Knowing When to Quit

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How hard should we push, how hard is too hard? This is quite a difficult topic, we are all competitors but at some point during an event or training run, you have to ask yourself “Is this worth it?”.

Nobody likes to give up or have a DNF behind their name, as trail runners we pride ourselves in being tough, rolled ankle? So what! “The pain will go away after a few kilometers!” Muscle cramp? “Screw that, I will stretch and continue!”. Blood? “Where is my Super Glue!?” Sharp pain? “I will take a couple of painkillers!”

The problem that most of us face… we are controlled by our mind and not by our body. Your body feels the pain and discomfort but your mind tells you NOT TO QUIT. The trick is to listen to your body and to know the difference between pushing the boundary and overstepping it.

Some warning signs to look out for:

  • Consistent sharp pains

  • Muscle cramps

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Dehydration

  • Electrolyte imbalances

  • Disorientation

  • The inability to speak coherently (although some people talk in circles all the time..)

  • Struggling to breathe or catch your breath

  • Bloody urine

  • Injured ligaments, fractures, broken bones etc.

  • Hyperthermia

  • Persistent headache

Its all about making smart decisions, the problem is often that we don’t make smart decisions… On the other hand, and the reason I think we all can relate to is that we know we are in trouble but still continue. Call it pride, stubbornness, FOMO, whatever… Only you as a runner (or maybe the Race Director) can decide if you want/need/can continue. The most important question again, is the risk worth it?