This week started like any other week. Monday brings new opportunities and excitement for me and especially when I’m in training, I’m excited to see what the week brings. It definitely turned out to be a mixed bag and I specifically wanted to share out about how listening to your body is so crucial.
As I write this I am reminded of a time when I was training for my first marathon. I was about 2 months out and was getting ready at home for my Wednesday night run group session. Whilst doing so, I stubbed my toe quite badly actually that I could barely walk or put any pressure on my foot. Having had experienced a broken toe before I was pretty sure it wasn’t broken but I was suddenly filled with dread that my marathon campaign had been compromised. I pushed on and got in the car and went to run group, the thought that my run was over filling my head.
What was to happen next freaked me out, I actually suffered a panic attack - I had never had one and I haven’t had one since thank goodness. For those that haven’t had one before, you get this feeling of dread and sudden feeling of impending death. It was awful and I think the reason I suffered this was because I was so hung up on getting to my run group and ensuring that I could still run. It was likely I wouldn’t have been able to run and this was my body telling me not to push yourself. I know this probably sounds so extreme but it taught me a valuable lesson in tuning in to my body and understanding when I need to take a step back and assess the situation. I’ll admit I am not always good at this but I am getting better at it.
Monday brought a 5am start for an early bike ride on the trainer at home. Getting to the pool was going to be a stretch for me so it was a recovery bike ride instead. This is one of the big lessons I’ve learnt when setting goals and working towards them, as much as planning your time and days is important, setting contingencies is just as important. Too often if things don’t go right or you can’t do a session for whatever reason we will just not do it. But if you can plan for unexpected circumstances and write down an alternative to the session then this does help. I.e. I usually do a lunchtime run at work but if for some reason I can’t get to it then I will plan for when I can do it on the day instead. You are more likely to follow through with doing the session if you have a fall forward plan, (as I have recently learnt from a speech from Denzel Washington). I specifically do not call it a fall back plan, because this is still a positive in your training and a step towards your goal.
Thursday morning was an interesting start to the day and for some reason my body had missed the cue that I had prepared myself the night before for my run. In order to ensure I am mentally prepped for my runs, I will always get my clothes ready the night before, have my snacks or nutrition ready if it’s a longer run, watch charged and alarm set. This particular morning I woke fatigued and quite exhausted actually, even though I had a great night sleep. So, what is a runner to do in this situation?
The challenge of wanting to run and having the ability to run are two opposing forces for me that I grapple with whenever I am in this situation. My head and heart are telling me to “run you fool”, but my body is saying “no, no, no!” I have gotten better at listening to my body and allowing it to do the talking for me when my mind is telling me otherwise. The “listen to your gut” mentality is one that comes to mind immediately. Or since becoming a mum, “Mothers Intuition”. So, I fought myself for a little bit and then I took stock of the situation; put my dressing gown on and sat on the couch in front of the TV. Rushing around running this morning was not wise, my gut was telling me that only more harm than good could come from it.
I have to say making the decision to just stop and listen to my body provided great results. I completed my run that afternoon Although, I was still feeling a little flat I thought to myself just do part of your required run - some run is better than no run. Well, I did more than that I smashed my required distance and speed and felt great afterwards. The key message here is to make the decision, back yourself and don’t get too hung up on the change in your usual routine.
The rest of the week and into the weekend went well. I was lucky enough to get a great strength program from the guys at Precision Sports Medicine, which along with my run program has served as another level of motivation for me. And then it was a catch up with a couple of the Mums on The Run ladies for a very early Saturday morning run, but it was totally worth it to run with these ladies and make it back in time for breakfast with my family.
This week presented some challenges and I came out the other side feeling great, but this is marathon training. You’ve got to find courage and belief to keep doing what you are doing to achieve your goal.
See you next week!
Mum Loves to Run