Using Michael Jordan references is so cliche. But they work and he’s the greatest, so what are you going to do? One of MJ’s biggest strengths went unnoticed by the average fan. In a couple different interviews he talked about how intimately he was in tune with his body. Of course as a professional athlete you would assume that if your body is making you millions you would obviously take care of it. But we can think of numerous examples where this just isn’t the case. And MJ took it to another level. He knew how lifting weights, cardio training, and time on the court all affected his performance on any given night. Numerous times he talked about how in tune he was with this body and that his self-awareness (of his Airness) was a key component to his success.
The average athlete like myself has to follow this example. Your body will tell you things – some will be obvious and some more subtle. Two days ago I was on a four-mile run that was going really well until mile 3.25. I felt a tender soreness in my right ankle and I tried to run through it. I had never felt pain in this area before and it didn’t make sense to me where this was coming from. Then I thought back to work that day and remembered that I had stepped a little awkwardly over some branches and tweaked something. I stopped running right away.
Each situation is different. Other times in similar situations I’ll run through those pains. But the ankle wasn’t the only part of the equation: over the weekend I had run a fast seven-mile route and now on a fast four-mile run I was having foot problems. I thought to myself that it’s entirely possible that I’ve over-trained a little and my body can’t take the increased pounding like it used to. I may be right, I may be wrong; but I’m listening to my body and not taking chances.
Why? Because this year I’m running for people other than myself. Specifically I’m running for World Vision and you can join my team! I’m taking this training very seriously. But whether or not your training for a race or improving your health it is essential that you listen to your body.