Overtraining and Tuna Loaf with Cucumber Sauce

by Joanne on November 13, 2013

Before I get to the recipe for an absolutely YUMMMM…. inspiring reaction, I have to reiterate the following couple of paragraphs I read on iRunFar. A three part series on Overtraining.

First, let me take a step back a month.  If you remember, in October, Ted and I ran Chicago. It took us a very long time, in fact it was two extra hours that my feet weren’t used to.  My thought was that because we were going slow, the 26.2 distance wouldn’t take it’s usual toll on my body. As a result, I signed up for another marathon one week after Chicago. 

Even though I signed up to run 3 marathons (there was the one back in September I forgot to mention) within 29 days, I thought not giving any of them an all out effort would save the stress on my body.   Based on the following from iRunFar’s article, that was not the case. 

….Thus, even after running for many hours, one might possibly awake the next day feeling very little soreness in the muscle or joints.  But that doesn’t mean the body wasn’t stressed in significant ways:

Neurological:  Regardless of intensity, the nervous system is hard at work during long, ultra-distance runs with prolonged, hours (if not days)-long firing of the sympathetic nervous system which drives all bodily systems during exercise. Moreover, specific motor nerves to working muscles are firing every millisecond, for hours. Neurological fatigue–regardless of perception–is significant and a real stressor to the nervous system.

Endocrine: This system secretes important hormones for use during and after exercise to mobilize energy stores and to aid in recovery. Prolonged exercise–however low its intensity–elevates key hormones, namely cortisol, to harmful levels. Cortisol, a hormone released under all times of stress, even psychological, when consistently lingering in the body will cause physiological breakdown across multiple systems: weakening tissues, curbing fat burning, and otherwise slowing recovery.

These two systems are stressed regardless of intensity, but our ability to perceive neurological or metabolic fatigue is poor……

Yes, the article is talking about ultra-running but it applies to all marathon “maniacs”  who are under the false impression that multiple marathons, no matter how slow, year after year, won’t cause the body to breakdown.  In the end, we are all the same. Yes, some people are physically stronger but in the end, something has to “break”.

Does this change my desire to do two marathons per season? No.  It does however change my perception that going really slow for hours on end won’t have any effect on me.

Do you think you’ve ever suffered from Overtraining Syndrome? 

I think that’s what I’m going through right now. I’m trying to run but my hamstring hurts and my mind isn’t quite grasping the enjoyment.


This recipe is based on a meal from Cooks.com.  Those cucumbers were coming in strong a month or so ago.  We pulled in the garden’s fruit and use them up or preserved them.

Vegetable Lasagna and Tuna Loaf1

This is an easy meal. Healthy and enjoyable, especially with the refreshing and cool cucumber sauce.

Vegetable Lasagna and Tuna Loaf7

Makes 1 8 x 4 loaf

Vegetable Lasagna and Tuna Loaf6

  • 12 oz can + 6 1/2 oz can tuna, drained and flaked
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped small
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats, un cooked
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or soy milk or cows milk)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp dill
  • pepper and salt to your liking
  • paprika
  • 2 TBS parmesan cheese

Cucumber Sauce

  • 6 oz plain Greek style yogurt
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 2 TBS fresh dill
  • 1 TBS minced yellow onion

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat a loaf pan with non stick spray and set aside.

In a bowl, mix the tuna, celery, oats, milk, 2 eggs, dill, salt and pepper. Turn into the prepared pan. 

Beat the 1 egg with a dash of paprika.  Blend in the parm. cheese. Pour over the top of the mixture in the loaf pan and gently press. 

Bake for 40 – 45 minutes.

Prepare the Cucumber sauce by mixing all sauce ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

Vegetable Lasagna and Tuna Loaf2


Vegetable Lasagna and Tuna Loaf8

Not pretty but the mouth is happy.

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  • At 2013.11.15 08:04, Heather said:

    Yes! Absolutely! I think this happened to me last year when I ran both Chicago and Columbus. I haven’t really run (seriously) since. I’ve been on a year long break. Lol.

    • At 2013.11.15 08:42, Tina@GottaRunNow said:

      Good info! I may have overtrained this summer. My long runs took forever to finish in the heat!

      • At 2013.11.16 22:54, Mary said:

        Overtraining is definitely an issue for me. To keep up my skills and make the progress that I want to make I need to skate six days a week. And figure skating involves doing the same moves over and over. Luckily a lot of it is not that high impact (though jumping is). It helps me to have some days where I don’t jump at all. I’ve been traveling and had other distractions lately and so have had a lot of time off, more than I actually wanted. But guess what? My body feels great. Breaks are good. I can use recipes just like this one. Fatty fish like this is so good for you, and yet can get so expensive– but not when you are using tuna. And you even made the loaf itself gluten and dairy free.

        • At 2013.11.22 03:56, Choc Chip Uru said:

          Overtraining or overgyming is my issue, because despite not eating too much of my dessert, I am naturally quite big! But to keep it up, I try to take a couple of breaks when it feels natural! 🙂
          Great post and wonderful recipe, though the cucumber sauce stole the show!


          P.S Unfortunately, I have lost around 1000 subscribers on my blog, and I have no idea how, so if you were subscribed, would you be able to resubscribe? Thank you!

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