Take last night. At about 8:30, after a lovely steak (iron-rich!) supper I was at my computer when in pinged an email from Drusy who hosts the RRT. "Petra, tonight's Runners Round Table is all women and its on Overtraining. (..) I've been reading up to prepare.....and then I read your blog. You've got ALL the signs. and your doc has give the best advice! Log in to the chatroom if you're around at 9pm on Wed. Hang in there! Toni". I read it and thought "Oh Toni - I'm not overtrained. I'm just anemic!". But anyway, I did log into the chatroom. She had some great guests on the show - I was really impressed with Amelia's knowledge and advice and Tory's experience and cautious approach. As they started listing the symptoms of overtraining - tiredness, dreading runs, not sleeping well - I realised that besides my anemia I had all of these symptoms. Ah. Maybe Toni was right. I haven't been sleeping at all well, dreading runs (hell yeah!). There is no doubt that anemia hasn't helped but I think I have pushed and pushed and pushed my training to the point where it has become a much bigger problem. It was very interesting in the chatroom last night to read that really experienced runners like Matt from the Dumprunners Club are very tuned into signs of overtraining and tone things down accordingly during their training cycles - something to learn from. Amelia pointed out that running and training while anemic was like running with only one lung - I was not running well and just hurting myself, making myself worse. She said that taking a couple of weeks off, improving my iron stores and giving my body a chance to catch up would mean I could come back much stronger. Given that she seems to know what she's talking about, I'm going to take her word for it. As of today,
- I'm going to take a month off running longer. I will do about 5M twice a week - if I feel like it.
- I'm going to cross train by cycling and doing yoga.
- I am contemplating joining our local gym so I can swim. Pros - lovely pool, steam room and sauna. Cons - kinda pricey and will I use it enough?
- I am also going to focus on my diet - I am focusing on improving my iron intake and "cleaning up" my diet. Improving my iron intake is kind of complicated - you have to combine certain foods to improve the iron you can absorb. And keep away from other combos. Like caffeine with my boiled egg breakfast. Hmm. There are ups though - including oysters! Yes!
All in all I'm feeling positive. Thank you ALL of you for such lovely wonderful kind and generous comments. I am looking forward to this period of trying some new things and some new attitudes. Stay tuned!