Respect your body.
I feel well on most evenings when I lace up my shoes to run: fit and all raring to hop out into the sunshine and enjoy the setting sun. I will try my best to accomplish the plan I have thought out for the day, which may include specific and non-specific activities such as long, tempo or progression runs, gym day and pool day.
However, on certain days, I sometimes feel a sense of foreboding: sluggishness and a general feeling of being unwell, despite the absence of actual symptoms.
The goals are laid out in my mind for my body to achieve, but somehow the signals in my body are misfiring, telling me to scale back, or better still, to toss everything out of the window and go to sleep. A not-so-encouraging feeling, especially when I am training for a specific race.
What do I do?
Previously I have tried to stay true to my goal of completing the planned workouts. Sometimes the sessions go well; I am able to complete all my workouts, perhaps feeling a little more tired than usual after that.
Sometimes I wished I had listened to my body. There are a number of times when I became ill with a cold or landed myself in injuries after such sessions.
Experience finally enlightens me that I have to achieve a balance not only in the kinds of workouts I do for my runs, but also in maintaining my workouts while running my daily life.
Instead of having a gigantic goal-of-the-day in my face, I now break up my activities into smaller goals that are achievable with minimal chances of calamity.
On days that I feel out of sorts, I listen to my body and scale back my workouts by either doing a short easy run or taking the day off for recuperation. I have managed to keep off colds and recurring iliotibial band syndrome symptoms just by this simple trick.
Minimising my goals is not a sign of weakness; rather I perceive it as a sign that I respect my body and its condition, in order for me to keep it running smoothly in the days to come. Smaller goals will eventually pile up into a great mountain of success and achievement. After all, Rome was not built in a day.
Respect your body.