I didn’t ask for your comments. This isn’t exactly a democracy here, sure you’re allowed to use your voice but don’t always expect that I’m going to be listening. Don’t you know who’s running the show around here?
With running there are so many mixed signals we must navigate through and try to decipher. What do I mean? Roll the internal monologue, “I feel like I’m not running but kicking my feet in front of me and hoping they catch me. After yesterday’s workout I knew it would be a bit of a crawl today…but am I supposed to be this tired? Hmmm, tempting to cut the run short today…no, stop being a weenie, suck it up, keep going. When’s the next hard workout going to be? I was sort of flat yesterday…am I supposed to be this tired? Maybe. Probably. Stop being a weenie.”
The never-ending internal debate. The thing is with distance running and training, you expect to be tired. You expect your body to rebel and beg you to cut it some slack. Sometimes you need to tell your legs to stuff a sock in it, then other times you need to tell the dictator in your mind that the ‘smart’ thing to do is actually ease up and rest. Decisions, decisions.
Then there is the whole injury issue, when to push it, and when to pull the plug. When you’re a runner you’re usually a creaky mess to a certain degree, there’s always a tightness here, a niggle there. The running politically correct answer is, “Always err on the side of caution,” but let’s be honest, how many of us runner runners sort of roll our eyes at that and think, “Oh, you Runner’s World, if I took a day off at every squeak I’d be a jogger.”
That said, the same runner runners have learned the trial by fire method and wound up stupidly running through points when they really should have stopped. So we’ve amended our RW barb to be, “I know my base level of ‘body squeaks’ but if there is suddenly something new I promise to really assess if I need to pull the plug.” From there any time something new DOES pop up, doesn’t everyone have a mini-panic attack fearing it is an injury? The rest of the day we kind of poke it, test it, massage, ice it, hoping it’s just some weird fluke thing that will go away as soon as it came.
Mixed signals, you see. How in the world are we supposed to get an accurate read on you, Body? Honestly…if you could just kindly shut up with all constant back and forth. If you weren’t constantly telling me you’re tired or you’re sore, and instead only dropped a comment in the box when I really did need to cut back I’d take you more seriously. You’re worse than the boy crying wolf, you’re the body calling mercy. Take your white flag and shove it.
The tug of war will always continue though. As we all age in runner years we get better at tuning out the white noise of complaining from our legs and do our best to pick up when a signal comes along that is worth listening to. Sometimes we miss them though, and other times we fall victim to the white noise fluff and should have ‘manned up.’
You live, you run, you learn.
Side Note: One reason having a coach is so beneficial is that they can do a lot of the thinking and ‘radio listening, white noise scanning’ for you. An outside observer can generally assess the situation with a more ‘sane’ mind and make the right decision in the moment for the runner. Sometimes a coach needs to say, “We’re backing off, you’re not just being a complainer or a weenie,” and other times they can be the firm dictator, “You’re doing another repeat…shut up and go, your recovery jog is over.”
1) There are tons of other back and forth instances where you have to tune out your body sometimes and learn to whip out the megaphone for others…what’s an example you have?
2) Opening the can of worms when it comes to runners and eating healthy; on one of the spectrum there are times when you’ve got to really up the energy consumption and go glutton on any form of calories then there is the other end where maybe that
bag of extra cookie wouldn’t be doing you any favors. How do you try to stay on top of your running fuel gauge?
3) Do you have a coach, are you self-coached, or do you follow some kind of training plan online?