Despondent :-(

I had been feeling invincible. Couch to 5K completed. A 10K entered next July. Ensconced In NZ since Jan, running 5k three time a week in the sun. And then wham! A visiting Pom with a cold turned my life around. I awoke with a sore throat after his departure 2 weeks ago and decided not to run. Since then the virus from hell has chased its way around my body. I am now back in my second bout of head-cold, cough, runny nose and headache. On top of that horrible things like veruccas have emerged on my feet. My daughter, who is a vet, and presumably knows about these things says I have overtrained and compromised my immune system. In other words, I should behave suitably for my age, and all that running was actually bad for me. I am feeling SO depressed. Partly because I miss the endorphins of running and partly because I had believed so strongly that running was doing me good. Some words of comfort required pleeeease...


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20 Replies

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  • This is why I am an afficianado of Jeff Galloway (of Run/Walk fame). He has run 156 full marathons in his lifetime - and in my view, anything he has to say about running , I will listen to. He is ALWAYS going on about overtraining and how to avoid it - and he says that those who overtrain don't even know that they are doing it until their body decides to go on strike!!! It is our immune system that fails on us when we get sick with viruses. Unfortunately many of us really do believe in "no pain - no gain " and "more is even better" . But, as the song goes -- "It ain't necessarily so!!"

  • Thanks Bazza. So once again my daughter is right! That is exactly what she told me...She once trained to race-ride (horse-racing) , over-did it with the same result. I do have Jeff Galloway's book, so I will put my tail between my legs and listen to him if ever I feel fit again...

  • Hi, sorry to hear you're feeling low because of illness and no training. Could you maybe find a different form of exercise for a while so you still feel active but maybe one that helps your body heal; yoga possibly?

    It sounds like you've done incredibly well to get so fit, I'm sure when your body has relaxed and recovered from your cold you will be able to start running again, perhaps just a bit less than before.

  • You will climb back up onto the horse again :) -- Galloway has a lot of books - I have just placed an order with my local Library for his book ( Running until you're 100!! ) :)

  • Sorry to read you've been unwell, if you have pushed yourself a bit too far then I don't think it means the running's necessarily bad for you. Maybe just take it down a notch once you are better, shorter, slower runs - or like Bazza says run/walks. The evidence suggests moderate exercise boosts the immune system:

    Hope you feel better soon :-)

  • Us rotten poms bringing our lurgies over to you. Shame on us. Seriously though virus can wreak havoc on our immune system and while your down with that it leaves the body open to all sorts. It's like an open invite to come and kick us while we are down. The fact of life is we can get ill. Planes are a breeding ground for transfer of germs and you had contact with someone who had been in that environment. Run walks until you feel ready will help. I understand the opinion of overtraining but would caution that you know yourself better than anyone. Deep down you will know if you were or were not. Just because you have started to run does not mean you have lost the ability to judge yourself. I know when I am overdoing it and I take responsibility for that. I am also training for a event and that can put pressure on us but I am learning to say to myself before I go out. Am I feeling lazy or is my energy not there. Deep down I always know the answer as time goes on if the energy is not there I don't go. It's not very often that happens but when it does I listen to it. As I know best. Good luck and feel well soon

  • Thanks RFC. You are right. Deep down I think I do know I was overtraining. I kept reading all these posts about people finishing their Cto5K and running 5K in the allotted time and less and was constantly thinking I wasn't running fast enough. I was push push pushing. But dammit I am getting on for 70 and what I do should be good enough...Probably if I had done two shorter runs and just one 5K a week it would have been better. I may even start Laura all over again when I'm better. Quite looking forward to it actually :-)

  • I don't know anyone at the moment who isn't struggling with colds and flue. Everywhere you go folks are hacking right, left and centre. I missed my run yesterday as I was suffering with the dreaded lurg. So I don't think it's anything to do with how old you are Turtle if that's any consolation. I'm 56 and new to running so when things don't go right I always think maybe it's because I'm too old. Then I give myself a swift kick up the arse for entertaining such a ridiculous notion. LOL You'll soon be back out there Turtle so don't go hanging up those running shoes yet.

  • I think you have behaved absolutely perfectly for your age ! Maybe it's not overtraining but the extra work involved in staying and helping your daughter with new baby and toddler. I know how tired I feel this afternoon and we ve only been away for 3days looking after grandchildren 2hrs drive away . I know you are more than happy to help and wouldn't have it any other way but maybe now you know all is well with your daughter and baby is safely here your body is saying it just needs a wee rest . Don't despair and I personally think you will have been much fitter and able to watch little ones because you have been running . I totally agree with miss wobble as well. Just take as long as you need to get over virus and then get back out there . Go slow at first and just build your fitness back up . Listen to your body and you ll be fine . So no you are not too old just someone who unfortunately has virus and feeling poorly . So sending lots of positive thoughts and hugs to N Z .

  • Thank you everyone for your positive thoughts. I woke up with no voice this morning and suddenly everyone is hugely concerned! In fact I feel no worse than before I lost my voice but I won't tell 'them' that, as the result is I have been awarded a day in bed with husband/ nurse instructed to bring me regular supplies of manuka honey and hot lemon. I suspect this is just what I need and I will be on the mend pretty soon. I do think I probably was overtraining, as my body had had no form of exercise at all for decades and I was always pushing it to beat the clock when I ran. When I do get back running I will make sure I take time to smell the roses -well, pine trees here- along the way. And probably go back to the Galloway run walk run method which was how c25K started out. Will report back when I've laced up my shoes again.

  • I'm sorry to hear that you've been flattened with all these horrible things. Seriously, though, you will get back to running - just give yourself some time and some sympathy. Running is good for us - think how much fitter and more active you are than before you started! You'll be back out there again soon enough, just take it easy to start with and perhaps build up again slowly. Good luck with it all :)

  • Thanks Annie. I slept for 18 out of the 24 hours yesterday and feel quite a lot better this morning so I will get there. Fortunately my husband is here now to help our daughter though his efforts at cooking, not to mention nappy-changing, leave something to be desired ;-)

  • Well actually - we only think we know ourselves!!! But we are not as smart as we think.

    Dr Phil Maffetone (famous running Doctor and marathon trainer- Google him) basically says that there are fit people and there are healthy people -- but there are also fit, unhealthy people. These latter are people who, on the surface, are VERY fit and very confident of their own abilities -- but inside, are unhealthy due to overtraining. His experience is that these fit confident people eventually injure themselves or get sick. Read what he has to say or maybe watch this

  • Thanks Bazza. Due to the primitive internet reception in this part of NZ I can't watch the video but everything you say tallies with my experience. Running 5K three times a week would be no problem for some people, but for someone my age who took no exercise previously it was a serious challenge to my body. At the end of my run I would always be red in the face, breathing heavily and my chest and abdomen would be flushed. Not a pretty sight. But I felt so proud of myself! I had no knowledge of the concept of overtraining then. Now I do, and I think the cap fits. I will try and run more intelligently when I start again. Thanks to everyone for the feedback.

  • There are some truly rotten virus going around this year. I was laid up for two weeks in November. I have friends, young and old, very fit and not so much on 3 continents who have been hit with it. So don't feel bad, and more importantly, don't push your return. Several who under 30 and athletic tried to get right back into their usual routines and ended up back in bed. Start with walking.

  • Thanks Nilzed. You are right. I would out this down to bad luck except that out of six people in this house (one of them sleeping in the same bed!)I have been the only one to succumb. And it has now been nearly three weeks! So I think Bazza is right and my immune system is a bit under par due to my competitive nature. I wish I could find a programme aimed at senior runners so that I could train in a more appropriate way. I will pick up Jeff Galloway's book again when I get back home and take it from there.

  • Galloway for a gentle journey to a marathon -- but don't forget looking at Dr Phil Maffetone's thoughts about this particular matter ie unhealthiness due to overtraining.

    You may like to have a look at this 50 YO American's journey from couch to Marathon over about a year using Galloways programme ( WARNING - about 100 videos !!)

    Sort them out by "oldest first"

  • Thanks Bazza. When I am back in civilisation I will download. Nil desperandum...

  • I'm so sorry to here your not well. There is plenty of great advice above and I could only repeat it. There are a lot of colds, flu and bugs around at the moment. I had one a few weeks ago.

    Take care of yourself.

    S X

  • I am one of those people for whom sympathy and encouragement is a real tonic so thank you S and everybody else ...

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