I ran today. Thirteen miles. I was excited about the run. Only thirteen. In these marathon training days of 17, 18 and 20 mile runs, thirteen is a gift. An easy day. A run-and-done given.
Except today. The humidity was brutal and I hit the wall just past mile ten. Drenched and exhausted, I paused my watch and walked for a bit. I'm a slave to the plan though, so I kept pushing, walk/running the final miles back to the car. At mile twelve, chills set in. Not the reaction you expect or want from your body in 90% humidity. Finishing up in Country Park, I found myself shivering and breaking out in goose bumps even as my skin was scorching to the touch. Diagnosis? Dehydration.
I wasn't alone. There was lots of chatter on Facebook today about the brutal running conditions. It's one of those things runners just accept. It's August in North Carolina and we're running in it. It's going to suck.
But during my cool down walk, I started thinking about what it means to listen to your body. I'm a devotee of Mark's Daily Apple, a primal eating/lifestyle site where Mark advocates--brace yourselves--listening to your body and adjusting workouts accordingly.
Mark's a fan of doing what your body tells you. If you have a five-mile run planned but can tell before you begin that you just don't have it, don't do it. Go for a long walk instead. Or maybe you had a light workout day planned but you're feeling strong. Why not push and go harder than expected?
Of course, learning to listen to your body is the hard part. Our bodies/minds will always try to trick us out of a hard workout, convince us we're too tired today to attempt it. But I feel I've got enough of a grip on what I'm capable of that I actually can listen to my body with some accuracy--if I so choose.
And there's the rub. I never listen to my body. For example, today would have been a really good day to stop at ten. I knew I was done. Yet I kept going. Why? Because I was scheduled for thirteen. And I'm all about the schedule.
Even as I've sat on the couch all day, recovering, I've been debating with myself about tomorrow's workout. On Sundays I usually do a one-hour bodypump class followed by a one-hour yoga workout. But you know what? My legs hurt. Enough that I know I should skip pump tomorrow and just stretch in yoga. That's what a person who listened to their body would do. And I don't need pump. I got my lifting in this week with two Crossfit classes and a leg workout with friends.
So why is it so hard to consider not going? My mental dialogue sounds something like this:
"I can go and just do light weights."
"Liar. You're an ego-maniac. You'll never agree to light weights."
"No, this time I really will. I'll be good. I'll go heavy on upper body to make up for it."
"I don't believe you. Once you get there you'll figure that since you're there, you may as well do the work."
"That does sound like something I'd say."
"Then you'll end up skipping yoga because you're tired, even though you need to stretch much more than you need to lift."
"No, I promise. I'll be good. Besides, my legs may feel better by tomorrow anyway."
"What we have here is a failure to communicate..."
My thoughts are: baby-steps. At least I'm considering the fact that I need to ease up on tomorrow's workout. Maybe next week, I'll actually decide not to go.
Cheers and Stay Cool!