This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.
Recently, I wrote that you should do what you can now. Don’t wait until the time is perfect. This is the flip side.
We all get caught at times wanting to do more. Life has gotten in the way and we feel like we’re behind or we’ve rolled through a strong phase of training and we want to do more to take advantage of our unexpected boost in fitness. Often, though, when we get in these situations we end up doing too much.
Your body can only handle so much stress, whether physical or otherwise. When life gets tough and you’re facing more stress than usual, you need to cut back on your training. If you don’t, you’re going to push your body beyond its breaking point. That’s when injuries happen. While it’s the most difficult thing to do, the best thing to do when life’s stresses add up is to reduce our training. I realize this is a hard sell for a committed runner but you can increase your training again when life settles down.
On the other end of the spectrum, when things are going really good, you have to remember what got you there. It was most likely a gradual, well planned and executed progression. This is what’s going to keep you moving forward. A big step up might be more than your body is ready for. Again, your body can only handle so much stress. If you’re training hard and making big gains, chances are you found a good balance. Don’t lose that balance, no matter how tempting it may be to try to do more.
Don’t let your training get ahead of your circumstances. Do what you can do now but don’t do more. If you’re unsure, it’s better to do a little less. You’d rather be at 95% of potential fitness when lining up for your next race than injured and watching from the sideline, right?