Everyone knows that in a straight up battle, the mind is far more powerful than the human body. It propels you to do amazing, unfathomed things even if you’re body is saying “no thank you.” It can trigger a burst during your run when the right powersong hits your playlist, and it can undermine you in many ways throughout your diet and fitness journey, quietly whispering things to you like “you can’t” or “you really want that extra cheese and bacon” over and over. The old saying “It’s about mind over matter, and if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter” typically holds.
I’m not going to pose a counter-argument to honing and strengthening your mind, discipline and willpower, because for most people this is truly the lynchpin to good health. However, like most things in life an imbalance can occur in this area and it’s rarely good. I’ve blogged before about listening to your body, and as you become stronger-willed, more committed or dare I say more obsessed (hopefully in a good way) to health, fitness and living life “all in”, it’s easy to quite not only those subtle, undermining voices saying “you’re tired, don’t work out today, etc.”, but those voices saying “Dude, are freakin’ kidding me? Let me rest, heal, and rebuild.”
I am very proud of the progress I’ve made rehabbing my right knee since surgery in October 2012, and that knee is feeling really good now. I was cleared to run on 1/1/13 and ran about 80 miles in the first two weeks. Partly, because I had missed it so much, partly because it was feeling really good, and partly because I knew my Tough Mudder event was on Feb 9, and I wanted to be ready. The challenge is that my mind was so focused on the goal, it wasn’t listening to the fact that my legs, having not run for about 9 weeks, weren’t regenerating and building muscle fast enough between runs, and I was in fact breaking them down instead of building them up. The result, some pretty annoying pain in my left knee (not the surgically repaired knee) that entered the picture in mid January, I had to back off the run for a couple of weeks, and I almost pulled out of the Tough Mudder. I was scared that I actually hurt my left knee and may be heading down the same path to surgery that I faced with the right. The good news is that an MRI showed a healthy left knee and there’s no need for medical intervention. The knee is actually feeling better now, although it still has a slight ache. My personal lesson is that no matter how excited, committed and motivated, I need to ease my way up to my fitness goals so that my actions strengthen and build my body, so that I’m healthy, and so that I don’t risk injury. The overall lesson. Get your mind on your side so that you don’t undermine yourself, but never stop listening to your body.
Small steps add up!!!