This training cycle, I know I am dancing dangerously close to overtraining. There is an extremely fine line between pushing yourself to improve and pushing yourself into exhaustion.
Overall, my pace on all of my runs dropped. I think a lot of it is the cooler winter temperatures. However, I didn't push the pace on every single run. I knew not to do that. I did it on some of my runs but only where and when it was appropriate. I was floored on the day I ran a mile at an 8:05 pace AND kept up a comfortable conversation. I was floored when I saw mile splits at 7:30 and 7:45 in the last mile of two of my longest runs.
I kept monitoring myself for signs of overtraining. Pace slowing down in spite of efforts to run faster? No. Elevated resting heart rate? Sort of, but that was probably stress-related (interstate move and job searching, anyone?) and didn't happen all the time. Disruptions in sleep? No. If anything I was sleeping better. Eating like crap? No. Lack of motivation? No, not at all. Muscle soreness lasting for days? No. Thanks, yoga and foam rolling. Not recovering? No, it was quick most of the time, or I adjusted my expectations and took it easy if I needed to. Feeling excessively tired? No. Skipping runs, especially for no reason? No. I have yet to miss a single run this training cycle. Not looking forward to running? Absolutely not. I really enjoy running and look forward to it every day. Not resting? No. I like rest days almost as much as I like running days.
I know I ran my long runs faster than I was supposed to. I am aiming for an 8:00 marathon pace to give me some leeway to actually meet an 8:12 pace. I have now ran over 20 miles at an 8:07 pace. Crazy stuff. I should not have ran that fast, but it didn't feel excessively fast. I reeled it in and I was still running faster than I was supposed to. And yet I was no more tired or sore than usual. Going into a marathon, the confidence of KNOWING I can run that fast for that long is tremendous. I know I can do it because I already have done it. I also know that I can pick up the pace when things start to get tough because I've already done that too. That is hugely huge for my confidence.
I still do not think I am overtrained, but that is yet to be seen. 3 weeks til Shamrock and we will see.