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"Listen to your body" can be dangerous advice.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

It's almost always very good advice when your body tells you to back off and, if you're smart, you will. It's NOT good advice though, sometimes, when it tells you you're invulnerable and on top of the world. That's when the comment by ibinmsp on the "Getting tired" thread comes into play:

"Congratulations! BUT - remember that your body may have different plans."

Mark's account of his experience when he opened the Getting tired thread is graphic and it's good to see class endurance athletes like David (DMike) and now Rick (earnric) taking it on board.
The problem is that the feedback you get isn't always the whole story. Mark laid it on the line when he said:

"Physically I feel outstanding. No pain whatsoever and I can do all activities with no limitation. I know it's winter and I have time to get ready for all of next summers fun and games, but I am very impatient with the recovery thing. When I am awake I feel like I can run a marathon. Problem is I just can't stay awake."

I've done a few marathons and half marathons, both on the roads and rowing. My last road race was the 2000 London Marathon. I was 57 and my Wife and I were working out at Liz McColgan's lovely little gym in Carnoustie. (For non-runners, Liz is an athletics legend, world-class at everything from 1,500m to marathon, winner of the NY marathon in a world-record breaking debut marathon time, also won the London marathon and was devastating in winning the Tokyo marathon.)

With a few weeks to go my tail was up and I expected it to go well (by a non-serious, aged fun-runner's standard). It was great to have got into the heavily over-subscribed Millennium Marathon. However, I hadn't run a marathon for quite a few years and I was conscious of the fact that I hadn't put in anything like the mileage I should have and hadn't done many runs of 15m. plus since my last full marathon. Then I had been pretty fit and would occasionally play 6 rounds of golf at a weekend on a long, hilly parkland course, carrying my clubs. (This is only really on during the endless midsummer days here, in N.E. Scotland, where you can still read a newspaper in the garden at 10.30 p.m.) I always trained alone (except when I had been in university weightlifting, rowing and judo teams, many years earlier) and so I didn't consult Liz or any of the serious runners at the gym before going out on a 20 mile hill run as a final preparation before tapering off in the last week or two before the race. I ran 4 circuits of my usual 5 mile course and hit all of my mileage targets as I wanted and did the second 10miles faster than the first. On one steep downhill bend I bounded off the road because a car was coming and felt a slight twinge in my groin but finished full of running and really pleased with myself.

It was a few days later before I found myself hobbling with an uncomfortable injury. I got as much ultrasound treatment as possible and was determined to turn out whatever - possibly my lifetime last marathon, the Year 2000 London Marathon, and I'd raised sponsorship funds for a couple of charities, some of it from golf club buddies. I reached the start area barely able to walk properly and
fell back to between the 4 hour and 4 1/2 hour hordes so that I wouldn't have to push myself. After a while I got warmer and the injury began to ease but at about 8 1/2 miles out I got into an unlucky freak incident which nearly crippled me. With a few miles to go I could hardly move and could never have finished but for a little Irish male nurse who had caught me up and walked for miles with me to the last few hundred yards where he ran in so as to avoid alarming his kids who were looking out for him. I finally crossed the line at about 1 1/4 mph in just under 6 hours.

My Wife and Daughter had stood for hours expecting to see me and had become pretty concerned. Funnily enough this experience helped them last month when my lap op had to be finished with open surgery and took about four extra hours. They comforted themselves with remembering the 2000 London marathon!

To anyone who reads this far, please forgive the rambling reminiscences of an old man. The point is that my body hadn't signalled distress at the point of injury and I did more damage before it became evident. Then it told me in no uncertain terms. (I shouldn't have run of course but, hell, on the whole I'm still glad I did.)

Mark has shown that you can feel great and ready to take on the world but as ibinmsp said "your body may have different plans".

So, do listen to your body when it says stop BUT EQUALLY don't trust it when it says you can do anything, if common sense or expert advice is telling you otherwise. Follow foxhd's advice and you won't go far wrong.

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