By Lauren MacDonald
Recently, I’ve had some bad runs—and bad is probably an understatement. It seems like every time I lace on my sneakers it’s a struggle. I can’t seem to hit my stride and either my mile pace is WAY too fast or crazy slow. A recent run left me gasping for air and so sore that for the next few days I had trouble walking up and down the steps that lead into my apartment. Originally I had planned to start training for a half-marathon in May, but with the past few weeks of training being less than stellar, I’ve been re-evaluating my goals. So last weekend, instead of doing my planned long run, I threw in the towel at mile two with a nagging side stitch, crazy headache and legs that felt like lead.
Since I was a teenager running high school cross-country, I’ve had a history of pushing my body harder than I should have. Due to a freak nervous condition, I became a little too well-known for passing out during races. The funny part was when I would pick myself up and start running again. I’ve outgrown my fainting spells, but I still haven’t seemed to wise up on pushing my body too hard.
Runners in general are well known for pushing limits. We are always looking to go longer, faster, harder and push our bodies to the edge. Our sport is built on the premise that we can push ourselves harder than anyone else. Despite being a solitary sport, there is camaraderie to running because we understand that we are here to push ourselves to the best we can be. As a rule of thumb, pushing ourselves to be better is not a bad thing, but sometimes we can go too far.
As I walked back to my car after my failed attempt of a run, I realized that my body was probably trying to tell me something. It might be time for a little rest; it might be time to stop pushing and let my body heal. So looking at my schedule for this coming week, I marked off a couple of days for cross training, a few days for rest and the rest for runs without my watch. I love my GPS watch but sometimes I’ve got to leave it at home and listen to my body without the constant cheeping of the miles and minutes ticking by.