how to listen to your body

healthly run
Above is a picture of Elyse and what can happen when you don't listen to your body.

As runners, we learn to push through pain and discomfort. However, we are often stubborn when it comes to listening to our own bodies.

When you are in tune with your body, you can recognize the signs that tell you to rest to prevent the onset of an injury. Runners that can recognize these signs often choose to ignore them, and push through the pain because we don't want to miss a workout, but listening to what your body needs is the best way to keep you running strong.

Any time I have ever had a running injury, I always look backwards to what occurred leading up to the injury. Every time, there were warning signs - and now, after 12 years of competitive running and two stress fractures this year, I finally know when I am in danger of another injury.

For me, the signs that I am overtraining or need to take an extra day off begins with nagging pains in a tendon. Often, the pain is not bad enough to warrant a day off, but it's enough for me to be aware of it. Secondly, my injuries are always preceded by a bad cold or flu. Before both of my stress fractures, and a tendon injury in ’08, I came down with a lingering flu-like cold. Before my first stress fracture, I even lost my voice for a couple of weeks, but I foolishly did not take time off from running. Irritability is also a sign of overtraining for me.

Every runner is different. Often runners who are over-training report difficulty sleeping, an increased heart rate, or lack of motivation. The important thing is to recognize the warning signs that your body gives you.

As I become a more mature runner, I am more in tune with the needs of my body, especially during periods of intense training and racing. Last week, after a hard, 15 mile run, I felt a nagging in my ankle, coupled with feelings of stress. Instead of training through it, I took two days of complete rest, and visited the physical therapist to have it worked on right away. Those two things knocked out the nagging pain, and I probably prevented a more serious injury. Three days later, I went on to place 2nd in an 8k!

Listen to your body! Racing and hard training is enough of a challenge without being injured. Stay healthy out there.

How are you listening to your body?

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Thanks for sharing this vital info. Overtraining can derail all the hard work (months – even years of it). If I feel overly tired when I wake up for an early workout, I let my body rest. Also, a great low-impact “day off” suggestion is restorative or level 1-2 yoga class.

Comment by Lauren Clapperton — November 11, 2009 @ 4:42 pm


I totally relate to your story. I am struggling with an injury now and it has been devastating, as a runner myself. Maybe this time I will finally learn… Fingers crossed. Love it, best wishes!

Comment by Tiffany — November 11, 2009 @ 9:06 pm

very true, nice article

Comment by Kate — November 12, 2009 @ 10:13 am

Awesome tip Laura! Thanks!

Good luck healing your injury Tiffany!! With all of the rest, you will come back even stronger! -xo-

Comment by Elyse — November 12, 2009 @ 12:01 pm

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