Whether in sport or other aspects of life, it isn’t always wise to constantly do more and more. There comes a point where more can actually do more harm than good. It is often difficult to see this, and we recognise the need to step back when the damage has already been done.
Looking back on previous years, I am able to see how much I have grown as an athlete and a person. Previously I would’ve pushed on through any niggle, no matter how bad it got (I ran through stress fractures in both legs for months!) as I felt this was the ‘strong’ to do. I also pushed through barriers of hunger because I felt that was the ‘right’ thing to do to get faster. I was wrong and both led to a lot of destruction. Being able to recognise when the need to be smart arises is a very powerful trait to possess, and here is how we can stop ourselves before the damage is done.
Listen to your body
Our bodies are very clever things. They speak to us, and tell us how they are feeling/what they want, just in a language that isn’t always very explicit and can be difficult to understand. This means we have to listen very carefully and recognise as soon as something isn’t quite right. It is important to recognise the signs your body makes, and take it seriously when it tells you something different to normal. If you are feeling energy dead in a session, take a few days to get on top of yourself before sessioning again. If part of your body is in discomfort, cross train or rest until it feels better. Taking a few days or weeks here and there to get your body back to its normal state, is much better than months and months.
Detach yourself from yourself
It can be hard to always look at our own situation with a clear mindset. We constantly see ourselves differently to the way we see others. We are much harsher on ourselves and don’t always think rationally about the consequence of particular behaviours. However, by thinking about our situation as though they were the experiences of someone else, allows us to consider the best way to act. What would you say to a friend who was feeling the way you are? You would have a rational response. Whatever that is, respond in that way.
Look at the bigger picture
Think to yourself. What are you trying to achieve? Are you in it for the long run? If the answer is yes, think about if what you do now will benefit you in the long run? Pushing through whatever you are feeling now won’t benefit you in the future, but being kind to yourself and respecting your body will. There is nothing to be gained. Even if you end up having to take a few months to get yourself strong and healthy, it is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Remember the bigger picture.
There is a lot of value in being SMART. More training, and less fuelling isn’t a smart or constructive thing to do. The route that involves malnourishment and battering your body isn’t the one that will lead you to a better place. Often, taking what we see as the ‘easier’ physically but frequently smarter option (and mentally harder), will lead to a much brighter place.
Therefore, I want to remind you to think smart, because often the smart choice isn’t physically the hardest, but it is mentally. It is the option that makes us feel uncomfortable, because it seems surprisingly sensible.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!