Thursday, January 27, 2011

Listening To Our Bodies

I think we've all been there before.  We've been so determined. So focused on a goal.  So absorbed by our training, our plan, our goals to get to where we hope to be.  To accomplish the feat that will make us feel victorious.  Glorious.  Successful and satisfied.  Sometimes we get so focused on staying on track and following a "plan" that we forget to listen to our bodies.  We forget to realize that it is always okay to go off our path for a quick change of pace or direction if it means keeping our bodies healthy and injury free.  Just like with a good road trip...sometimes we need to take unexpected potty stops or we get tired and have to pull over for a pick me upper!  Without these stops or breaks we might not get to our destination at all. Isn't changing our plan or slowing down more important than never getting there at all? 

This is where I'm at this week.  I'm pulling into a rest stop with my training plan and I'm listening to my body.  This isn't always something I would have done but after reading so much about injuries and broken hearts of athletes who pushed themselves too hard or had the misfortune of hurting themselves and now can't run at all, I'm trying to learn from their stories as much as possible. My own recent injury is fresh in my mind as well. We all know that as runners, we can be a bit neurotic or obsessive sometimes (not all of us) and missing a day or two sometimes seems like the end of the world.  It is easy to feel Out of Control when we don't stick or our plan as we had expected.  Not to mention how our mood changes when we don't get our running "fix" that we are used to getting. But, I'm trying to play this thing smart.  I only have one body. One pair of strong legs, arms and feet.  One.  And I have to take care of it.  

As most of you who read my blog know, I've been experiencing some pain in the side of my leg and was thinking it was IT Band pain.  After so much great advice, googling it , and talking to friends, I'm thinking I'm right about it being my IT band. RockStarTri mentioned that sometimes woman feel the pain more in the outside of the hip rather than the knee.  This seems to be the case for me. 

I plan on posting a blog soon with all of the wise advice I received from everyone.  I also found a good video that shows me some good stretches and ways to roll it out.  Thank you everyone!

As of now I'm:
*  Taking it easy
*  Slowing down with my plan this week.  Yesterday I didn't run...only rolling and stretching
*  Tonight still not much running...spin class and then Yoga
*  YOGA...I am going to make this part of my weekly workout routine.  I think it is so important.  Meg from Meg Runs mentioned a few yoga stretches that help her with her IT band.  
*  Jill advised me to roll it and stretch it every day whether it hurts or not. She has also e-mailed to check in...thanks Jill.   
*  Miss Zippy (Amanda) has really been good about reminding me to NOT PUSH IT. Thinking of her and her recovery and hoping she can be running strong again soon!
*  LISTENING to my BODY.  

Today it is a pretty dull pain so I think it is getting less angry.  I feel pretty sore for some reason in my lower back and hips...probably from all the painful rolling and stretching.  

Thanks again to all of you for your advice and wonderful and wise reminders!  Once again, this blog is a HUGE blessing to me.  I've learned so much and I am so grateful for the resource that it proves to be for me in so many areas of my life.  

Are you remembering to listen to your body? 
I am now but I have not always done this.  When I was younger it used to be all about being tough and pushing through pain that I should have listened to.  

Would you describe yourself as obsessive, needing to be in control, or a bit neurotic about running or other things in your life?  
Once again, I am much less so now that I'm older.  I still get obsessive about things...if I have something to plan that is important...a presentations, training for a race, etc.  Training for a race and being on track with my plan helps me feel in control with other areas of my life.  

Do you feel okay about going off track of your plans when you need to or when things come up?  
After experiencing what it is like to be seriously injured (my complete hamstring tear in August) I realized just how precious my body is and how I have to take care of it in order to keep my lifestyle the way I want it to be.  I'm pretty good at reevaluating things in life and changing direction if I need to.  

Happy Thursday,


  1. toady i'm not listening to my body, i'm listening to my emotions. my training plan gives me two days off and i usually only take one. but today? i feel like resting. and not being out of the house for 2 hours. so i'm eating dinner with mr. dawn. first time all week :)

  2. If there is one thing I've learned from my injuries ~ it is to stretch! Stretch! Stretch.

    I was always that person (and I know there are a bunch out there ;-) that said "I don't stretch at all...and I never have any problems."
    YA! But then you turn 40 and all those years of not stretching bite you in the butt BIG.TIME. Well, they bit my butt anyways.

    The other thing I learned is to enjoy where you are at. Once injured, I just wanted to run again...not to be sidelined. Who cares about races or speed or anything...I just wanted to feel my body move fast in a forward motion again.

    Hopefully, I've learned :-)

    Thinking of you and loving that you are listening to your body!

  3. Good for you! Yay for listening to your body! Its voice is often ignored and so very important. As hard as it is, it is usually the right thing to do.

    I sure hope you are feeling excellent again very soon!

    (and don't hold my love of you-know-who against me ;-) )

  4. great post Amanda! I think a lot of us lose focus on listening to our bodies. Thanks for keeping all of it in perspective. Rest up, so you can come back at it better than ever :)

  5. I usually listen to my body and sometimes I push. I'm usually well balanced and not overly controlling or obsessive over something but I definitely have more TypeA tendencies than not. :)

    I try to turn every situation into a positive one so training plans don't skur me. :)

    It sounds like you're doing a great job taking care of yourself!

  6. That's good that you're listening to your body! I'm pretty good at resting when I feel I need to rest.

    I definitely need to be in control, otherwise I panic a little.

    Sometimes I freak if I am off my training plan but most of the time I try to just relax about it.

  7. Were you in my house last night and listening to my thoughts??

    I was planning on doing an easy 3 miles last night. The night before I did 4.5 in a relatively speedy time, for me. I knew my laminated scheduled called for 3 miles or cross training. Normally I would have said "Okay, just do it." But last night something told me to just take the night off. At first I felt guilty. Then I realized that perhaps subconsciously my body was telling me it needed a night off. I'm glad I rested. I think as my miles are getting higher every Sunday I really do need to listen to what muscles and joints are telling me mid-week. I mean this half marathon is only 1 month away. I've been working too hard to over-do it now and then hurt myself.

    Okay, I do still feel a little guilty. But I'll get over it when I get home from work and head out for a lovely, warm, evening run!

  8. I think running injuries are part of the game. I truly believe that the only way to not get injured is to always run slow, or never achieve your full potential as a runner (even elite runners get injured!). Having said that, I think there are things we can do to prevent injuries, which work 90% of the time. Foam rolling is one of them. It works SO well. Compression socks are fabulous, too (and those that are 9.99 at Walgreens work as well as the expensive socks)! Ice baths, yup, even in the winter. Strength for the legs, mainly lateral movements that are working muscles not worked on by running (e.g., stabilizers).
    I think it is smart to take it easy and crosstrain. When I had ITB, biking hurt it, so I just swam.
    Good luck, you'll be running pain free in no time!

  9. I forget if we have talked about this already or not but have you read the book Run Faster by Brad Hudson? He emphasizes listening to your body and altering your training as necessary.

  10. You are a wise woman. It is not always the easiest choice to slow down is it?
    I think with age (I am a dinosaur so I know) we learn to apprecite our body a lot more and also want to take care of it so that it lasts longer. that is how I feel. now I hate going off plans..any not just training, it is hard to accept that things have to slow down or go a different way..working on that still...

  11. I say push through it - suck it up buttercup! (I may have given this same advice to someone else, who didn't believe me until his PT told him the same thing) (Oh yea, active recovery!)

  12. Glad you are listening to your body and I hope this pain goes away quickly. It's always so hard to hear about passionate runners being side lined!

  13. Like always, AMAZING POST!!! Girl, you are being so smart about this!! I am totally the obsessive type of person and I need to realize that no workout is worth getting injured over a workout! After my last knee injury I am trying to be oversensitive about little aches so that I know when to stop. It breaks my heart to read about other runners that are injured because we know how much we all love it:) I can't believe your whole hamstring tore, that is so scary!!! Yay for spin:)
    Your morning sounds so fun to me....especially the 'mama' part:)

  14. I am DETERMINED to do yoga at least 1/week during my training this spring. I have high hopes that it will really help me! I've had to really learn to listen to my body b/c I've had to deal with plantar fasciitis, on and off the past few years... great post and great wisdom!

  15. I ref for roller derby and the IT band syndrome is one of our most common overuse injury/issues. Some say it's work in women as our hips make our legs naturally move inwards when we walk and move. One of the things we do to get past this, and yes derby girls are the worst at pushing to hard, is to have a more open stance when running and skating. We also spend a lot of time working on hip related exercises. Have you ever taken a gymnastics class as a kid? Remember the straddle sit ups or the lay on your stomach and kick your feet like swimming in closed and straddle position? THose are classic hip strengtheners and help your stance. And of course you know, ice, compression, stretching and nsaids!

  16. Its so hard to actually do what our body is telling us, ya know? But you are right, you are listening. Staying in tune with your body is humbling and it makes you a better athlete. Ice, rest, yoga, and love!

  17. You are so smart in listening to your body! I'm dealing with some ITB issues right now and it sucks! I looked up a bunch of stretches too and am planning on starting an ITB regimen tonight!
    I hope yours feels better soon!

  18. Kovas is so wrong. Puh-leaze. That's so not what happened. The reason why I had to go to the PT in the first place is because I didn't listen to my body.

    It's a fine line. I knew in my gut that I should not have done a very intense speed session 3 weeks ago, but I "sucked it up". My tibialis muscle STILL hurts.

    Active recovery is okay, in some instances. You are doing the right thing for sure. My PT said it was okay to run with muscle pain as long as it doesn't get worse during the run. Oftentimes, when the muscle warms up, the pain gets less. Not running at the beginning of the injury may be more prudent.

    So, the moral of the story is to never listen to Kovas.

    How's that for a long Comment. Good news: I'm going to the post office tomorrow.

  19. Great post! happy to hear you are feeling better today!

  20. For sure. As I've gotten older, I've come to understand how important it is to listen to my body and that my body may not be up for what I had planned. The 'No Pain, No Gain' motto is LONG GONE from my training.

    I hope you feel better! Foam roll and the stick will do wonders!

  21. 1. I pretty much listen to my body. My knee doesn't really give me much choice in the matter.

    2. My sister-in-law has described me as obsessive. Usually only on one thing at a time. I get into things with a vengeance, and when I get in over my head (which is normally, lol) is when I'm most committed to a training plan.

    3. A little off-track doesn't bother me. Losing a whole week like last week stressed me out, though, bc I don't feel like I have the general fitness/conditioning to do this marathon without getting in my training regularly. On the other hand, I have three kids, a full-time job, and lots of driving-to-practice duties and am fully aware that running is my hobby, not my life. Compromises must be made.

  22. Interesting comments tonight.

    I am glad that you are listening to your body- It shows respect for the "gift" we have to run and the experience of injury makes you wiser.

    There are some things I run through- to a point. It can be hard to tell when, though.

    Have a great night :)

  23. Interesting and good points. As for me listening to my body -- it's hard to ignore something that screams at me every day. Enjoy your "easy" time.