Tuesday, March 6, 2012

On listening to your body...

"Listen to your body" is something that anyone who has ever done anything fitness related has heard over and over again. "Your body knows what its doing" "Your body knows what it needs" "Your body is telling you what to do" "Listen to it."

Yeah, well no offense to genetics (sorry, Mom and Dad!) but my body is a whiny little bitch. There. I said it!

Never being one prone to physical fitness, this new "fit" lifestyle is completely new to me. Sure, I danced as a child (up until college), I swam and dove competitively, and even played some team sports as a wee girl (didn't last long); but I was never the "give it my all" type of athlete. I was in it to participate. In it for the friends, in it for the "fun".

The first thing I ever found to be 'hard' (fitness related) was spinning. Riding a bike isn't hard, right? Well, I coughed and hacked my way through my first class and clutched my stomach trying to force the nausea away while shuffling my way home. My legs burned, my heart was pounding, so I spent most of the class sitting on the bike just pedaling along.

When I began running, everything hurt. My knees, my thighs, my butt actually moved up and down as I trotted down the road, leaving the muscle actually sore from impact. (Hint: compression pants are your friend!) My lungs burned, my heart raced, and my body was screaming "STOP! STOP! STOP RIGHT NOW!" So, I stopped. I always stopped.

Granted, there are times where walking is necessary, and I have stopped beating myself up over the absolute need to slow it down during a run; but, listening to my body often leads to me accepting less than what I can actually do.

Sure, my body feels like it knows what it needs.

"Rest today. Feel the hurt in your legs? It's because you did too much yesterday. Know what would be better? Order pasta in and just rest."


My body thought it knew what it needed 50 pounds ago. Now, I can power through a 45 minute spin class pushing myself harder each step of the way. I can push myself hard to get a tough workout even if the instructor, for lack of a better word, sucks. And running will eventually be the same. Body screaming "Stop!" or not, I'll show that little voice just how much more can be done.


Erin said...

Thank you for posting this. It's so difficult to stay motivated for longer than a few days at a time, but I'm really inspired by your story to continue running and get in tip-top shape! Sometimes your body only knows what you have been teaching it, particularly if you have had bad habits for so long (guilty!), so a little knowledge goes a long way!

Carolyn said...

While I completely agree with you, you have to also be aware of pain that actually means something. I ran for years,but could never work up to a very long distance because of horrible pain in my feet. I thought I was just a wimp and had to push through it. Eventually, it dawned on me that it wasn't normal. $200 later and a very cool pair of running shoes, the pain is getting better. Pain is only temporary, except when it isn't, and then it's just a pain in the ass.

Virginia said...

Oh absolutely, Carolyn. The "pains" I am referencing deal more with laziness and a very very long time of inactivity. My body would be perfectly happy camped out on the couch for hours on end, but I can't allow myself to do that! :)

And, I agree that a good pair of running shoes can make all the difference. I once left my good pair of sneaks at Craig's apartment and decided to use an old pair for running and the pain was awful!