The 4 x 1 mile repeats were clicking off with precision. Guess it helps to run this workout in Track Town, USA on the Adidas Trail. As much fun as this workout was the nagging pain in my right hip was commanding additional attention with each step. The cool down back to the motel was not fun. In fact hard training was not fun regardless of running in Eugene, Oregon. It really hadn’t been for weeks. “Just get to the next race and then take a break” I told myself. Listening to my body was easy. The next steps were the difficult ones.
How many times have we been told (or told others) “just listen to your body”? It is an easy band aid to render to others and ourselves. Assumption is built into this advice; the recipient is expected to act accordingly.
Knowing when to take a break is a maturation step founded in trial and error. What do your journal notes reveal? See what notations you have made over time regarding any tightness, pain, gait adjustments, fatigue, sleep, performance issues, etc. Look for patterns that indicate rest or recovery are needed.
I have never had anyone tell me; “I tried listening to my body – I just couldn’t understand what I was hearing!” Our dogged determination is at times a weakness that must be addressed. Sometimes our bodies shout messages through the pain network wired from sensory receptors to our brains. Convincing ourselves that the best training for you (right now) might be a break – now that is hard to understand particularly when you are dialing in a precision training phase before a key race.
How long should this break be? Simple answer: it depends! Ignoring what our bodies are telling us is selective hearing. Use caution when you decide to not act in support of what your brain is telling you. Be careful not to let your heart trump your brain.
Breaks in training are a great time for us to refuel our gas tanks, recover from an injury, and affirm our desire to once again “get fast”. The best training for you right now –might just be some time away from a hard training schedule.
Until next time – enjoy the run!