Listen to Your Body!? guest blog by Stacia Huff

I just returned from an early morning bike ride and run, known as a brick session to triathletes. This training is incorporated for the athlete to overcome the heaviness felt in the quads as she leaves the bike and enters the run leg of the triathlon.   This brick session was one of the best I’ve had this season.  Do you want to know why?  It’s not because the weather was ideal, or that I completed the course with my personal best time.  It’s because it was effortless, joyful, no aches, no pains, and no fear.  How was this possible?  I stopped “listening to my body.”

A few months ago while training on a stationary bike in a spin class, the instructor reminded the class that during the workout she would be coaching us, but “listen to your body, since only you know your limits.”  This advice is given in every class, and I had taken it. But suddenly I realized that by listening to my body I was hearing things I really didn’t want to hear—“I need to slow down. I’m breathing too hard. My heart is pounding. My legs ache.  I’m too old to be pushing myself this hard!”  I was limiting myself to do only what my body was telling me to do.  How could I continue to train for an endurance race – which is what I was doing – if I didn’t break down these barriers?

I was recently reminded of a New York Times article (9/19/2011) entitled, “A Little Bit of Deception Helps Push Athletes to the Limit” where Gina Kolata reports on a study in which trained cyclists achieve faster speeds.  “It comes back to the belief system within the athlete,” Dr. Thompson said. Within limits, if an athlete thinks a certain pace is possible, he or she can draw on an energy ….(1)

My first resort was to stop listening to my body and then to pray, to ask God for direction.  The answer He gave me was a quote from Jesus’ teachings: “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your life what ye shall put on.  Is not the life more than meat and the body more than raiment?” (Matt 6:25)  OK, so the Master when it came to health in his day said nothing about muscle endurance, nor did he mention strength and flexibility training.  But he also said, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon (material riches).”(Matt 6:24)  By listening to my body it was no longer serving me, I had become its servant.  Right at that moment, I fired the body as my coach and turned only to God, the Almighty, as my coach as well as my source of strength.

I’ve used this approach during my training sessions from that point forward. The results have been awe inspiring and effortless.  This was proved this morning during my bike ride and run as I sang these words:

“God works in us to will,

He works in us to do;

His is the power by which we act,

His be the glory too. “

(Benjamin Beddome)

  1. 1.       Blog: “Giving Mental Consent to Excellence Breaks Barriers” by Bob Cummings posted on www.csinmichigan.com  July 31, 2012
Top image by esbjorn2 uploaded from flickr.com
Bottom photo by evi.pliarro.uni.me uploaded from Google Images

Stacia Huffis a retired elementary school teacher and is now in the full-time study and practice of Christian Science.  She is married and has 2 grown daughters. She enjoys swimming, biking and running.  This is her 2nd season of sprint triathlon competition.

 


3 Comments

  1. Records are always being broken in sports. Achievements such as seen at the Olympics many times result in world records. We have witnessed that over the past couple of weeks. Each of those athletes probably had their bodies tell them what they were trying to do wasn’t possible. They too had to find that inner strength to push through that barrier. But it isn’t just about the physical. How often do we need to push through barriers that seem to limit us, be it intellectual, financial, etc. Having a thought that doesn’t place limitations on us is how we grow and achieve.

    • You are so right! This concept goes way beyond sports. It is integrated in all avenues of our daily lives.
      Kate

  2. Right on Mike! It is more than just breaking barriers for sports, it’s breaking barriers in thought that propels us to achieve our goals.
    Stacia