Listen to Your Body/Personal Trainer


This past weekend I was entered to participate in the Mississauga Half Marathon on behalf of the ‘Guts to Run’ Team which supports Crohn's and Colitis Canada. I have been training for the last three months following the training plan as best as my work schedule would allow. Based on the longest run I was able to complete 18.5km. I knew that everything was on track until…

On the Thursday night before the event I had a hard time sleeping as I was having a bad cough due to a post nasal drip. The following afternoon, I drove to Mississauga to pick-up the bib/bags for myself and three friends that I was running the event with me. On Friday I still had the cough, so I started getting a little concerned.

Friday night didn’t go any better, I once again ended up on the coach sleeping in an upright position, and not because I was in the ‘dog-house’. On Saturday I did my usual spin class and personal training with a client but still had the cough every now and then. Finally I made the hard decision….not to run. 

As a coach, we sometimes have to make the hard decision to not push an athlete or ask them to withdraw from an event they have been training for.  I knew going in, with my present fitness I could have done under it under two hours, but being not a 100% would not allow me to perform at that level or worse make me sicker by stressing an immune system that is compromised because of whatever I was dealing with. 

This is the first time I can remember pulling out of an event after entering. Sure, there have been other times I have planned to enter and decided not to because of financial/date clash/etc. I have even started a 166 mile (267km) ride (Kingston – Negril via Montego Bay, Jamaica) knowing that my training had only a 100 mile effort in them. I rested at the 104 mile mark, got back on the bike road six more miles, and said nope not today. Sometimes we just have to know our limits, so we can return and fight another day. 

Recently I read a quote: “when life gives you lemons, sell them and buy wine." My wine for this past race was to still attend the event. I had to deliver the other bib-bags anyway, so I went with a camera and bicycle. I became the personal paparazzi of my friends and acquaintances. At the end of it I got in a 40km bike ride, made memories for those and more importantly, listened to my body and realized that I needed the rest/recovery.

If your trainer or body says take it easy today, sometimes it is best to listen to it. Isn’t that why you are working them?