Trailer Trash


Tired legs vs. Overtraining (Read 47 times)

Will run for scenery.

    Hi All,


    I'm new to this UG, so sorry if this is a dead horse....


    It seems like in trail running many of the conventional rules of road running get tossed out the window.  Especially when it comes to ramping up long run distances or MPW.


    The short version of my question is : how do you tell if you are "running on tired legs" (a Good Thing) or just plain overtraining ?


    I haven't been logging my runs (sorry) but coming into June I was doing 30-ish MPW on the roads.  My long runs were up to 10 miles, and my 10 mile race pace was 9:30.


    Then I got back out onto the trails.  Mountain trails, w/ big elevation, so a lot of it is really hiking and the pace is slow.  And w/ limited O2, the demands placed on the body seem much lighter.



    My past 5 weeks:


    week 1: 26 miles, 8000' gain/loss (slow), and a few 3-6 mile runs. (plenty of DOMS from the descent)

    week 2 : recovery, 3x 6 miles

    week 3 : 26 miles 6000' gain/loss (race, but comfy, felt great), few 3 mile runs

    week 4:  7.5 miles, 1000' gain (race, but not 100%), 2 x 3miles

    week 5: 28 miles, 8000' gain/loss (slow, felt good, but pretty draining)


    The last long run was last Saturday.  I'm feeling tired, light DOMS, sore feet (it was rocky!) but all my bones and gristle are fine.


    Overall, I feel good but there's no denying that the past month has been a very significant load on my system.  This weekend I'm signed up for a very easy (all gently downhill on a rail trail) HM.  And the week after that is a chance for repeat of the fantastic 28 mile mountain run I just did.


    So the question is : can I "run on tired legs" for another 2 weeks (then I have time off scheduled) or am I courting disaster ?

    Stupid feet!

    Stupid elbow!

    Le professeur de trail

      You'll get different responses to this because we all have different experiences.  I go by feel.  Don't push yourself too hard.  Rest is under rated.  Not sure how long you have been running trails but it takes some adjusting.  Looks like you are not new new to it.  But you have some decent events coming up.  Yea! for Pikes Peak!

      Bottom line - you will KNOW when your legs are dead.  Sorry - not so helpful.

      The incarnation of peacefulness and patience




      Pace Prophet

        Overtraining is more of a systemic thing - your heart rate is elevated in the morning, you feel bad not just on one run but every run.  And I think it's more related to mpw which you just don't have.  For those long single runs I would guess it's just fatigue.


        It looks to me like you ought to be running a bit more during the week to support your long weekend runs, though I'm not an ultra-distance runner so I don't know, do people who run >22 miles at a time not do that?  When I'm running long I like to have some solid 8-12 mountain runs mid-week - I think I recover better running daily rather than concentrating everything on a single run.

        PRs: 10 1:12:59 (4/2014) 13.1 1:35:55 (10/2013) 26.2 3:23:31 (12/2013)

        bloggy stuff at

        Uh oh... now what?

          I'm with ilanarama -- you might be wearing yourself out with the long runs/short runs

          thing and no intermediate distance during the week.  What do you do the day after

          a long run?  In the grand folly of one--I do a "loosen up" run the day after a long run,

          easy effort for an hour or so, just enough to get everything loose and the blood

          flowing again.


          Wednesdays was typically about two hours (12ish miles if on pavement, 2ish hours

          if on trails).


          One of the other short (low mileage) days included effort variety, go fast, go slow,

          get the whole body (and mind) into playing while out there.  The relaxation part

          of running is crucial to being able to continue for an extended period.


            If I read your schedule right, I see 2 recent races followed by a 28 mile long mountain run. Yes, tired legs indeed.


            I'd also agree with the other posters that mentioned longer midweek runs. More base, more miles, makes the longer efforts more manageable I think. I tend to think the weekly mileage is nearly as important as the long runs and think in terms of keeping midweek mileage close to or higher then weekend mileage. It's the foundation of the building in a way.


            However for your current situation as long as the legs are just "tired" and nothing specific hurts you current plan probably will be ok to get you to your upcoming races. It sounds like you will have a 3 week taper prior to Pikes Peak so just stick with your plan I'd say. Be careful though. Tired legs and poor form can obviously lead to compensating injuries.

            In dog beers, I've only had one.

            Will run for scenery.

              Thanks for the feedback.


              The pattern of long weekend/short week is kind of accidental.  It's what happens when a half week of recovery buts up against a half week of taper.


              My biggest problem this summer has been with overscheduling.  I had to run the 7.5 mile race to get into Pike's Peak Marathon (part of their Triple Crown option).  And I signed up for the HM next week way back when my calendar looked "too empty".


              Last weekend's run was the 4-pass-loop near Aspen.  It was soooo amazing.  The chance of doing once again before Pike's is hard to pass up.


              The HM, OTOH, is just sort of meh.  So my main decision is whether to skip it or just run it easy.  I'm a real CSOB, though, so I'd hate to miss out on a shirt and a meal I paid for Big grin .


              Ilana, I think that's a good point about overtraining being systemic.  Maybe I'll sleep with my HRM just to see what it says.


              Even though the hard runs look hard "on paper" I am more of a comfort jogger than a racer.  I like to feel good the whole way; if not I slow down.  The one exception is Pike's Peak - that one I plan to race fairly hard.

              Stupid feet!

              Stupid elbow!




                Last weekend's run was the 4-pass-loop near Aspen.  It was soooo amazing.  The chance of doing once again before Pike's is hard to pass up.




                Ha, After reading your first post I was gonna ask if it was the 4 pass loop. Epic 28 miler with over 8000'.  Did that a couple years back and if I lived in Co. I would try to do that run once a month, though it would be easier if I dropped a few pounds. It is the perfect long mountain run.


                I think ilanarama hits it pretty well in her post. I do think your prior mileage and long runs weren't enough to prepare you for long mountain runs like the 4 pass loop. Also, it's normal to be tired when increasing your workload.  Try to put some sort of practical plan down on paper and schedule rest days in there but by all means continue building. You just need more time and miles on the vertical trails and when you get bogged down take a couple extra rest days.