September 1, 2011

Narcoleptic Runner

Everyone knows running is my favorite hobby, but lately, I have a new pastime -- uncontrollable napping.

I'm only in week 3 of marathon training, and I have never been more exhausted in my life. I'm not even sure why since I'm so exhausted that I'm not even doing all my workouts. Cross training on my pretty new bike? Not so much. I've ridden it once. The rest of my scheduled cross training days have been spent on the couch, dozing until an acceptable bedtime.

I don't understand why training has hit me so hard, since I thought I had prepared for it. I started spin class months ago to get my body used to being active more days per week and so I wouldn't be introducing something new to my legs as I started marathon training, knowing that the increased training would be tough. I've been increasing my mileage gradually all summer so I would be ready to meet the requirements of my plan. But still, I can hardly keep my eyes open, and my body doesn't want to do anything at all this week. I'm even starting to feel like I'm fighting off a cold. I've had to force myself to get through only 2 of my 4 scheduled workouts, and one of them I ended up cutting short. This is not the way it was supposed to go.

Marathon runners, I need your help.
In your first experience with marathon training, did you have problems with miserable fatigue? Were you distracted all day just thinking about when you could finally lay your head on a pillow? Is it just me?

I'm so tired that I'm reconsidering this whole plan. Maybe I'm not cut out for this. Maybe I'm not one of those people who can just go run 8 or 9 miles and then go to work all day, go grocery shopping, cook dinner, pay bills and spend quality time with my husband and friends. So far, I can't seem to fit it all in. And the physical exhaustion is driving me crazy. Because when I'm not rested, I'm not good at anything. I'm irritable, distracted and I certainly can't run.

What's the secret? Will my body get used to this soon? Will things get better? I'm not asking for training to get easier; I'm increasing my mileage every week, so I know easy will never be part of this equation. But I need to know that this fatigue will pass. If this crazy exhaustion isn't normal for a beginner in training, I might not make it till December.

I'm gonna go take a nap while I eagerly await wise and reassuring feedback.


  1. Totally normal. I was soooo tired training for my first marathon. Part of it is mental, all you can think about is "marathon this, marathon that" and "how will this affect my training?"
    REST is an important part of endurance training. Try tom get a half hour of extra sleep a night if you can. Your muscles need time to repair and PREPARE. And, get everything done before your long run. I used to do long run on Sunday mornings and I was completely worthless for the rest of the day. Just hunkered down on the sofa with mybfeet proper up and a movie or a good book. And often a nap!
    Your body will figure it out. Trust me!

  2. For me, it doesn't seem to matter how prepared I think I am, any time I really up my running mileage I crash and burn for a few weeks. All I want to do is sleep, and eat!

    I picked up the frequency of my training a whole lot back in July, and it was pretty rough for a couple of weeks, but my body always seems to adjust.

    Just give it time, and keep getting lots of sleep! It'll all be worth it when you cross the finish line :)



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