Hot Oil 5K Recap & Running Things

Sometimes I just really impress myself by being able to post twice in one week. It’s the little things yeah?

Like I said, I have taken some serious time off of running since the marathon. I think I struggled so much and unfortunately did not run the race I was trained for because I was overtrained. OTS (Overtraining Syndrome) is something Will brought to my attention a few months ago through this article. It’s a fabulous read, and REALLY scary, especially for someone who plans to run until the end of time. It’s when an athlete trains to such a level that fatigue and underperformance become common. And to be honest, I think that is part of the problem I had during NYC.

I trained well, and I trained properly, but my body didn’t have a break from running for the past 18 months. And because of that, I think I was just too freaking tired. And reflecting on the race, I was just as, if not more, mentally tired, than physically tired.

In June, I signed up for a 5K a week after NYCM. I figured I would have had a fabulous race, I would have been feeling good, and I was going to race and win the 5K. Because who needs more motivation than a year of free pizza? Well with the way I felt after the marathon I figured I would still run, but run on feel and enjoy the fact I was out running.

The 5K is a local race of about 1650 runners and it sells out within the first week of signups in June. Free pizza and beer post-race. A year of free pizza to the male and female winner. Who wouldn’t want to sign up?

“She doesn’t go here” … You’re right, I don’t.

Race morning was beautiful, unseasonably warm as I was able to run in shorts and a tank top. I didn’t hate it. Although I ran with my watch, I flipped it upside down so I wouldn’t be concerned about pace. I ran the first mile in 6’48”, the second in 6’45”, and the third mile in 6’25”. As we turned the corner for the last 0.1 mile, I kicked it past two women, who then approximately 10 seconds later passed me right before the finish. I thought I had it, but when I saw them go by me I said LOL K BAI and just cruised on in. I placed 8th woman over all, 1st in my age group, and got a sweet trophy. It may not be all the pizza I can eat, but that’s probably a good thing.

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I’m happy with how the race went. If you asked me in June, I would’ve said I will run sub 19, but I didn’t and I’m totally fine with that. Since the 5K I’ve run approximately 4 times, topping out at 6.5 miles. Two months ago, my minimal running and low milage would have given me a heart attack and serious anxiety, but I’m feeling pretty good about it right now. I’ve been doing a ton of cross training, a lot of SoulCycle (sorry wallet) and even more stretching. Who am I?

My appetite has returned from “constantly ravenous” to “normal human being”, and my cravings have shifted from “all things carbohydrates and sugar” to “good fats and vegetables”.

If you want to learn more about Overtraining Syndrome, this article outlines some signs and symptoms. And like I said before, this article, Running On Empty, chronicles a professional endurance athlete fall from elite competition. It’s inspiring, sad, and downright eye opening towards the importance of proper rest and recovery. It’s easy to say “I didn’t have a good race so I’m going to train harder”, what’s the more difficult is to take the rest your body needs to recover.


Have you ever experienced OTS? I burned out after swimming competitively for 13 years. I would really hate for that to happen with running.

Is taking a break from running hard for you? This is the first time I’ve consciously told myself I cannot run.

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23 thoughts on “Hot Oil 5K Recap & Running Things

  1. Taking a break from running has been a learned habit for me and it definitely took a while. I think I’m able to scale back because I’ve been running for as long as I can remember and I plan on doing it for as long as humanly possible, but I definitely over trained for my first marathon. This time I take at least 2-3 total rest days a week and they are amazing. I sometimes get the feeling that I’m doing something wrong when I read about people clocking in 55-70 mile weeks, but I really think it’s going to pay off for me in the end! That article is a very good read thanks for sharing

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  2. My weird post marathon injuries tend to keep me from being too far into the land of OTS, but I have overtrained before for my body. One of the pluses (?) of my mindset is that I love running for the sake of running, and therefore rarely push myself to those extremes where I am mentally and physically at the edge. Stupid things just tend to happen to me. I’m glad that you are taking the steps that you need in order to recover, and congrats on your race!

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  3. I think over training can happen with any physical activity. I did it with spin classes back when I taught. Running especially can be so hard because as runners we want to do every race. I hope you are able to enjoy a little break from training!

    Speaking of races, you wanna know how to get me to run a PR? Offer free pizza for a year as the prize instead of a medal.

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  4. Nice job on your 5k!
    Taking time off from running sucks, but it’s so necessary. I had overtraining syndrome last summer, and it took a move and throwing my training plan out the window to recover. Since then I’ve taken post race recovery pretty seriously, and it’s so worth it.
    I’m glad Will could point it out to you, and you’re doing what your body needs 🙂

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  5. Great job on the race!

    I’m the opposite of most runners in that taking a break from running is NOT hard for me – in fact, it’s all too easy these days. I look at people who bounce from one marathon training cycle to the next, and I thought I could do that, but when I tried to this year I just got too burnt out. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to be in the “constant training mode” that other runners seem to thrive in, and that’s okay. I do get anxiety and beat myself up about being “lazy” and “undertrained,” but I wonder if a lot of that is my body’s subconscious defense mechanism against overtraining and burning myself out. That said, the downside of my approach is that I do lack discipline and I’m sure I could push myself harder in the off season. I guess I’ve just become more selective about what I train hard for, and I think that’s a good way to go. So, I thought you’d appreciate hearing the point of view from the opposite side of the spectrum, hehe 🙂

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    1. I do! Thank you for sharing! It’s definitely been an adjustment, but I’ve really started to enjoy it which just makes me realize how badly I really needed this break.

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  6. So one of my biggest goals when I train for NYCM next year is not to push it so far that I burn out or get injured, but still am able to race my best and finish a marathon, which I would have thought was a crazy idea when I first started running just about 2.5 years ago. Other than injury, one reason I waited a full year to commit to a marathon was that I didn’t want running to stop being gratifying or fun or to become a “have to” rather than a “get to” which with a marathon I feel like it MUST at some point. It’s a tricky balance isn’t it?

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  7. Yep yep yep. I burned out from swimming when I was 20. I’ve definitely been overtrained for running before (hello junior year of college) and I think I’ve found a good balance but it’s REALLY tough to not get into the “more is more” mindset. I definitely do that all the time. Mentally being in training is exhausting! That’s why when I trained for the Newport Marathon, I didn’t want to follow a training cycle for more than 2-3 months. I knew I’d get injured or burn out and I definitely felt like I could have rested more than I did. But every race is a learning experience and I’m glad you’re taking the rest you need now!

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  8. Welcome back, Jamie! I’m glad to hear you’re taking some time off from running and enjoying other things. Sounds like you’re listening to your body even when its hard so good for you! I haven’t needed to take time off of running at this point but am mindful of rest and if I’m starting to feel burnt out, to take a day and then get back out there and it helps. Great job on your 5k!

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  9. Free pizza and beer is my kind of race! Great job on your 5K and first in AG! I’m glad you’re taking some time off to recover. I read that article in Outside this summer and wondered as well if I possibly overtrained a bit for my marathon – I drastically ramped my mileage over just a few months and felt like toast a bit because of how short of a taper my plan had. So I made myself not run for 10 days after my marathon, at all, and then have been keeping my mileage low and easy. You deserve the rest – enjoy every moment of it!

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  10. Taking breaks is actually really easy for me, probably because I plan them out and then look forward to them for weeks, lol. I do get a little antsy when I’m not running, but I usually don’t have a problem with cutting back mileage and running easy. Great job on your 5k… I would seriously train all year just to win that free pizza. What a brilliant prize. I love that you are resting and ENJOYING it. And good for you for cross training… that will only make you stronger!

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  11. I was burned out on college volleyball after one season (plus all of middle and high school) and I haven’t played since. I think I would have a hard time giving up running for a period of time. It is a part of me and I love it. I have gotten overtrained once and I went down to weight lifting and running a half mile as a warm up for that. It was rough 😦

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  12. After my first marathon I started almost immediately training for my second and wound up overtrained and injured. Not to mention my stomach completely turned on me worse than ever before! It’s a real thing when we go from feeling superhuman to realizing there are real limits in place, body and mind!

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  13. Oh I am sure I’ve had OTS. In fact I probably had it for MCM in October because I hadn’t had a training break of longer than 6 weeks for almost 2 years!! I’m embracing the break right now! Congrats on you AG win!

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