Ooh Look! Something else that makes us sick

How to avoid overtraining syndrome

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

So, I'm beginning to scout out my next runcation. This made me take a trip down memory lane. That's when I remembered my last full marathon. It was in Istanbul, Turkey. That was the hardest race I've ever run from training to the finish line.

I thought about the fact that I trained all by myself, the fact that I didn't have a coach. The trip cost $10,000, so I was working double and triple time (remember I was a waitress and that's a lot of shifts), the fact that I was so stressed that in my down time, I just ate and drank ( I believe an entire order of wings and cakes from Max's Wine Dive). One time, after a long day of work and training, as I climbed into bed, I was literally shaking uncontrollably.

When I got to Turkey, I had to get over jet-lag. We got sick and had to run sick (but I did it) and one of my travel companions was flat out trippin (women!") if this sounds like a nightmare, it was! So why did this happen?

Full disclosure: I had a faulty training program and suffered from overtraining syndrome. I know, I know. You are asking yourself, is that a real thing? It's real and I don't want it to happen to you. I'm going to tell you what it is, how you can diagnose it on yourself, and some low cost home remedies and preventative measures you can take.

So, what is it? Basically, due to a poorly planned training, (for anything, not just running) there is an imbalance between workout and recovery. No matter how the imbalance is, the result is poor habits, poor performance, and injuries. What's interesting is, that overtraining syndrome affects the mental, emotional, nutritional, and neurological well being of the athlete.

So what can we do to prevent this from getting to our bucket list destinations? Here they are:

Hydrate:

We are told this so many times. I'm guilty too. Sometimes, it just doesn't happen. Water keeps our muscles and joints lubed up. It makes recovery easy and there is less chance we get sick. Drinking anti-oxidant rich drinks like tart cherry and pomegranate juice gives an added boost.

Rest:

I know, we got goals! We can power through anything! No matter how strong you are, you need rest. So what is rest? Here are some examples:

  1. Getting off your feet and reading a book.
  2. Baking some cookies. ( you earned it).
  3. Watching a movie.
  4. Going to eat with friends.
Whatever you do, no training. Just don't overdo it.
Sleep:
Sleep is so crucial. Especially training. This is where all the training you have done gets put to work. Your muscles get repaired. Your brain is reset and every morning, you get to wake up excited about your training.
Soak:
This is such a treat. There is nothing quite as nice as ripping open a fresh bag of Dr. Teal's Epson Salt, pouring it in a steamy tub of water as hot as you can stand, lighting candles, and taking a nice long soak. You lay there listening to Jill Scott while inhaling the relaxing scent of grapefruit with charcoal. It is great for your mind and eases sore muscles.
Stretching:
When you get out of the tub, this is a great time to stretch your muscles. During any training, you will get aches and pains. Stretching a warm muscle will keep your muscles pliable and with the right tension. This season, I'm going to pay extra attention to this one. Not stretching is where most injuries happen. If you don't know what to do, you tube has many stretching and yoga videos.
Foam RollIng:
This is the foam tube that you see at the gym propped against the wall in the trainer's station. Most people look at this tool dumbfounded. Basically, you lay on the roller in various positions to hit your muscles at the right pressure points. It perfectly assists stretching to keep you without injury. You can use one at your gym, but you can buy your own for about $25 to $75 at stores like Academy, Amazon, or Target.
So, let's set some goals and plan workout and recovery in our training. It's easy to get lazy, but with practice, we can form good training habits.


H-Town Run Tourist Reminisce

The Best Walk I Ever Had

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

I was having a conversation with a couple of people at Berryhill in River Oaks. (By the way, have you tried Berryhill's margaritas? They are so strong. Just sayin). We were talking about running. If you are wondering why these conversations keep happening to me, it is no accident. I often just show up to random places and put people in a position where they have to react. I like to spruce it up, so to speak. Never a dull moment with me.


Anyway, they were saying that they had tried running before, but hated it. They had never got to the point where they could just let their brain let go. Many people ask me how I could run a marathon. I always say because I love to think and reminisce, iterate, and dream. On my run today, I had a great memory. I'll tell you about it.

I had just arrived in Beijing, China. It was a long flight. I flew Air China. I was told that they were the worst airline, mainly because of the food. Man, was it true. I was served frozen food that was still frozen. I decided to just eat the Starburst that I got form the duty-free shop the rest of the flight. What a great way to fuel for the race. See what I mean about anything and everything happening before the race.

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When we got to Beijing, the airport had no lights or AC in the section that we were in. We had to stand in line for an hour to go through customs. Don't get me wrong, I'm not negative, but it is hard to deal with culture shock when I am hungry and sleep deprived.

Finally, I arrived at my hotel. I went up to my room. I ordered some Pizza Hut. Yes, my first meal in China was some Pizza Hut. I had no choice. We would only stay there tonight and tomorrow the would be off to the Great Wall to inspect it. We were staying at a hotel next to the wall. We had to travel two hours to get there. I was ready to get this party started.

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After we boarded the bus, I found my seat next to this gentleman from California. His name was Paul. We had a great time getting to know each other. It made the two hour drive really short. I looked out of the window to take in the Chinese countryside. the bus comes to a stop. We had arrived to our hotel.

After getting settled in my room, I took a hot shower. I put on my white linen pants and white off the shoulder top. I put on some fresh makeup and decided to take a walk. I wanted to get an idea of this town and where I was.

I left out the back of the hotel. When I got to the road, I decided to go straight. I had seen some birds in cages. Everyone who knows me knows that I love birds. I went to check them out. I saw a couple of shops and restaurants before heading towards the fountain at the end of the long road. There was a lot of people collected at the fountain. I wanted to see what was up.

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When I got to the fountain, I began to understand that everyone was staring at me. It became uncomfortable, so I decided to turn back around. The people crowded there were couples that seemed to be waiting for something. Then, I understood exactly what they were waiting for. I saw a long line of children on bicycles and on foot going down the road to connect with their parents.

This seems really ordinary, but something was different about this experience. The children were staring at me and the other arrivals with their mouths wide open. They stared, only barely blinking in disbelief. I looked back at their parents and they were doing the same. The entire town was staring at me and the other runners. Since, I came alone. I walked alone. I stopped and collected myself before I continued. Like lifting weights or like any other workout, I wanted to have good form. I tightened up my core, puffed my chest out, straightened out my back and rolled my shoulders back and proceeded to back to the hotel.

I kept my eyes forward. My chin up and kept on walking. And yeah, It was really strange to be stared at like that, but I couldn't help but think what they must be think about the newcomers in their town. It was truly a walk to remember. And by the way, I totally recommend the great Wall Marathon is a one of a kind adventure of a lifetime. Thank you for following me down this trip down memory lane.


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