Cutting This Body Some Slack

by - Tuesday, March 16, 2010

As athletes, we can probably all relate to pushing ourselves too hard trying to get results in our running, biking, swimming, etc. At the very least, I know I'm guilty of it rather frequently.

That's probably the reason I end up with these annoying injuries all the time. I just don't know how to cut myself some slack.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what contributed to the hip issues I started having back in December. I had just finished the Jingle All the Way 10K with a pretty stellar time. I had averaged 9:03 minutes per mile way faster than I had ever raced before. All fall, I'd been getting faster and faster, but I never felt like I was pushing myself too much.

But maybe I was.

There were some treadmill runs were I would really push the speed. I mean there's pushing ourselves so we can be better, and then there's over-doing it. Like cranking the treadmill up to 7.5 or 8 mph for a sprint at the end of an already intense workout when my legs were already tired.

I've come to the conclusion that sometimes I just need to cut my body a break. It does a pretty awesome job most of the time and yes it's great to push it a little bit so things don't get stale, but every body has limits. I think I need to be more in tune with mine.

I stumbled across a blog post recently that I thought summed it all up pretty well:

"So, where does that leave the body? Well, this body has a big job! It has to protect and carry around this “me” for as long as I live! And I would like to live for a long, long time. So I’d better start taking care of it, because if it goes I go… and I don’t wanna go. So I started paying attention to what I fed it, how much I let it sleep and relax, and I started exercising it. Trying to live healthy is like an insurance policy. There are no guarantees, but I’m hoping that smart choices now will bless me with a body that can do whatever I want it to, for a looooong time."

It will definitely be a challenge for me to not want to push myself all the time in training, but I'm really going to work on it. I want to have a strong running season without any injuries and the best way to do that is giving myself a break now and then.

What's one thing you can do this week to cut your body some slack?

(Photo credit: Flickr)

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  1. I do the same thing! Its hard to find that fine line between a great, intense workout and pushing too hard. I know it helps if I focus on recovering properly. I started including 2 days off from running after long runs, with usually one day totally off and one including a swim. Its been working out well so far!

  2. Great runners know to go hard on hard days and easy on easy days. The key is planning out those days in a thoughtful unemotional detachment. Overuse injuries are tough, but they heal, and teach.

  3. Great post! Remebering you get stronger during recovery is key.

  4. Great post. It's definitely that time of year where the weather is getting nicer, the days are getting longer, and we are getting excited for racing season ... probably pushing ourselves a bit harder!

    I plan on taking a rest day today and maybe just do an hour of yoga tomorrow! And back at it full force on Thursday?! lol

  5. Great post! I've realized that giving myself a rest day the day before and after a long run is key for me. Helps make sure my legs aren't trashed before the run and gives me time to recover afterwards.

  6. i recently realized i need to do this too. while sometimes i don't think i'm pushing myself too hard physically (running and all), things like work stresses, mental-stress, etc can have an effect on us too and we gotta keep that in mind. thanks for the reminder :)