Fitness tip of the week: listen to the whispers

Every so often, while I’m working on a story, I’ll stumble across a piece of information—a poignant quote or powerful anecdote—that seems tailor-made for me, not just as a journalist, but as a runner and a human.

This week, that came courtesy of a Women’s Running story I’m working on, for which I got to talk to Janet Hamilton, an Atlanta-area running coach and registered clinical exercise physiologist. Hamilton told me that the biggest mistake people make is trying to “bludgeon their bodies into fitness,” a strategy that leads to burnout and injury.

“If you tune in to your body’s little whispers, it will never have to shout at you,” she said.

This is counter to everything we believe about hard work and effort, and decidedly less exciting than the workout montages in our favorite movies about physical triumph. But in real life, Rocky would most likely have to stop and stretch his IT band after charging up those steps.

For me, this means laying off my runs for a few days while I wait for an annoying toe injury (long story, giant bruise) to calm down. Though I’m tempted to just run through it, Hamilton’s advice reminded me that listening to this particular whisper could mean avoiding a big, loud shout down the road in the form of a stress fracture in my foot, or something equally awful.

What have you been doing to tune into your body’s whispers?


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2 responses to “Fitness tip of the week: listen to the whispers

  1. I am conservative in my training and definitely listen to my body. This has saved me from countless run-of-the-mill injuries, but that just seems to leave me with the odd injuries out of nowhere, or my body doesn’t whisper loudly enough!

  2. Liz

    I love it. I’ve been listening to my body for much of this training season and have seen the most amazing gains because of it…and as soon as I went back to my old stubborn habits, I started plateauing. Coincidence? Lesson learned for sure–I’m ready for MCM to be over just so I can keep practicing this newer, easier way of training!

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