Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Listen To Your Body

I've often been asked by my patients' what does "listen to your body" mean? When I say that to runners/ triathletes or especially my patients, I'm suggesting that they learn how to recognize their own body's fatigue or injury signals.

Most important in "listening" is to realize whether what you are feeling is real pain or just the discomfort of fatigue. You will definitely feel some strain if you have exceeded your limits be it running too fast, too long or both. This is normal as your body adapts to a greater load. Some minor aches and fatigue may linger on for a few days. If so have a day off or take a couple of easy sessions. I recall when I was a younger runner in my teens my calfs used to be so sore after track training for a few days especially early in the season. As I adapted and got stronger, they happened less at the later part of the season.

However, if you feel a sharp distinct pain in a specific area, if there is swelling &/or loss of range of movement, it means there is a more serious problem. Take a couple of rest days to prevent it from becoming worse. Seek help if it doesn't get better. This is especially so when you are racing. You may DNF for the present race, but at least you can probably race again later in the season. If you push on, you may actually be injured for the whole racing season.

I can testify to that, and I'm sure a lot of my patients (no names mentioned) can too.

Listen to your body. The longer you've been training, the better you will get at reading the signs of fatigue or injury.

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