But what happens when something throws nature out of balance? A long period of rain can cause a flash flood or can cause the river to swell and drown out entire towns. Houses are ruined, cars are swept away and people can die, among other tragedies. Something that on the one hand can be serene and beautiful can turn ugly and malicious in the blink of the eye.
The body is no different. The body seeks a state of stasis and hates to be forced out of this comfortable way of being. As we constantly try to force our whims upon our bodies, it can bend a little bit, but it will not allow itself to break. So, we try to cram too much into our daily lives—training, work, family, kids' schedules, other hobbies, friends, etc — and eventually things start to build up like a river behind a dam. Eventually the pressure can get so great that the dam breaks. Think of the massive force behind that explosion of water. Now, equate that the body saying, "Enough!" What happens? Injury. We either get really sick or really hurt.
"If we don't listen, then the body takes matters into its own hands."
You see, I don't think injuries are necessarily traced back to "overuse" in the common definition of that term. Train too much or too hard and you get hurt. I don't think it's that simple. I think we get sick and/or injured when we force our body too far out of its preferred state of stasis. To me, injuries (and in some cases sicknesses) are wake up calls from the body. We've ignored the signs and the screams from the body telling us that the way we are going about things is unacceptable and unhealthy. When we employ "mind over matter", the matter (our bodies) will unequivocally and always win. Our bodies will do everything they can to keep us from killing them. Usually they are successful; they are almost 100% successful in non-extreme scenarios.
If we don't listen, then the body takes matters into its own hands. John Doe, you're running way too much. You're never at home, you don't know what's going on with your family, you're never in bed when your spouse wakes up, you're always tired at work and your friendships are suffering. So, guess what? A little achilles tendonitis should slow you down for a bit.
Now, we can look at injuries from all sorts of angles. But, ever notice that if our sole focus is to get back on our feet ASAP and if we "test it out" before we really know we should, that injuries hang on and take a really long time to go away? Or, in some cases they never go away? Why is that? The body's capabilities to heal are amazing. Something is inhibiting that process and, I think, it can be traced back to our state of mind and how balanced our lives are.
This may be a little metaphysical, but I think it's true. Strive for balance in life and the usual suspects of injuries probably go away and stay away. Keep trying to cram a square peg through a round hole and my guess is that injuries are things with which you are intimately familiar. No absolutes, but my gut tells me this is pretty spot on.
So, as you head into your downtime before focusing on next season, take a moment for a sanity check. How in-balance do you feel your life is? Be honest -- there's no judgment here. If important parts of your life are being ignored or minimized at the expense of your training, striving for better balance will not only allow you to get more out of your training, more importantly it will allow you to get more out of life.