By Dr. Mary Choi
Athletes are often taught to pace themselves on long endurance runs to push their efforts to a point that is challenging enough but not so hard that they fall short of the finish line.
How an athlete calibrates this complex balance of effort is measured by her ability to have conversations with her running pack. The simple rule of thumb is that if you are unable to hold a conversation while running, you are running too fast. Your pace should be fast enough to speak, but not so fast you’re left completely breathless.
With endurance athletes, when to accelerate and push the body’s edge is a choice made by the athlete. However, sometimes breathlessness is not always a self-inflicted choice. There are times when we are blindsided and we fall so fast and so hard that all the air in us gets knocked out. Like a fish out of water, we are left mouth wide-open and gasping for air. Despite our best efforts to recover, we still cannot reclaim enough air.
Some experiences, like our present day, create trauma, grief, and pain. Some days are hard. Some days are better. And some days are even hopeful and happy.
If you have ever had the wind knocked out of you, you know that your air always returns.
My friends, pace yourself. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself. Catch your breath. You are not alone. We are experiencing this global trauma together.
Until we meet again, be well.
Dr. Mary xx
Dr. Mary Choi