Some of my friends are amazed when they find out that I get up at 4:30 (or earlier) to run during the week. They comment that they could never convince themselves to get out of bed. I admit, it’s tough, but it feels amazing when you do it. I don’t always want to get out of bed, especially on the days when the alarm goes off and there is a soft, warm cat curled up next to me. (His response to the alarm is usually to moan and burrow into the blankets.) But I get up and workout just the same.
But every so often, there comes a day when my body truly doesn’t want to get out of bed. So I do a quick mental survey. Am I just tired? How have I been feeling? Am I getting sick? Unless there are obvious signs I’m getting sick (sore throat, headache), I get out of bed and get dressed anyway. I might as well give the workout a shot. Worst case, I get a couple of minutes in and realize it’s not happening and give up.
Sometimes, it’s hard to listen to your body. We are so often training for a specific race. I’m currently a few weeks into a training plan that takes me into January. I planned it so that there is some padding in case I miss a long run due to injury or illness, but making the decision to skip what I consider a critical run in my training can be difficult.
When my runner’s knee flared up a few months ago, I had to convince myself that yes, rest was the best option. It didn’t matter that I needed to train. If my knee was sore, I wouldn’t be able to race at all. It was better to go into the race slightly under-trained than to risk injury.
But I admit, even I don’t always make the best decisions. A few weeks ago, my quad was achy. I wasn’t sure what I had done, but it hurt. But I had a 13 mile training run on the schedule and had plans to run with friends. I didn’t want to miss this run. So I rested, I put on my compression tights, and I hoped for the best. Luckily, it turns out the compression was just what I needed and I felt great after the run. But it certainly wasn’t the smartest decision.
It’s tough to determine when to workout and when to listen to your body and take an unscheduled rest day. When you can’t decide, my best tip is to just give it a shot. You’ll know within a few minutes whether or not you can finish the workout. And if you can, you will feel much better knowing that you did something good for your body.