Let’s Talk ‘Make it or Break it’

We’ve all heard that idiom – you either make it or you break it, the idea of success or ruin. I got to thinking about this and running the other day, when we say ‘it’s not like it will make you or break you.’ I’m not so sure about this as it relates to running.

While I agree that one workout will not make you into the athlete you are meant to be, one workout could, actually, break you.

After my biggest mileage week (so far…) I wrote in my training journal that it was important to pay attention to the ‘little niggles,’ you know those things that are there, they are not painful, often just tight, but you know they are there. These are the things that can break you, if they go ignored.

Chatting with a good running buddy about her training I shared my thoughts with her on this. This is not just for the elites, for the professionals, this is a for everyone. Yes, consistency is the key success factor in anyone’s training; missing one workout does not equal inconsistency, missing one workout can be the difference between an amazing season and a season-ender.

For instance, we’ll talk real-life in my running world. After running 110mi/177.7km in seven days I knew that while I had done some really good work there was also likely a little bit of ‘damage’ done. Instead of running through anything I promised myself I would listen closely to what my body was saying to me. While out on a run I noticed that my achilles tendon started to feel tight. I hit ‘pause’ on my watch and walked a few steps, stretched out my foot, my calves, and my hip, and tried an easy jog again. No dice. That tendon was tight, not painful, but tight. I shut it down. I walked home, did all the things that you do for it, and took the rest of the day easy.

Instead of judging myself for cutting my run short, I hugged my achilles and thanked myself for being smart. I am just as stubborn as many of the runners out there, I run until my watch hits the mileage I said I would hit that day, I sometimes agonize over what to eat and when to eat, but I have long let go of judging myself for doing the right thing and listening to my body. Oh, and I don’t try to ‘make up’ mileage, because that too does not equal consistency and can be a recipe for disaster.

To get good, really good at anything takes a dose of hard work mixed with dedication and a love for what you do. I was thinking about how much I love what I do, running that is, and how thankful I am to have the ability to pursue this adventure. I’m thankful to have those moments where I check in with my body to really see how it’s doing and to have the tenacity to say ‘stop’ when things just are not going quite right.