When to Shut it Down
Knowing when to take a break, or how to listen to your body, is key to long-term training success. You probably have some clues that, if you’re paying attention, can tell you whether to shut it down, take it easy or push through and get your training in. Identifying these signs is a skill itself, and will take some time to hone.
I usually have a pretty good desire to train, so I look for other clues that let me know I should take an easy day or skip my run all together. The obvious one is how I feel first thing in the morning. Did I pop out of bed with excitement for the day or did I want to stay under the covers for another hour? Another clue is if I’m hungry first thing in the morning. I usually am not, so if by 8am I’m looking for something to eat, I may be pushing it a bit too much.
There is technology called heart rate variability that can help you identify your readiness to train. It measures the time in-between heart beats, the more variation the more recovered you are. When you have a steady time between beats, you may be on the edge of over-training. This can be useful, but if we’re playing the long game, we can sharpen our awareness to how we feel and bypass the technology all together.
Start looking for your clues that you’re running out of steam. If you catch it, you may avoid a gym burnout all together and your body will thank you for the break. Take a long walk, ride a bike, come in to do some stretching and rolling or shut it down all together and log some hours in a beach chair.