Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Better to burn out than to fade away

After finishing my 650-page long book, I picked up ”Relentless Forward Progress: A guide to running ultramarathons” by Bryon Powell and was relieved to be reading something different. Needless to say, my reading speed suddenly improved and I've already read a third of the book.

Among all the other interesting bits of information it contains, there was a section on FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. It's the section right before the one on burning out and overtraining. D' ya think the author is trying to tell us something?

I am hereby making a public confession: I suffer from the above-mentioned condition. Although suffer is the wrong word. Enjoy is more like it; there's nothing negative about wanting to experience new things, wanting to absorb as much as possible and participate in exciting races (already my spring ”schedule” is full – I use quote marks because nothing is set in stone and I hate making long term plans, the fickle soul that I am). Except one thing: overtraining. Pushing yourself further than you should and causing an injury or burnout.

I think that most people who are serious about their running are very good at making sure they put in the mileage. The difficulty is in knowing when you should stay at home instead, and then letting go of this fear of missing out. Yes, that the world keeps turning even when you're at home sick or injured is a painful fact that we've all had to acknowledge at some point or another. We're not the centre of the universe. We're missing out all the time. But agonising about it is no good. Pushing ourselves even further is only bound to lead to prolonged illness, chronic injuries and being forced to miss out on even more. When it's time to rest, it's time to rest.

Well, doesn't that sound awfully preachy. In a minute I'll start my run commute to work on a foot that's been feeling tense the past few days. Take my own advice? Bah! That's for smart people.


  1. It is always hard to practice what you preach!

  2. Stämmer så bra!
    Fast så svårt att följa fast man vet att det är sant.
    Jag skulle ha sprungit idag, men skjuter på det till i morgon. Försöker vara extremt lyhörd just nu. Ramlade lite lätt sist och känner av knä, hand, har fått en stor svullen lymfkörtel under hakan (kanske infektion i kroppen). Jag blir så glad då jag fattar att jag behöver vila - för du vet ju också att det är svårt att lyssna till de signalerna ;)

    sv: Jag har läst lite i den boken (kollade i en väns). Är som sagt var otroligt intresserad av klättring, men kommer nog aldrig bli en riktig bergsbestigare som sagt var. Stannar nog i att klättra i terräng och upp för små berg.