Listening to our bodies

Hi Gang!


Happy August! I know we’ve had some hot days, but try to savour being able to step out of your house without having the additional barrier of overcoming the cold. Seriously, that occurred to me the other day. You know when you have to psych yourself up for a run, not for the effort, but for the discomfort of the temperature? This is soooo much better. I am not taking it for granted.


Many of us are in the midst or about to ramp up for fall races. One thing I wanted to remind everyone as things get busier (especially when back-to-school hits in a few weeks – sorry!) is to listen to your bodies. They are way smarter than any plan. While I was away last week, I headed out for a regular run, and realized from the first step that I felt unusually tired. Strange – maybe I just needed to wake up and warm-up. But where my kilometers usually start flowing more easily, they remained very slow and lethargic. My body would not allow me to go faster than a minute slower than my usual pace, and I stopped and walked a couple of times to make it through 6K. Odd. I hadn’t been working so hard previously that I needed a huge recovery day. Then that night I came down with a cold. I had had no signs of it coming, but my body knew I needed to rally my resources and stop wasting energy running. I thought: how interesting and smart that it just doesn’t let me recklessly spend energy it knows it will need. And it’s not just when we’re about to get sick. I think we receive the same signals when we’re getting injured. I was talking to a new runner about why more experienced runners tend to get injured less, and I said I think part of it is that we’re just better at reading the signs. Some of them are very subtle and are just patterns that we have learned to intuitively recognize. It’s not something you can describe and write in a text book – it’s just a lived experience of learning to listen to your body. I also believe that motivation plays a big role in this. Motivation is latent energy. When you have a lot of it, you’re probably good to go. It’s pretty normal for motivation to wax and wane, but if it’s been waning for longer than usual, it’s probably a sign that your body doesn’t have the resources to do what you’re asking it to. Sometimes it’s a super easy fix and eating a sandwich can boost your motivation back up! But sometimes it goes deeper and your body is trying to tell you something. As a coach I try to help people interpret the signals, but we’re all best off if we can learn to be master communicators with our own bodies – they are smart and are talking to us – we just have to learn to listen.


Tomorrow’s workout – back to Lakeshore and Leslie! 6:05 drills, 6:15 GO. This is a classic descending ladder. A great way for those building for longer races to get in some km’s without being overly repetitive in distance or pace.


  1. 1600-1200-1000-800-600-400-200 (rests: 3 min, 2min, 1:45, 1:30, 1:15, 1:00). Paces: start at Half Marathon pace and work down.
  2. If newer to workouts or just getting back into it, start at 1200.
  3. If going by time: 6-5-4-3-2-1-30sec w rests as above
  4. If racing the TrackSmith 5000 on Thursday: easy 20 min shake + strides


That is all – see you in the am!