Don’t Let Your Training Break Your Heart

Will it end well? There are times when overriding the heart’s feelings is the order of the day; but making a habit of ignoring its subtle warnings is unwise. Photo: Grateful thanks to Brian Erickson on Unsplash.

Want to have a good time and learn something fresh about training?

Check out these Three important TED talks by Sir Ken Robinson. Ken’s talk, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” has been viewed by an estimated 350 million people in 160 countries.

Robinson is part of a growing movement for a change in how we educate — perhaps a better word would be “deaducate” — our children. While there are excellent schools and wonderful teachers, mainstream schools too often are little more than childcare warehouses — factories established for the purpose of segmenting young people into managerial and worker-drone life roles.

What’s lacking is a balanced attention to the heart, especially during the years from six to twelve, when kids are most receptive to learning through the media of feeling: music, dance, theater, art, poetry.

When I was a kid, everybody sang. Now, we’ve handed over the music to the “professionals” and nobody else is supposed to sing. I find it a horrifying state of affairs.

It’s thrilling when I stop at Trader Joe’s and see a family singing — beautifully — for spare change in the parking lot. Our culture should reward and support them for giving so beautifully to us all, and for uplifting our environment in the best possible way.

A couple years back, there was a young employee at TJ who sang beautifully. Our choir director said, “Yeah, he could join us anytime.” I was always grateful for his lovely contributions to my day. Some years ago there was a Mexican man who sang traditional ballads loudly and beautifully while he walked the trails of a local wild preserve. Again, I was deeply grateful.

In a recent scribbling, I talked about the value of sprint training for distance runners, and how I’d started Coach Tony Holler’s wonderful 16-minute max-speed Atomic Workout, at age 80.

Um, I guess I owe you-all a retraction. I had to back off when, after a handful of sessions, my heart felt funny. I’ve been more or less sedentary for seven years, and my body protested my smart plan to jump abruptly into max-effort skipping, bounding, jumping, and all-out 40-yard sprints. It announced its displeasure with a deeply tired, unhappy feeling in my heart that lasted several days.

I’d love to come back to jumping, bounding, and sprinting, because it’s so much fun — but for now, I guess I’ll have to confine myself to short sprints on the bike.

My point is, don’t ignore those feelings of deep tiredness in the heart after hard exercise. When our bodies get sick we feel bad. When we’re brimming with health, we feel great. The heart is the loudspeaker by which the body announces that what we’re doing is helpful or if we’re going off the rails.

(Disclaimer: Don’t be an idiot. See your doctor before you undertake an exercise program.)