On rules: revisions and refinements

The other day, I mentioned that I sort of broke my own self-imposed “rule” — that I don’t run more than two days in a row if I can help it. Yet, last weekend I wound up running Friday, Saturday and Sunday and felt pretty great and very strong when all was said and done.

Heather left me an insightful comment (as she usually does) and it got me thinking:

Heather Iacobacci (@hriacobacci)
Submitted on 2012/06/12 at 8:40 am

Yes – strong IS beautiful. So glad you were feeling strong with your running this weekend. Sometimes I think it’s ok to just go with it even if you don’t normally run 3 or 4 days in a row. You’re listening to your body and that’s smart.


Have I been imposing my own set of rules a little bit too strongly in some cases? 
Is that why I have been sort of “off” feeling about marathon training? 
Why I’ve felt sort of antsy of late and unsure of why? 

I’m kind of thinking that’s been the problem. I’m letting my own rules get in the way. Instead of relying so heavily on my rules, why am I not spending more time listening to my body and recognizing when it’s telling me to “GO” vs. “STOP.”  We know I’ve learned to become great at listening to it when it tells me to stop, but am I losing my knack for “hearing” it when it’s telling me to go for it?

…I think so. 

I mean, I’ve been talking about this being my year of “no limits,” of pushing past boundaries, of breaking through (self-imposed or not) barriers. Yet, I sometimes have a hard time revising or refining my own set of rules or guidelines.

Now that I think about it, I notice this popping up in other areas of life. Of not being able to “go with the flow” more like my husband would like me to. Learning to be more un-planned, more spontaneous, less structured or rigid. Hello Type-A much? I think I need to tone it down juuuuust a wee bit.

And before you all think I’m just trying to justify working out MORE or something silly like that, I promise you this is not the case. I’m a huge fan of working smarter, not harder. HUGE. I’m also a huge fan of rest days. All I’m saying is that I could stand to loosen my grip on my own rules now and then, with workouts — sure, but with other areas of my life too.

This will certainly play into how I approach my marathon training plan as well. For instance — I told you that I had planned on three solid runs per week (one long, two mid-range) to get my endurance up where it needs to be for the marathon. And that is still very much the plan. However, there is that little thing called the run-barre-rundate that I happen to ADORE. I’ve been doing it for the past few Tuesdays with my friend Steph and I LOVE it. I don’t want to give it up just because it doesn’t fit so neatly into my marathon training guidelines. So I’m not going to. At least for now. If I need to cut it out later, I’ll do it. But for now? I LOVE how badass that workout makes me feel. I LOVE how accomplished I feel when all is said and done. And I LOVE the “fit date” time with Steph. We have some of the best chats on Tuesdays because of it. (she’s the best!)

The bottom line here is that the old adage “rules are meant to be broken” is definitely one that I could stand to lean on a little bit now and then. Not all the time, no. But sometimes…it’s ok to revise, refine, or all-out break a rule.

(The sky will not come crashing down around you, I promise (note to self…).)

Source: glossfixation.tumblr.com via Jess on Pinterest

NOTE: I’d revise this to say: First Learn the Rules. Then break them (smartly)


27 thoughts on “On rules: revisions and refinements

  1. i am going to agree with heather 100% and your rules to be broken thoughts. BUt i must add this, cause you know i do the same… DON’T THINK TOO MUCH! It gets the best of us! hehe. llove you.

  2. You make a great point. I’ve gone through periods when I’ve done some leg workouts and then am supposed to run the next day and I tell myself that I can’t because my legs will be sore. But really, I can run just fine. It’s definitely much easier to listen to your body when it’s saying stop! But like you said, it’s just as important to listen to it when it’s saying go, even though that’s harder.

    • That’s exactly right — and I didn’t really even think about it until last weekend when I ran those three back-to-back runs. And how surprised I was that I felt great after. Sure, I was tired, but my body wasn’t yelling at me or objecting, it just felt WORKED. In a good way. Like you said, it can be way easier to pull back when your body says “no” but far harder to push it when it says “ok, I can do more.”

  3. YES – absolutely love this my friend. I think we both had an aha moment this week about rules. And I love that quote. I think that’s very true – learn the rules. Learn your body. Then know when it’s ok to break those rules. Rules can be good – they can keep us in check, keep us from ultimately hurting ourselves. But if we are so strict with them, how do we know what we can really do sometimes.

    • I KNEW you’d love this — thank you for once again inspiring my post and helping me to wrap my head around the concept in the first place. It was in the back of my mind but I couldn’t quite reach it until we talked it over. You’re absolutely right — rules are there to keep us in check, to help us figure out what will work for us but at the end of the day? Not EVERY rule is meant to be stuck to 100% ALL the time. It’s just not that black and white (as much as I’d like it to be!). It’s kind of exciting to see what your body is really capable of if you ALLOW it.

  4. Rules drive me crazy. I honestly don’t set them anymore – after years of food and workout rules, it drove me crazy. I’m WAY more laid back now (especially after having kids). You just do what you do.

    • I need you in my life!! You are so good for me right now — when I’m trying to take down the hard-and-fast barriers and rules and things more and more. You are an inspiration to me that way, big time!

  5. I think you just defined “flexibility.” When we blindly follow rules and plans we often miss out on a better quality of life. There are studies showing that super religious people are happier because they don’t have any choices—but think about their limits too! So, in life in general, it seems that (like most everything) we’re best off if we find a balance toward blind devotion to the rules (which does provide a sense of stability and security) and going around aimlessly in life (and probably not accomplishing much!).
    Great thought provoking post!

    • Ahh I love your comments — always so insightful, always with a unique twist on things that I really, REALLY appreciate about you. There is a tough balancing act there — in not just blindly following the rules because well, they are RULES — but also not going completely blind in life with no path, no structure, no guidelines whatsoever. It IS about flexibility — duh, you are so smart!

  6. Totally agree sis, and notice these changes in you and your approach, and also to mine. It is about listening to our bodies but also TRUSTING them. you clearly had that 3 day in a row run in you, so go for it. I surprise myself when I am able to do the same! I feel so good when I do it and feel GOOD after! and PS I wish I could do those run/barre/run dates together!! Maybe soon I’ll break the rules and make an exception too 😉

    • That’s the biggie for us isn’t it – the TRUST piece. We’re getting closer and closer to that ideal state of trust — in ourselves, in our bodies, in our approach. It’s a LONG road but we’re getting there and that’s just awesome. I love that we’re in this together, as we are with pretty much everything these days — it calms the crazies that’s for sure. 😉

  7. I think you know I am a huge culprit of over thinking. I think in marathon training, or any type of training, you really have to go with the flow and use your training plan as a guide, but adjust as needed. Especially as you train for your first full – you never know how your body is going to adjust to it – all new territory! And very exciting! And I don’t think you should give up what you love to do – just find a way to fit it in without sacrificing rest days!

    • Guilty as charged. 😉
      But you’re right — I need to learn to flow more, and I’m doing that MUCH better than in the past. I do think that marathon training is REALLY going to challenge me that way — to learn to be flexible, to be able to push when I’m capable and pull back when I’m not. It’s going to be SUCH an eye opening experience, I can already tell.

  8. Only you would qualify breaking rules with “smartly” 😉 I’m glad you’re realizing this! Marathon training is a crazy beast and you have to be able to listen to every stop or go cue your body gives you. 16 weeks is a long time – so really hone in on what that body says and go with it!

    P.S. Steph is the best! I need to come run with you girls!

    • hahah I know, right?? Only I’d say that you can break a rule smartly — but it kind of makes sense, no?? In small doses anyway, breaking a rule in favor of pushing yourself a little bit more to see what you’re capable of OR just to clear your head via a few shake-out miles. Sometimes its needed, even if it doesn’t fit neatly into a training plan, per se.

  9. Pingback: Three years…and full circle | EatDrinkBreatheSweat

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