Say What, Body?

Runners have a phrase they quote for a number of different situations. It goes like this: “Listen to your body.”

“Listen to your body” is supposedly a guiding principle that helps us know when to push, when to hold back, when to go a few extra miles or end the session early, etc. I’ve noticed, however, a deep flaw in that advice.

Living in south Florida, there are many days when temperatures are in the 80s with 90 percent humidity and higher – and that’s at 6:00am or earlier, before sunrise. Maybe it’s just me, but this body isn’t exactly sending messages like “Let’s go out and suffer for a couple hours. It’ll be fun.” Instead, I hear “Hit the snooze button,” and “Crossword puzzles might be a really nice alternative hobby.”

What’s a runner to do? In those situations, most of the athletes I know simply ignore the old adage and pay no attention to what the flesh is saying, at least the stuff that would have them pack it in. He or she hits the streets anyway. The sweat pours out in rivers. The body temperature and heart rate soar, even at moderate paces. There are moments of misery.

Then comes the end of the workout and the incredible feeling of accomplishment. Euphoria. The runner’s entire being is high-fiving itself with shouts of “That was great!”

And now we’re listening.


One comment

  1. The problem I have with “listen to your body” is that my body tends to mumble and it’s hard to know for sure what it’s telling me. It’s only after it’s too late to turn back that it begins talking up a storm. I can’t always make out every word, but aaaaaeeeeiiiiii!!! is often a recurring phrase.


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