There’s a meme out there that I really hate. (OK, there are lots that I hate, but this one in particular.) There are many versions of it, but the gist is “You’ll never regret a workout” or “The only bad workout is one you didn’t do” or “The only workout you’ll regret is the one that didn’t happen” or “Wow, I really regret that workout … said no one ever.”
I have regretted a workout. Quite a few. It happens. Those memes are stupid and that’s a very unhealthy mentality.
Generally, any workout I’ve regretted has been one that I did despite what my body was telling me.
KT tape will not fix runner’s knee for 13.1 miles
A few years ago, when I wound up sidelined with runner’s knee, that sidelining came after ignoring knee pain for a few months. I’m not going to lie. The pain started in May-ish, and I didn’t finally throw in the towel until after limping through a lot of the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon (and long runs for marathon training) in July. So that’s probably three months of ignoring the pain, continuing to run, and – shocker! – not getting any better! What would have been smart? SKIPPING MY WORKOUTS, and getting a diagnosis sooner and thus starting physical therapy sooner, and maybe, just maybe, I would have gotten through PT in time to still train for and complete the Chicago Marathon that year. But no, in my stubbornness, I kept running, because I was signed up for a marathon. By the time I finally started PT, it was too late to still train for the marathon.
That’s a baggie of ice held to my ankle with a rubber band.
And sometimes the workout itself leads to the injury! A few weeks ago, I was rehearsing for an upcoming performance and decided to attempt some chair dance moves that I typically do barefoot. But wearing heels this time. Well, I rolled my ankle. So I regret that workout. I iced my ankle that evening but went through with my planned workout (a run) the following day. Probably a dumb move. Since then, I’ve only been running about 5-6 miles per week … but honestly, I probably shouldn’t run at all until I don’t feel any tenderness in my ankle. Because I do feel tenderness if I bend it a certain way, and I think my ankle was a little swollen this morning. Makes sense considering yesterday I ran treadmill intervals, walked about 2 miles around town in the afternoon, and performed 3 acts in a show at night. (At least I could swap my heels for flat shoes at the show.)
And even something “easy” like yoga can be regreattable. Normally when I go to certain practices, like the Pilsen Yoga Tribe, I don’t just get a good stretch, but get a lot of good yoga woo-woo. This morning, I had a headache but went to yoga anyway … and felt like crap the whole time. I got a decent stretch, but no woo, and felt nauseous a few times. Probably should have skipped it, taken an Ibuprofen, and stretched out at home after my headache was gone.
Now, I get it, a lot of these memes are directed at skipping workouts when you’re feeling lazy. But you know what … who cares? If you want to skip a workout and binge-watch Netflix and order pizza, you do you. it’s your life. YOLO. Don’t let some internet meme shame you into doing something. Shame is a not a sustainable strategy for establishing good habits.
And if you are working out despite signs from your body that you shouldn’t be working out? Well, that’s silly. I won’t stop being silly. I’ll already admit right now that I’m not going to stop running until after the Shamrock Shuffle next week. And I might go through with a scheduled performance next week, even though it’s more of an “open mic” kind of show and I’m under no obligation to actually perform. But I promise, after that, I will always be smart about working out.
But I won’t feel ashamed if I skip a workout, regardless of my excuse, and you shouldn’t either.