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Listening to Your Body Over Your Program



Runners often follow strict training programs to improve their performance, chase personal records, or conquer marathons. While structured training plans are valuable, there's a one aspect that should never be overlooked: listening to your body. In this blog, I want to explain something valuable that I've learnt in my 25yrs as a runner and how this approach can lead to better long-term success and injury prevention.


The Body's Communication


Early Warning System:

Your body is equipped with an intricate early warning system. It can detect fatigue, muscle tightness, pain, and other signals long before they become serious issues. Ignoring these signals in favor of your training program can lead to injuries and setbacks.


Individual Variation:

Every runner is unique. What works for one person may not work for another. Listening to your body allows you to adjust your training based on your own strengths, weaknesses, and recovery abilities.


Adaptation:

The human body is incredibly adaptable. It responds to training stress by getting stronger and fitter, but it also needs time to recover and adapt. Pushing through fatigue and discomfort can hinder this adaptation process.


Why Listening to Your Body Matters


Injury Prevention:

Overuse injuries like shin splints, stress fractures, and tendon issues often result from ignoring the body's signals. Paying attention to pain and discomfort can help you address issues before they escalate.


Long-Term Success:

Running is a lifelong pursuit, and longevity in the sport depends on staying injury-free. Prioritising your body's needs over a strict program promotes sustainability and prevents burnout.


Performance Gains:

Counterintuitively, listening to your body can lead to performance gains. Rest when needed, and you'll come back stronger. Pushing too hard too often can lead to stagnation or regression.


How to Listen to Your Body


Pay Attention:

During and after runs, be mindful of any unusual sensations, pain, or discomfort. Keep a training log to track your body's responses to different workouts.


Adjust Your Training:

Don't be afraid to modify your training plan based on how you feel. If you're fatigued or sore, consider swapping a hard workout for an easy run or rest day.


Prioritise Recovery:

Give your body the time it needs to recover. Adequate sleep, nutrition, and active recovery techniques like stretching and foam rolling can make a significant difference.


Seek Professional Advice:

If you're dealing with persistent pain or injuries, consult a sports therapist. They can provide personalised guidance and rehabilitation strategies.


Embrace Periodization:

Incorporate periodization into your training plan, which includes planned rest and recovery periods. This structured approach ensures that recovery is an integral part of your training.


Conclusion


While training programs offer structure and guidance, they should not be followed blindly. Runners who prioritise listening to their bodies gain a valuable edge in their pursuit of long-term success and injury prevention. Remember, it's not a sign of weakness to adjust your training when needed; it's a testament to your commitment to running strong and injury-free for years to come. Your body knows best, and by listening to it, you'll unlock your true running potential.


Happy running!


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