Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Brain vs. Body

It’s been a little while since my last blog, and as it was left before, I was preparing to run the Pineland 50 ultramarathon.  As nice as it would have been to run the race, I just didn’t have the right base to run it safely.  And if I didn’t prepare properly, did I really want to run the race? Especially a race that would have taken almost 10 hours to complete!

Coming to this realization is something that becomes far easier when you have a history of injury, a history of already running these types of races, and knowing that there will be other races down the road.  The hard part for patients and athletes I treat who are trying to run their “first ever” races is the tendency to want to do the race, but not understanding what it takes to prepare.  A great Jim Gibbs quote a friend of mine introduced me to highlights this: “The will to succeed is meaningless without the will to prepare.” 

This is true for anyone as it relates to any task, be it running a race, changing a lifestyle, losing weight, starting to exercise or changing a diet.  Most people come to the realization that they want to start something then go full steam ahead without understanding what it takes to get there.  Commitment, focus, discipline and hard work are the essentials to achievement, as well as surrounding yourself with those also dedicated to helping you reach your goal.

I usually give this pep talk to patients who have made the decision to do something that was a drastic change for them, and ended up injuring themselves by forcing the body to try to catch up to the mind.  It was sad not to do something I wanted to do, but it would have been worse to be injured during the process; or worse yet, lose my mind and passion for doing something that has been a part of me forever.  When you become frustrated or burnt out on something that you had at one point set your mind to do, it will reinforce failure instead of success.  And really, which would you rather have, failure or success?  The brain will clearly say success, just be sure that your brain understands what the body has to do in order to achieve that success.