Recently I read the book Run Faster by Brad Hudson which talks about the importance of listening to your body and adjusting your training plan as you go. He stressed that a training plan is just that, a plan. It is also doesn’t know you and what is currently happening in your life. Does it know that you are overworked and struggling to get enough sleep let alone a run? No. Does it know that you are in bed with the flu? No. Does it know that you unexpectedly had to travel for work? No. Does it know that you just got a puppy that wakes you up three times a night? No. That was me last summer!
With all these factors that the plan doesn’t see, why do we follow them so religiously? Maybe you all are better at this than me, in that case maybe I am talking to myself. However, I am a perfectionist, so when I get a plan that is designed around my race goal, I want to follow it to a T. I will do everything to hit every workout because in my mind that’s the only option.
This may seem great at first, but it has been my downfall. It’s a strength and also my greatest weakness in regards to running. Not being able to adjust or adapt when necessary can cause you to overtrain or become injured, which is the last thing we want as runners! The past two training cycles this has happened to me. A lot of other factors played a part in my overtraining, but the one thing I definitely could have done a better job of was listening to myself.
When you are sick or your IT band starts to hurt, what is the harm in easing back mileage or taking some extra rest days? After weeks of training what will one skipped workout do? Nothing. It won’t hurt, it will probably be beneficial in the long run, but it’s hard to look ahead and see the big picture. It’s hard to step back and lift up.
When considering skipping or modifying a workout that’s when the irrational thoughts creep into my head. If I skip this workout I will never hit my goal, I am throwing all my work down the drain, I am not as strong as I thought. These are all thoughts that go through my head and they are all absolutely ridiculous! None of those are true, weeks of training and hitting my workouts proves that. One workout can’t undo everything, all the hard work. We have to remind ourselves of that. We have to be mentally strong and confident in the process and the training. Trust.
This training cycle I have been working at listening to my body more. All I can say is it’s a work in progress. Luckily, I felt great all through my training cycle up until last week when I got a nasty cold. I could barely breathe through my nose and I still wanted to attempt my runs. And I did do the easy runs, but I rearranged my schedule for the week because I knew the tempo was not possible. So at least I could recognize that, but going forward I hope that next time I can just rest. I can be confident enough and truly know that resting will benefit me the most.
Life does get in the way of our running sometimes. How dare it, but it does. If it’s beyond your control, cut yourself some slack. Be able to rearrange your runs, or modify a run- go out and attempt the first half of a tempo, or skip it all together if forcing it will do more harm than good. It’s okay. But even more than that, take note in how your body responds to your training and adjust as you go. It’s all a process and a journey, but in the end we will get there.
Thanks for reading!