The Running Man on Listening to my Body

I’ve lost count of the number of times I have heard half of the England football squad, Joe Wickes, doctor Raj, Piers Morgan and Katie Price telling me that I must ‘listen to my body’ whilst I exercise.  Well, I’ve tried it and, quite honestly, all it does is moan: ‘You’re going too fast,’ ‘You’re going too slow,’ ‘I’m feeling dizzy,’ ‘Ooh look, an ice cream van…’  It is also easily distracted.  Worse yet is my brain.  Brains, I have discovered, are not easy company for those taking exercise.  Unlike the rest of the body, they become easily bored.  Give your legs a simple job to do, e.g. running, and they will do it until they drop, but the minute the brain gets involved, everything goes to pot: ‘Are you ok leg?  I sense that you are feeling a little bit hot/tired/wobbly.  Would you like me to tell him to slow down?  Would you like me to register that knee twinge?  Should I make him aware that total collapse is just around the corner?  If I have a word, I can almost certainly make the other knee come out in sympathy…’  The problem is, I can find no way of listening to my body other than through my brain and, fundamentally, listening to my brain is like listening to a speech from a Trades Union Congress Conference in the 1970’s – lots and lots of worthy words, but very little in the way of light relief, lots of beer and sandwiches but not enough smashed avocado on toast: big shoulders, even bigger chips.

And anyway, if I’m going to waste time in listening to what my body has to say, perhaps it ought to take a little time to listen to me.  I tell it we need to be careful with what we eat and it says ‘Give me chocolate!’  I tell it we need to watch what we drink and it opens the whisky.  I tell my body that we’re feeling good, and it seriously begs to differ.  I tell it that I am about to die and it laughs in my face, tells me to get a grip, but I know that my brain is just filtering out the messages it is being sent by my limbs, lungs and assorted lights.  Basically, all that my body wants to do is to tell me that I am wrong – and I have a life-full of people willing to do that for me.  I play music whilst I run simply to stop it haranguing me.  Frankly, if my body wants to talk to me it can either shout or wait until I get home and then it can speak to my wife. I don’t want to hear it…

The first entry in the Running Diary ‘Couch to 5k’ is here.

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