Know Your Limits

July 28, 2010

Time for a non-food related post!

But before I get to the good stuff, let me remind you that you have one day left to enter my giveaway. I’ll randomly pick a winner on my birthday, July 30th.

Anyway, on to the crux of the matter.

This is a representation of me this evening:

This is an artist’s interpretation of me post-running this evening:

I was spent. Exhausted. Pooped.

I ran with Caitlin and Emma tonight, and something was totally off for me from the beginning. My knee was being a brat and then I got a nasty stitch in my side about halfway in. I managed to last about 2.8 miles (I think?) before my knee said NO and I had to stop. The whole way home my stomach and chest were aching and I had to pull over at one point, taking deep breaths.

When I was halfway home, I realized my problemo.

I’m completely burned out.

You see, I decided a few weeks ago to up my exercise to five to six days a week, an hour a pop, switching between cardio and weight/circuit training. It’s been good for the most part – I’ve discovered my love for weight lifting (there will be a post on that soon, trust) and I’ve also learned to be more adventurous with my cardio (i.e. doing quarter mile sprint intervals on the dreadmill instead of chugging along on the elliptical for 50 minutes). But that’s about it.

I’ve never been one to dread going to the gym. Perhaps it’s the supa cute guy that runs the desk (and occasionally bends over to wipe off the bottom of the treadmills…mmm), or maybe it’s the fact that I feel super inspired and love running on the treadmill next to the others. I think I just like an excuse to be sweaty in public.


I think tonight I realized what I should have learned weeks ago…that working out six days a week, an hour a pop was only going to lead to guilt when I couldn’t fulfill my high expectations. Essentially, I was opening the door to my previous behaviors. I was starting to feel how I felt back in my compulsive exercise days – guilty, worried, and anxious. If I wasn’t “good enough” or didn’t work out for quite enough time, I would obsess over how I could do better. I once again started a food and exercise journal, and I found myself in a vicious spiral once again. A few days ago, I even Tweeted that I felt guilty for eating dark chocolate as well as having a scheduled rest day. Um, hello?!

My body was trying to tell me it was tired tonight. Caitlin made me stop running tonight because my knee was hurting me, but I was trying to ignore it (Thank you, Caitlin!!). I felt like I was weak, like I was quitting. I’ve run 10 miles before, why can’t I do this 3 mile loop? But you know what I figured out?

You’re not quitting if you’re listening to your body.

So, body, I’m going to start listening to you more. If that means skipping a workout to rest, that’s okay. If it means cutting my gym sesh short (and seeing Cute Butt Desk Guy less), that’s just dandy. I’m not going to die and the world won’t blow up because I missed a workout. Because it’s all gonna be okay in the end. And if it’s not okay, it’s not the end (thanks to whoever said that!).

And I think my body’s trying to tell me what it wants right now:

I’m so down.

14 Responses to “Know Your Limits”

  1. Yes, rest! I sometimes have a hard time listening to my body when I feel like I know better, but I always regret it later.

  2. Rest, rest, rest!!! I agree…always listen to your body! I always think I know best, and then my body kicks my butt…it’s a hard lesson to learn!!

  3. I know it is hard, but resting is the best thing! You will be back to new in no time ; )

  4. *Andrea* Says:

    “You’re not quitting if you’re listening to your body.”
    LOVE that girl! i completely agree… mindful awareness has taught me to be more mindful of my exercise and eating habits. if you listen to your body and trust it, life is so much more fulfilling 🙂 there’s definitely a sweet spot between that place of pain/uncomfortability and a healthy challenge

  5. kaztronomic Says:

    I think it’s great that you were able to recognize the signals your body is sending you, and, even better, you’re paying attention to it. You are so not a quitter! You’re a wise young woman who knows the signs that her body is wearing out, and you’re allowing for it to heal. ❤

  6. I think I am something akin to a Jedi Master when it comes to listening to my body 🙂
    Maybe that just comes with age, I dunno.
    It is certainly a wise thing to do, especially to prevent injuries, so listen up girlie 🙂

  7. Faith Says:

    I think all of us struggle with this from time to time. It’s hard to listen to our bodies when what we’re setting out to do in the first place is so “good” for us, but there really can be too much of a good thing. Gotta remember to take it easy or burnout is inevitable, and it’s a lot harder to get back in the groove after a two week hiatus than a one or two day rest period.

  8. jassy Says:

    you need to rest every now and then to let your body do its job well 🙂

  9. chelsey Says:

    Ahhh! I totally understand where you are coming from!!! Give your body a rest and just take some time off. It used to be really hard to listen to my body, and I went through a spurt over the last couple of weeks where I really didn’t listen. I ended up being tired, weak, and the shortest run seemed like a half marathon. I rested up and am good to go now!

    Hopefully your rest has the same effect!

  10. Emma Says:

    Good for you for listening to your body and not pushing it past its limits. Hopefully with some rest you’ll be back at it soon! I’d love to run with you again sometime! 🙂

  11. Rebecca Says:

    Go you!! I’ll never understand why doing nothing for an hour can be harder than hittin’ up the treadmill, but the fact that you can not only know when to do it, but actually take a rest is awesome. Way to recognize those behaviors and stop them before they get overwhelming!

  12. Kiersten Says:

    I hope you keep trying to listen to your body and give it what it wants. Go relax and have some fun!

  13. spoonfulofsugarfree Says:

    Relax and have some fun! Take a nap and lay out in the sun…

    I’m a competitive athlete and if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that rest is important! I take one day off every week, and after tournaments. The next day I feel rejuvenated and I play soo much better!

  14. indiechic927 Says:

    Dude… I know how ya feel! I’ve done this to myself countless times and am always feeling guilty for indulging in something that’s actually not bad for me, or for taking a day off of exercising because my body hurts. I feel weak and like I’m not good enough. I know where you’re coming from. I’ve been obsessive, but I’m starting to realize that if I don’t listen to my body and give it the rest up it needs, my runs that I take later will hurt worse than the ones I’m doing now. I used to run cross country, so running 8 miles was nbd.. but nah… not after countless months of not running worth a darn. 😉
    Good on ya for listening to your body. 🙂 Woot! Haha

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