Why I Started Wearing Earplugs at Spin

As some of you may already know, I’ve been dealing with a running injury for over a year. I know it seems like a long time, but I took a long time to actually focus on healing, so that is why it’s taken me so long to get back on track.

Since November, I’ve been focusing on low impact workouts to maintain my fitness while my heel heals (I have heel bursitis). I thought that I’d feel better in a month, but December rolled around and I was still in pain. Since then, I’ve been feeling better, but I haven’t run more than 800m at a time. I’ve decided to take this slow, in part because I’ve started to enjoy spinning so much that I’m no longer concerned about when I get back out on the track.

I really do believe that sometimes things get better when you relax a little. I was so focused on when I would be able to run-and sprint- again that I didn’t want to focus on my healing process. Now that I’m having a blast spinning, my heel feels better, and I am not remotely motivated to overextend myself once I start running farther distances again.

For the past two months, I’ve been attending a minimum of two spin classes a week. In the beginning, I hated it because I didn’t want to like anything other than running. I equated my inability to run with weakness instead of just prioritizing workouts that are better for my body. I learned that spin can be challenging. There are days when I’ve unclipped my shoes from the bike and want to Uber home instead of walking. There are days where I’m sore. By turning up the resistance and trying to maintain a steady pace at the same time, I realized that I could be out of breath even if I wasn’t running along a river 12 miles away from home.

As fun as spin has become, I realized that I needed to be smart about what I was doing while in class. Part of why spin is so fun is because it’s dark and the music is pumping and if you’re like me, you’re wearing all black and therefore, essentially feel like you’re at the club. Except that it’s 7am. Except that you’re really not at the club. And you’re just next to a speaker in a small, dark room.

So now I’m one of those 3 people in a full room of riders with earplugs in. For me, there is no point in pursuing an activity in the name of health if it is in turn damaging your health in some way. I sustained an overuse injury running and continued to run with that injury because I didn’t want to sacrifice the endurance and speed I took years to build up. I finally realized that the reason I exercise is to stay healthy, and exacerbating an overuse injury was contradictory to that. I started spinning to heal, not to end up with another injury!

I love the feeling of music beating in my chest. I can’t tell you how many times I had a rough day and went for a run with my favorite song blasting. It’s invigorating. It’s motivating. And it makes me feel so much better about what’s going on. But the unfortunate truth is that those habits have consequences. So that’s why I’ve decided not to give up any of my favorite activities, but just to be more mindful while I take part in them.

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