Learning to listen, really listen, to your body is not an easy thing to do.
Which seems a little crazy because we live with our body every day. How hard can it be to figure out?
Well, for me anyway, the first big challenge is that my body likes to play tricks on me. It tells me it's tired or it's sore but, more often than not, it's just being crankypants.
I am a runner and I love to run. And yet the number of times my body has told me not to go for a run vastly outnumbers the times it has sent me off galloping down the streets. Quite often, I will head out feeling exhausted and sore. I staunchly ignore all messages telling me to go home. I run through the stiffness, fight the familiar sluggish feeling and...guess what? My body stops pouting by about kilometer 4, starts feeling pretty good by kilometer 6 and actually starts enjoying the run by kilometer 8. I arrive back home full of energy and feeling great.
That being said, occasionally there are times when my body says something and I snap to attention.
Last night was one of them.
I headed out for my 13k run. Three minutes in, I knew we had a problem. There's a difference between tired, sore legs and the beginnings of an injury. The difference is subtle but I've learned from past mistakes how to recognize it.
I could have ignored my body. It was sending the same message it always does: I'm tired, I'm sore, turn around.
Instead I stopped every ten minutes to stretch, slowed my pace and cut my run in half. It takes strength to push through a difficult run but it takes savvy to know when pushing through is a very bad idea.
My body and I have a long way to go yet before we cross that finish line on March 27th. If we don't work together, we'll never make it.