Listen to your body!

Heat MiserI learned a tough lesson today. It is one I share with my clients often and that is to always listen to your body and adjust your training accordingly.

That does not mean listen to your body and shut things down when your lungs and legs are burning whether from squats and lunges, or from repeats on the track. There are definitely stress signals your body provides.

Today was incredibly hot. It was 86 and with the humidity the heat index made it feel like 90. The workout I had planned took me to the local high school track. The heat waves were wafting up from the track before I even walked onto the track.

The planned workout today called for 20 minutes of an easy pace. I did my barefoot warmup series followed my dynamic stretching. Then I began my training.

I felt great and took the first 10 minutes way faster than the easy pace it called for despite the heat. After those first ten minutes I then turned and ran ten more minutes in the opposite direction after stopping briefly for water. Once again I was going for an easy pace and managed to run still a bit faster than I had planned.

Now the true test began. I stopped for another quick water break and was really feeling the heat. The next part of my training called for a four minute hard run followed by a three minute jog, which I would have repeated four times in total. This is when I knew I was in trouble.

My four minute hard pace was way slower than I wanted it to be but there was nothing I could do. I could feel my goal pace slipping away but I could not get it back. Thankfully the four minute interval was over. I had nothing left. I could not even manage the three minute recovery jog.

At this point I could barely even walk, and actually saw colors. I was shocked at how badly I felt. I have visited my wife’s family in Texas and Alabama the last two Julys. I have chosen to run in the heat of the day thinking that when I got back home to Connecticut I would feel better running. So I am used to heat.

So I did something that I never do. In fact I cannot remember the last time I quit on a non-treadmill run. I listened to my body. I did not stop because it was hard. I did not stop because I wanted an out. I needed to stop because my body was in obvious distress today. In fact as I type this I still feel wiped out.

Be smart as we head into the late spring and early summer, listen to the cues your body is giving you. Quitting because your body is in danger is not wimping out. One missed or less than completed workout is not making or breaking you. Please be smart. I am glad I chose to be today. Tomorrow is a new day and another chance for me to get back at it.

Heat Miser will have nothing on me the rest of the summer!

Happy running!