Listen to your body

Last weekend I cycled 80 miles. I sat on my bike for 6 hours, and was out on the course for 7 hours and 20 minutes.

This week I decided to give my body a break and did no excercise at all, apart from walking lots. I also had a Deep Tissue Massage which was pretty painful (!), but helped to work out the knots in my quads and glutes.

On Sunday I decided to ease back into things, and went for a run. I got about 2 miles down the road and really wasn’t enjoying myself. My knee hurt, my lungs were gasping for breath and I felt really hot and sticky. I stopped to stretch and started thinking about my list of goals for September and began to feel a little panicky.

Listen to your body

On 11th September I was supposed to be tackling the Great North Run – a pretty hilly half marathon – and had just 5 weeks to build up my running fitness to be able to complete the distance.

After Saturday’s run I’ve decided that this would be foolish. I know that one bad run doesn’t necessarily mean I should give up, and that things were bound to feel difficult after having a week off and transitioning back to running from cycling. However, I also think its important to listen to your body – both physically and mentally – and to know which goals are realistic and which would be detrimental to my long term fitness plans.

Goal 1

Build up my running from barely 3 miles to 13.1 miles in 5 weeks with an already dodgy knee and and a high risk of further injury. Complete the course, but probably “just get round” and not really enjoy the experience.

Goal 2

Focus on training for a 10k PB at Run Reigate or the Women’s Running 10k, increasing mileage slowly and building in yoga and strength training. Take the pressure off a little, and hopefully enjoy the experience!

Listen to your body

After much deliberation I’m going for Goal 2.

It may seem like I make excuses a lot – a month ago I wrote “To Ride or Not to Ride” expressing similar doubts about RideLondon and it makes me quite embarrassed to yet again feel like I can’t fulfill a goal.

But while RideLondon was mainly nerves – I had trained, I was just lacking confidence with cycling being a new experience for me – this time I feel like my concerns are justified. All training plans tell you not to increase your mileage too quickly and I just can’t face grinding out the training runs for the sake of it. Gritting my teeth to get it done seems like such a waste, when I should be relishing the experience of taking part in the world’s largest half marathon.

For that reason, I’m burying my guilt at deferring my Great North Run place till next year and respecting the fact that I am able to listen to my body, and know when to scale it back. Yes, I will lose some money but the relief I felt once I had mentally made that decision told me it was the right one. Immediately I was excited by the prospect of building a 10k training plan that will help me to improve and do the best I can, and perhaps get a PB!

I firmly believe that it’s important to do what’s right for you, even if admitting I’ve backed out of a challenge makes me feel a little inferior for a while…

Come back on Thursday to see my training plan and hear more about my involvement with Run Reigate.

Have you ever had to make a hard decision about a big goal?

Beki x

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