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You can't conquer pain

Pain, or aches, or tired muscles, are the body's way of communicating with our brain. When the brain decides to double the weekly running mileage in order to become a better runner, the body sends a message in pain. When the brain decides to run too far or too fast, the body reacts with pain.

Pain is the language of our bodies. When listened to attentively, the body whispers that we have done too much. If we ignore the first gentle warnings of discomfort, the body speaks more forcefully. And if we are deaf to our body's messages, the result is injury and setback.

For a long time, I thought that being in pain was a sign of progress. Pain was a source of pride. When I hobbled around on achy knees, when my muscles were so sore that I couldn't walk up and down stairs comfortably, when I was so stiff that it took me five minutes to get out of my car, I thought it meant I was getting in shape.

But you can't conquer pain. You can't control it. You can't even negotiate a peaceful settlement with pain. You only delay the inevitable. Once the pain takes over, all your strength, courage, determination, and tenacity will not carry you one more step.

I didn't realize that by working too hard I was actually working against myself. By not giving myself enough rest time by not allowing my body to recover and adapt, I actually prevented myself from improving. The harder I worked, the less I rested and the more frustrated I became. It is a vicious cycle that is easy to fall into and hard to escape.


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