As a triathlete with some pretty lofty goals, I have to pay particular attention to training smart. This means I need to:
1) Carefully plan out a quarter (3 months) of workouts using periodization.
2) Take plenty of time for rest to let my body recover from the stresses of building
3) Listen to my body and skip a workout when my body tells me to rest.
4) Listen carefully to my trainer, peers, and fellow triathletes to make sure I am not overdoing it.
5) Record and measure each workout's intensity and duration, reviewing my training dashboard frequently.
The Ego Run
However, sometimes the most calculated, well planned workout goes awry. Take my recent 8-mile run as an example. Waking up that morning I felt sick, stressed and lacked energy. Since I had committed to my trainer to do it, I felt compelled to do it, after all, I trust his judgement.
Arriving at the gym, I still felt a little odd and even considered calling it quits, but my ego to push through kept me on track. Then I met my trainer and he didn't look so good. I asked if we should reschedule, but we agreed it would be good to push through it.
Then we stared running and at 0.86 miles it was clear that my trainer was not doing so well and neither was I. I suggested we cut it short, but we agreed to push through it. At just over 4 miles we both agreed that in the future, if either one of us felt the way did that morning, we would reschedule.
It was almost like that crazy episode of Modern Family called Run For Your Wife where the husband's ego thinks it can out do the wife's running capability. In the end, the husband almost kills himself but the wife let's him win. Why?
In the end, we were both not doing so well. I about threw up and had sore ankles and legs. He looked like death and had a sore hip and ankle.
In retrospect, I learned that when two guys get together, egos tend to inflate and smart decisions go out the door. We were both lucky that we didn't come away with more serious injury.
The lesson here is to listen to your body and don't let the ego, commitment, training plan or anything else override what your body is telling you. LISTEN. THINK. REACT. The future of your entire athletic ability is at stake.