One thing I have learned about training is that there are a hundred and one different philosophies regarding when it is appropriate to train, how important rest days are, whether or not “over training” is really possible, and how best to recover. These opinions are set by certified trainers, nutritionists and fitness experts and despite all their education and certifications, they can’t seem to agree. So finally after a certain amount of research, I decided I would just listen to my own body. If it’s telling me to push, I’ll push. If it’s telling me to stop, I’ll push a little more just to be sure, and if it’s telling me to stop with a big flashing red light, I’m going to stop. I’ll call it the green, yellow, red system.
Yellow: speed up and get through it
Red: Stop, no questions, just do it
I get a yellow light from about the half mile mark to the two mile mark on nearly every run I do. My knee will ache, I’ll get a stitch in my side, or sometimes I’ll even feel nauseated. I think it’s just my body’s way of letting me know it wasn’t quite ready for this today. That’s the kind of thing you push through. Red lights look a little different. An intense pain or an ache that lingers through till the next day. Those are the kind of things you need to look out for.
Ultimately my advise to you would be the same advice I give myself. Listen to your body. It can handle quite a bit more than you give it credit for. (I heard a quote the other day: “Your legs aren’t giving out, your head is just giving up” Man did I have to remind myself of that a few times during yesterday’s 400m sprints!) But it can wear out. Keep an eye out for something that looks like a lingering injury or a pain that is new and unfamiliar but understand it’s supposed to hurt.