When to call it quits?

I ended the Runner’s world running streak this week.  I’m not injured, but I felt my body accumulating a fatigue that I did not want to tolerate for another few weeks, so I decided to take a complete rest day to give me legs a chance to recover.  I made it over two weeks, which is a first for me-  I’m impressed with those of you who are still going!

Whew, it’s hot out there!

I was back at it yesterday, with an early morning soaking wet run- (you don’t have to work hard in the hot, humid Texas summers to come back with clothes you can literally wring out.)

I really wanted to complete the challenge, but my body said stop. So I did.  I don’t want to over-do it. Have you heard of over-training syndrome? It’s a real concern, and it can take more than a day or two to recover from.

Some over-training warning signs from your body…

  • Feeling exhausted, even after getting enough sleep
  • Heavy legs before, during and after runs
  • Emotional highs and lows
  • Appetite changes
  • Lack of motivation for usual workouts
  • Easy workouts consistently feel harder than usual

By paying attention to your bodies signals and backing off early, you can avoid injury and physical or mental burnout.

Have you ever experienced signs of over-training?

Any running plans for the weekend? I’m meeting up with a relatively new running group for nine miles Saturday morning, and brunch afterward to celebrate my running buddy May’s birthday.  And of course, Sunday is Father’s Day!  Otherwise, it’s a quiet weekend for a change.  I’m looking forward to it!

79 thoughts on “When to call it quits?

    • Yes- my body needs days off, too. I thought maybe I could get away with one easy mile in between runs, but it was becoming too much. Spin’s going well, thanks for asking- enjoy your weekend, too!
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

  1. Yes I’m happy to say I recognize when my body is trying to tell me I’m over training and even happier to say that now I listen!

    A 14 day running streak is awesome!

    Plans for this weekend other than celebrating dads (which will undoubtedly involve food of some sort) I’m meeting a friend tomorrow for a run. Oh and yard work…ugh!

    Happy Friday Laura!
    Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness recently posted..Fitness Friday || My First 50K. The Longest Distance I’ve Ever Run.My Profile

  2. Totally agree. I think the Houston heat and humidity sets runners up for over-training in comparison to cooler climates. It’s so much easier to get overheated and exhausted quickly. I usually come home from runs (even short ones) looking like I’ve just gone swimming.
    Allison @RunTriLove recently posted..Running Lessons from my DogMy Profile

  3. I ended the streak 12 days in, 13 days of streak if you count my May 27 marathon (which was marathon #2 for May). Now, I am injured. I have an appointment to see the doctor but am pretty sure I have developed plantar fascitis. At 50 and a half, I should probably have known better. Off to the pool this summer and more bike time. 🙂
    Nicki recently posted..@BuffaloMarathon RecapMy Profile

    • Oh, no! So sorry you’re injured… it’s so hard to find that line between pushing our body to get stronger, but not pushing so hard that we end up injured. Hope it’s a quick recovery for you!
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

    • I agree- I’ve never done a streak before for that reason but for some reason thought my body might be able to handle it this time. I’d rather quit now than end up completely burnt out or injured. Have a great Father’s day weekend!
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

  4. Smart woman! Knowing our body is so important! I know my body would never consent to 2 weeks without a rest day – so kudos to you on both going that far and knowing when to call it!

    My relay is this weekend! 🙂
    Mandy recently posted..Overdue Training UpdateMy Profile

    • Oh, no!! I’ve had to learn the hard way where my bodies limits are, too. So sorry you dealt with that… the mental exhaustion on top of physical exhaustion is rough!
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

  5. Glad you listened to your body:) I have experienced all of those symptoms recently. That’s why I ended up taking a rest day yesterday. I’ll be back at it today and hopefully my run will feel energetic:)
    hikermom recently posted..Three Things ThursdayMy Profile

    • Hope the rest day did it for you! Sometimes it takes a rest day plus a couple of easier workout days to recharge. I wish our bodies would keep going and going, but they let us know that’s not possible!
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

    • I’ve learned the hard way, too. I’m finally no longer guilty if I take an unplanned off day. I know those complete recovery days make a big difference in helping us get stronger!
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

  6. Smart to listen to your body and that the rest day now rather then continuing to push with worse issues later. This is so important to remember when we want to continue to go, which as moms we do daily! I think we forget how to relax and rest.
    Jen recently posted..A new beginningMy Profile

  7. originally i had one of my 30 day challenges set to be running, but i think especially in the summer we need to listen to our bodies rather than feel forced to continue a workout when we might be overdoing it. I say kudos to you for making a smart choice
    Amanda @RunToTheFinish recently posted..Taking Yoga Off The MatMy Profile

    • Thanks, Amanda… and I think you’re right- 30 days of running is doable, but it’s not healthy for everyone, and it’s often too tempting for people to sign up who are not physically read for it. You came up with plenty of other awesome challenges!
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

  8. I think that many of us make the mistake of not listening to our bodies. So I am glad that you are not doing that! Especially in the TX heat! Yikes. I had a hard time getting motivated when I lived in New Orleans. No matter what time you go, it is always hot! And humid! Yuck. I think the heat really takes the strength right out of me. My running plans include finding a new trail (hopefully) and getting a 17 miler in!
    Travel Spot recently posted..My Bucket is Half FullMy Profile

    • Yes- the heat takes so much out of me, too! The humidity here is crazy. Enjoy your cooler temps! Wow- you’re getting in some impressive long runs lately… I should know this, but when is the marathon?
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

  9. Smart move listening to your body! As you know, I quit after a few days. Why force it?

    Enjoy your running group! I’ve got 12 miles planned and am hoping I can convince someone to do at least some of it with me! 🙂
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Fast Fitness FridayMy Profile

    • I agree- no use forcing it. I’ve never done a streak before, so now I know what it feels like, and I’ll be content to skip it in the future. 🙂 Have a great 12 miler, hope you can round up a buddy!
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

  10. I was so tired yesterday so an easy 6 became an easy 4.5 on the treadmill. Today I felt good and so an easy 6 became a ‘push a little bit harder’ 6 with nice hills thrown in (on treadmill again).
    I am a big mood runner, if you’re tired take it easy if you feel good then go for it. I think as runners we are more in tune with our bodies and as such need to listen to them. Having said that I am kind of permanently tired but that’s what 3 kids 5 and under and 60plus miles a week will do. It’s all about sleep and i don’t get enough 🙁

    • I like that term “mood runner”- I can definitely relate, I mix up my runs based on how I’m feeling that day, too. No use pushing through speed work when your body is wiped out! I’ve really been working hard at getting to bed earlier- feeling the lack of sleep lately, too. Combined with the heat, it’s rough. I forgot you have 3 under 5yo, whew!!
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

    • I’ve always stuck to 3-4 days, too- that’s what my body is happiest with. For some reason, I thought I could handle the streak. But now I can say I’ve been there, done that… I’ll stick to my usual runs!
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

  11. Oh my then I have definitely have over trained a few times in my life. I push myself into exhaustion and obsessive some days. I can do a couple workouts a day, but thank god Cross Fit relieved me of that. Because after that workout, IM DONE!! Im usually sleeping super early like before dinnertime. And generally nothing wipes me out because Im and energizer bunny. LOL
    Im gonna run this evening and do my planned workout on my blog for Fitness Friday’s linkup. Have a great weekend.
    Lilli Toby recently posted..InspireMy Profile

    • It’s difficult to find that line between pushing yourself to get stronger and improve, yet not burning out with overtraining. Cross fit is a great way to get an awesome workout in a short period of time! Have a great weekend!
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

  12. I don’t think I could ever do a run streak, my body needs days off A LOT and I used to think it was a sign of weakness, but I find if I pay attention and take my days, then I am SO MUCH better on the other performance days. We all have to learn what we can and can’t do.
    Julie (@ROJRunning) recently posted..Friday Food : Rainbow Green SmoothieMy Profile

    • It’s definitely not a sign of weakness! You’re smart for mixing it up like that. I’m usually very careful about only running 3-4 days, not sure why I got it in my head that I should do the streak…. I guess I wanted a challenge. But I’m happy to be back to my fewer days of running!

    • I agree- I have a hard time taking a day off, too… but I usually plan it for the day before a long run, so I’m well rested for the run, and try to use the extra time for fun outings with my 2yo, so I’m come to really look forward to them!
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

    • Yes, I might consider it again– but I’m happy to have made it two weeks, and it feels good to be back to my spinning-running rotation. My body is thanking me. 🙂
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

    • True, true… the heat is probably more of a factor than I realize. I didn’t know if I would last the entire streak, but it was a fun little challenge. I’m happy to be back to my usual routine!
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

    • It definitely can lead to over-training and injury, glad you were smart enough to quit before it got there. I’m getting better at heeding my body’s signs too… the streak was a fun challenge, but I need a complete day off!
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

  13. I love the idea of a running streak, but I know I would end up injured. You’re very smart to know when you need a day of rest. Enjoy your quiet weekend!
    Michelle recently posted..The DiagnosisMy Profile

    • I agree- rest is crucial, even active rest. I’ve always been too cautious to attempt a streak, but decided I’d give it a try. Now that I’ve done it, I’ll be content to sit them out in the future!
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

  14. Good for you for listening to your body. I think all too often we get wrapped up in the “more is better” or “he/she’s doing that so I must, too” mantra and forget to heed the warning signs. I’m guilty of that one. Thanks for sharing those tips – I will be looking out for those as I start ramping up my training this summer!
    Alison @ racingtales recently posted..Best Recovery EverMy Profile

    • I think so, too- as much as I love the online support of blogging, it has pushed me to do more than I otherwise would sometimes, so I’m trying to be careful about determining what is best for me, and sticking to that.
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

  15. I really dislike that Runner’s World is pushing streaking so hard. It’s going to lead to a lot of injuries and overtraining issues because the body needs rest sometimes too. I’m glad you listed to your body and ended your streak, but I worry that a lot of people aren’t that intuitive or will see ending their streaks as failure.
    Sarah S recently posted..I have mastered falling off the face of the planetMy Profile

    • That’s a good point- I knew I would have no problem ending it when I needed to, but there probably are many people who will try to finish even if it means pushing through pain. I agree with you on the necessity of rest, and this definitely reinforced that for me.
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

    • Sounds like there were lots of us who only lasted a week or two! One mile sounds so doable on the “off” days, but it really adds up when there’s no opportunity to recover.
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

  16. Excellent Post Laura! I am glad you took a much deserved rest day. I used to wonder why all the marathon training plans prescribed 1-2 days rest days. During the marathon training last fall, I truly appreciated why. The body just needed time to rebuild the muscles so they could become stronger. In addition, we tend to under-estimate the toll the heat has on the body. The 8-10 milers in the humidity took as much out of me as 18-20 milers! Happy Running. BTW – I am going to give the 30-20-10 interval a try and let you know! 🙂

    • Thanks, May! Yes- those rest days are so crucial! It was a fun experiment, but I’m okay with it being over. You’re so right about the heat, too- it’s something I forget to factor in, but makes a big difference in how hard we’re working.
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

  17. I definitely think I have over trained before. For me, exercise is very addictive and sometimes it’s so hard to take a break and rest. Great post!

    • I know what you mean about it being addictive at time, I think I wrote something about that a few months ago, how we must appear obsessed with running to non-runners! But I keep learning the hard way how important it is to rest. I’m finally wising up and listening!
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

  18. Great decision!! It is so much better to listen to your body than overdo it! I think I struggled with this a little training for my half since I only gave myself 1 day of rest from workouts and combined with nursing and mommy duties I burned out and after just took a nice break for a couple weeks 🙂 just went on a run yesterday and it was great even pushing the stroller 🙂
    Kris recently posted..Running, it’s in my Blood!My Profile

    • It’s very easy to do, especially in training for a specific race like that. Glad you had a little break, it makes such a difference to come back both physically and mentally refreshed and ready to run again!
      Laura recently posted..When to call it quits?My Profile

  19. Good for you for taking a day off! I didn’t even do the streak so I commend you for going over 2 weeks!

    I’m sure I’ve experienced over training symptoms before, hard not to when we have to train 6 days a week. I just try to take it easy some days, our swimming days help with that because it isn’t as demanding on our bodies.
    Jamie @ couchtoironwoman recently posted..Festival on the Green 5K Race RecapMy Profile

  20. good decision. i’m always in favor of erring on the side of cautious, especially when it comes to your body. i’m sure it was hard to stop,but i know you did the right thing.

    it’s hot here in chicago, so i can’t imagine the temps you are facing! stay cool!!
    runner26 recently posted..FuelMy Profile

  21. This is the main reason that I didn’t participate in the streak…I was worried about something like this happening to me. I wondered if even just one mile on the “off” running days would make that much of a difference and it sounds like it really did. Way to be smart about it! Totally not worth an injury!
    Corey recently posted..B2B 70.3 Training PlanMy Profile

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