Sunday, March 30, 2008


Hi ladies! So I guess I'll be the first non-Julia to post here. :)

My question is how do you know when to stop? Let me explain. I ran 10 miles this morning with Deirdre. After only 2 miles, I was completely exhausted. And not just your normal first-two-miles warmup. I felt like I was running up a steep hill. My lungs were burning and every muscle in my legs were in pain. I couldn't figure out what exactly was wrong. Of course, I figured I'd done this a million times and I knew I could push through it. But the 5-mile turn around I was running 11-minute miles and thought I was going to collapse. I sent Deirdre back on her own and started back very slowly. I actually had to walk about 4 times on the way back.

I would venture to say that as runners we all know our bodies quite well. That said, I have to admit that I knew after the first two miles that I should not run the full 10. But I also knew that I could do it, regardless of whether I "should." I wanted to use this 10-miler as a training run for my upcoming half, but instead it put me out for the rest of the day. I haven't been this exhausted in a long time.

Tell me -- Do you listen to your body when it's telling you to stop? Do you always push through even when deep down you know you shouldn't? How do you reconcile the need to listen to your body and the need to push through your weak moments? How do you decide which is which?


  1. yay for molly's first post! fun, fun. i can definitely relate to what you felt on saturday and i think there are two things to be aware of:

    1) what you said in the last paragraph is key: "even when deep down you know you shouldn't" ... if you know you shouldn't, then don't. there is no harm in calling it a day every once in awhile.

    2) hard runs are good - if you're NOT thinking that you shouldn't. when those hard runs come, i pretend i'm at mile 25 of a marathon and just push. it doesn't matter how slow/fast you're running. when you push through those really hard moments, you condition your body and mind to become strong. there is so much value in that.

    i also think that sometimes your body just has to get the bad runs out - they can't all be fantastic. so now that the bad one is out of the way, your half marathon will be fantastic.

  2. one more thing ... sorry!

    there are so many factors into why you had that bad run. use it as a learning tool: what did you have for dinner the night before? what sort of stress levels were you dealing with this week? how much fluid did you drink this week? how many training runs happened during the week, etc? that way you can fine tune for race day.

  3. Good advice, Julia.

    I went to the doctor this morning (my lungs have been bothering me and that was what made Saturday's run so hard). He says I'm experiencing mild asthma symptoms probably due to congested sinuses. Mild asthma! Scary! So I have an inhaler that he told me to use before I run. I really hope it works, because I don't know if I can handle a repeat of Saturday. Definitely not a push-through-it kind of problem, right? :)

    But yes, finishing a hard run because you knew you could push through makes you feel awesome. Finishing a hard run you knew you shouldn't have finished isn't a reward--just hard on your body.

  4. I've gotten much better at listening to my body lately and have quit some runs. I tried running in the afternoon last week and had the worst cramping in my chest. Maybe I forgot to pump and the weight was affecting something? Who knows? Either way, I called it quits after a mile. My body does not usually cramp, and this kind of cramping started immediately every time I tried to run again. This was also the first time I attempted to take Sarah out in the running stroller by myself (with Kaylynn). It's too bad the afternoon run didn't go well since Sarah fell asleep about 5 minutes into the run. I'm an advocate for quitting when severe pain is involved.

  5. i have definitely finished a run that i shouldn't have, not because of respiratory problems but when i've had an IT-band injury. since then, i've been a lot more careful about making sure i'm healthy enough to run, but i still probably push myself too much on occasion... especially when i haven't been consistently training. i think it's good to push yourself, but i think, generally, most of us are way too hard on ourselves in all aspects of our lives...