I don’t know how to take the “listen to your body” people. Sometimes that point actually does make a little bit of sense… Until you really break it down into what that saying means.
As an example of what I’m getting at here, let’s say I’m riding a 4-minute mile (15 mph average) on my road bike, ten miles a day a few days a week and that gets me winded and sore. Should I listen to my body and take a few days off?
Uh, no. Maybe, just maybe, I should listen to my body and get that bike to the shop for a proper fitting because you’re not supposed to be that uncomfortable on your bike. I’d be willing to bet my lunch that in the vast majority of cases, the interpretation of what the body is saying is the problem, not what the body is “telling me”. Now there are limits of course, but the question is this: Am I really at the limit in the first place?
For instance, I took a day off on Thursday for the drive down to Georgia. Then I took Friday off because we got in at noon and took the boat out on the lake for a bit of swimming and tubing. I rode on Saturday and attempted one of the hardest climbs I’ve ever done – it was a short ride, just 16 miles, but I got in a heck of a workout in those 16 miles. Then I took Sunday off for rain. I rode again on Monday and Tuesday, attempting my nemesis road both times at the end. For the rest of the day yesterday we were out in the sun, swimming, tubing and generally having about as much fun as two families can have on vacation. This morning I’m just a little bit sore. So, should I “listen to my body” and take a day off, chilling indoors and sleeping?
If you answered yes, I weep for you. This is the time to pull a Jensie! “Shut up legs, and by the way, we’re going even farther today and you’re going to like it. Then we’re going back out on the lake after we take a bit of a bath in a vat of sunscreen and we’re going to tube and swim and have about as much fun as two families can have on vacation again“.
The point is, and I really don’t know how to put this delicately… While I must listen to my body, I must always remember that I’m the boss and while taking it easy now and again is allowed, I mustn’t fall prey to confusing “listening to my body” with my melon trying to convince me that “this is good enough”. If I’m not completely wiped out after a workout at least two or even three times a week, it most certainly is not “good enough” – and my body won’t be telling me to take it easy, that would be that lazy sliver of crap left in my brain that I still haven’t managed to squash yet.
17 miles. Max speed 42.7 mph. 1,200 feet of climbing. Satisfaction.
Gotta run, the lake is calling my name.