This article first appeared on Women’s Running
Don’t be that runner—ok, we’ve all been that runner. The one that thinks she’s the exception to the rule. We get injured, we need to cross-train, we need to rest, blah, blah, blah. We never want to hear it, but after the umpteenth time a doctor, friend, family member or reasonable stranger has pounded common sense into us, we might finally listen.
Here are four things that we ignore, roll our eyes at, consider and finally surrender to (most of the time):
1. Running isn’t the only exercise
IT ISN’T?! It can be easy to believe that running is the only type of exercise that we need, but it’s important to do a variety of workouts. If we consistently do the exact same thing, then our bodies inevitably become used to the stress and no longer need to work as hard. Mixing it up has two advantages. The first is it keeps your body guessing every day about what’s coming next, and the second is that it helps bring strength to muscle groups that aren’t necessarily always targeted while running. So keep calm and cross-train—we promise running will still be there tomorrow, and it might actually feel better than it did yesterday.
RELATED: Cross-Train to Get Fitter and Faster
2. There is such a thing as over-working your body.
Wait—you mean we can’t run miles on miles on miles every single day? It can be tempting to try and push yourself to improve each day, but when your muscles are screaming and you are finding it impossible to even move (yet you continue to exercise), rest is the answer. This is also true when you’re sick; you need to fight the infection, not double your mileage. Simply put, take a breather every once in awhile. Even the greatest athletes do that.
3. The doctor’s right. (No, seriously.)
Get off that injury. We completely understand the need for a good, long run. Few things are more satisfying than the runner’s high that ensues, and few things are more frustrating than being told you can’t work out. The end of the world is imminent (no it’s not), and you can’t help but want to push through the pain and run regardless of your doctor’s orders. Being trapped in street clothes doesn’t have to feel like a prison. You can use this time you’ve been given to discover what caused your injury and take steps to prevent similar ones in the future. That way, when you finally receive the okay from your doctor, you’ll be ready to go.
4. Cut yourself some slack.
Running is supposed to be a fun activity, but if you’re giving yourself a hard time after every bad run, or if you pace yourself based on a buddy instead of your body, then it won’t be. Go easy on yourself and your body’s abilities. It isn’t always going to be possible to keep up with another runner or cover the same mileage as her—and that’s okay. Everyone’s body is different, and newsflash, there will always be someone “better” or faster than you. But there will also always be someone slower than you that’s probably having these same reactions toward your awesome fitness levels and abilities.