No Training Plan
Adrenal Fatigue – Part 1
I’m 1 week out from the Island Man Triathlon today. Last night I had planned to do a bike and run today, since it would be only my 2nd time this training cycle to test that out. I know, I am probably screwed next week. Oh and obviously I haven’t swam in 2 weeks, AHHHHHHHH.
Anyway, I went out with the intention of biking for an hour. I got back just under that and covered 15.1 miles. The bike ride was a relatively easy-paced, I didn’t kill myself knowing that I needed to be in top-notch shape next Saturday. Got back to my car and got ready for the run – there is absolutely no urgency in my transitions, which will probably put me dead last with all my friends next week. 9:30 minutes passed and I headed back on the trail for a 2-mile run. Now this is what DOES NOT MAKE SENSE to me – 1st mile was 7:57 (WHAT?!) & 2nd mile was 8:05! How is it possible that my miles after a bike ride are faster than if I had just gone out for a 2-mile run?! Okay, I know I don’t push myself on most runs, but I felt like I was a 200# person running today – my legs felt so heavy and my quads were screaming! Other than making myself run, I was not pushing myself to hit a certain mile-pace. So what the hell is going on?!
Let Me Explain
I recently finished reading Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by James L. Wilson for my NTP class. I realized all the shit I have been putting my body through the last few years was finally catching up with me.
The purpose of the adrenal glands is to help our bodies cope with stresses and survive (among other things); but they respond to every kind of stress the same though. The shocker is I didn’t realize all the different sources of stress: injury, disease, work, conflicts (personal/work), exercise (I considered this my stress reliever!) and the list goes on. Adrenal fatigue occurs when the amount of stress in our lives over exceeds the capacity of our body to compensate and recover from stress. If we don’t give our adrenals the time to recover, the stresses that we experience every day accumulate. Every person is different and every person can handle different amounts of stress, but the constant demand on the adrenal glands to respond to our everyday stresses can lead to exhaustion.
Our adrenal glands do a lot for us. They secrete hormones so that our body can function properly, like regulating our blood sugar and anti-inflammatory responses. Every adrenal response to stress increases the metabolism of our cells which in turn burns a lot more nutrients than normally needed. When our adrenals are fatigued, our cells have used up most of our body’s nutrient storages and are starving for those depleted nutrients to function properly.
Before reading about adrenal fatigue for class I had suspected that I had over exerted myself in 2016. So my 2017 resolution/goal was to listen to my body and not kill myself to meet any demanding exercise goal this year. That’s why I don’t have a strict training plan for this triathlon and honestly, if I do any other races this year probably won’t do one for them either.
I’ve struggled with improving my mile-pace and 1 rep max lifts in the past. Since February, most days I will only do 1 type of exercise a day: CrossFit, run, or hike. There are also days that I just don’t feel like exerting that type of energy and I will only do some yoga or stretching. The biggest lifestyle change being that I am not trying to get out of breath every damn day, I am taking the time to rest and recover in between those days.
So surprise, in just 4 months I have seen MAJOR changes! I’m somehow able to crush runs, yes they are shorter mileage than what I used to run, but I’m able to maintain much faster paces than ever before (that sub 2-hour half marathon may be in view!). I’m hitting PRs in Olympic lifts at CrossFit after all these years I’ve been trying to improve. And I have fewer (I did not say none) mood swings. I honestly believe none of this would have happened if I didn’t start to chill the F out this year and listen to my body.
Does anyone else struggle to see improvements with their physical abilities? Next I’ll discuss my tipping point.