronger and I can feel it.  I am jumping higher, my endurance is better, and my body is changing.  It’s an ongoing process, and as long as I continue to put the work in I know I’ll continue to have results.

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6 comments

  1. I love this because that is me too! I’m coaching a running group this year and helping people train for their next race whether that be a 5k, 10k, half, or full. Sometimes I have to remind myself that not everyone is in the same mindset as me and you, not everyone can do what we do and keep going. Not everyone has the endurance we have built! Hope you get better soon! You rock!

  2. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  3. …I am stronger and I can feel it. I am jumping higher, my endurance is better, and my body is changing. It’s an ongoing process, and as long as I continue to put the work in I know I’ll continue to have results…runningthriver

    Nothing more for me to say really, except soon, that bar will be yours!

    Kid, you’re doing more than just fine, YOU ARE KICKIN’ BUTT! One of these days we’ll both probably run so far we’ll meet each other in the middle of nowhere!

    Doug

    P.S. – I haven’t had a flu, cold or the sniffles in 11 years…knocking on my head.

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