Avoiding Overdose

Fitness rocks.

Know what doesn’t rock? Even at all?  Pain.

Most exercise-related injuries occur when people push themselves harder than their bodies are ready to be pushed. When we’re ready to do the hard work, we often decide to dive in and give it 100%. That’s fantastic. But it’s smart to pay attention to the space between what we want from our bodies and what our bodies are actually able to give us.

When I decided to run a 5k, I trained for months to get myself ready. It was hard work, but little by little I got stronger and faster.

Well, after accomplishing my 5k goal, I dropped running like a hot potato. Some workouts make me happy to be alive. Running does not.

But one Saturday last month, I wasn’t in the mood to go to the gym and my dear husband was filling our home with the delicious smells of fresh baked goods. Running away seemed like a good idea. So, despite not having run a single mile in months, I decided to hit the mile track.

I aimed to run 5k in under 30 minutes, just like I did when I reached my goal months before.

Y’all – I almost died.

Ok, not really. But I almost gave myself heat stroke. For real.

First of all, I had NEVER tried running in the summer. I did all of my training in the cool air of spring. My lungs would occasionally burn from the cold, but my body temperature was always fine once I got going.

Turns out – summer running is a whole other thing.

I ran the first two miles without too much trouble, but I couldn’t understand why my pace was so much slower than I wanted it to be. I work out every day! I should be able to do this!

I was pushing as hard as I could, and it wasn’t working. Also, my knees were PISSED. They were not at all excited about the pounding.

Midway through the third mile, I had to stop. I *never* quit on a workout. Even if I can’t keep up with the people in my workout video, the people in my class, or the people beside me on the cardio machines, I never give up.

That day, I gave up. I had to. I was dizzy, losing vision, and feeling weak.

If I stand, I might fall.

If I stand, I might fall.

I was not in running condition. I was especially not in summer running condition. I had to sit in my car for a little while before I felt safe to drive. It was crazy.

When the heat issues passed, I realized how much my knees hurt. They continued to bother me for days to follow. No major injuries, but I had asked too much of them.

The Resident Trainer says he sees this kind of thing with clients all the time. Especially if the clients have a super-studly athletic past. Men who used to be Navy SEALs know what their bodies are ultimately capable of. They expect their bodies to be able to perform at high levels. But if they take a few years off and come back to the gym expecting to bang out SEAL workouts, they might hurt themselves. Badly.

If you’re just getting started, be mindful of easing yourself into your new lifestyle.

But if you’re like me and you are fit enough to expect a lot from yourself, don’t forget that you still have limitations.

Can I run a sub-30 5k again? Sure I can! Even in the summer! But can I do it now? As it turns out, I can’t.

Drive your body with your brain. But if your body throws up a Check Engine light, remember that there’s no shame in tapping the brakes.

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