After last Saturday’s 20-mile run, I crashed really hard. I was exhausted for days following that run. I felt pretty apathetic towards diet and exercise in general and just wanted to sleep all week. I was even fairly depressed. I got on my treadmill Tuesday for a 5-mile jog, but my shins got extremely tight and began throbbing less than half a mile into it. I jogged and walked for a while, determined to get some type of mileage accomplished, but I finally gave up and hit the couch. The same thing happened again Wednesday. I was completely bummed out. It felt like my mind and my body were just powering down.
After doing some research and talking to my sister, I stumbled upon this article titled “Endocrine System Depletion,” by Succeed! Sports Nutrition. That article really put things into perspective for me as far as what I was going through. I realized I recently had been experiencing other symptoms that could be attributed to endocrine depletion as well. This is a nasty bag of worms right here. I can be pretty tough when it comes to physical grit, but when we’re talking about hormones and chemical imbalances, that’s a hard battle to fight.
So now I have a new strategy in need of development. So, where do I even start? I was already forced to drop my weekly mileage way back this week. Maybe I should try to decrease my weekly mileage down to 30-40 miles for 2-3 weeks while maintaining a weekly 20 miler and slowly work back up from there. It might even be helpful to incorporate a recovery day before and after my longest run. Another thing I realized is that I’m often running my long runs really hard. I can really tell the difference in fatigue and mental status whether I’ve run it hard and fast or not. It takes me a couple days to really recover if I’ve given it 110%. If I take it easy, regardless of how far I ran, I can feel ready to get on my feet the next day. I probably just need to slow down, enjoy the run, and focus on the real purpose of the long run – adaptation. We will see how I feel after my long run today.
I still have this plaguing compartment syndrome, possibly more aggravating than ever, to work with. Obviously, cutting miles and resting a whole lot is going to be the protocol for treatment, but that’s just an avenue I’m not willing to take just yet. It’s going to have to get me completely down and out before I’m willing to cut back as much as would be necessary to resolve it, I think. I do realize this injury could be a major issue for the November Pensacola Marathon, and I’m going to have to do something about my legs before it gets close to that time, but I just prefer to keep putting it off as long as possible.
All of these issues almost seem like a red flag, honestly, in which I’m setting myself up for an inevitably huge crash and burn any day now. I feel like I’m tiptoeing around the edge of physical limits! Bring it on! What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger… I hope!