I started to feel it on Tuesday. Not sore, nothing specific hurt. But a deep, deep tiredness. I thought I just wasn't getting enough sleep, so I went to bed early, slept in, and took a nap during the day on Wednesday. But it wasn't enough, I was still exhausted. Even the simplest exercise like stretching took intense focus.
And it wasn't just my workouts. It went deeper than that: my brain felt tired. I was falling asleep in class, and even following the plot of a TV show seemed too hard a task. This was over-training.
Joe Friel coined the terms "fitness" and "form." Fitness is you physical capacity, how strong you are, how fast you are. But form is how well-rested you are, how much energy you have, the ability to perform at your peak. I never understood the difference until now. My fitness is way up- hill workouts are easier, I'm getting faster in the pool, my running form is improving. But my form is shot. My whole body is worn out, drained. Like a sponge that's been wrung out over the kitchen sink, I'm empty.
I have two days left in my training block but I will have to cut it short to start recovering. I will take three days completely off (that means no exercise at all!) then start my rest week beginning on Monday. I've broken everything down, now my body just needs time to process the adaptations and rebuild. It will feel strange to do so little, but it will give me a chance to focus on the other things in my life and clear my head before the next training block. Sometimes that is what it takes to gain a better perspective: you have to step back and look at things from the outside.