Knowing when to push and when to back off is a skill. This is especially true for Pilates and fitness instructors who come from a dance or athletic background where pushing hard is normal. Learning how to tell when you’ve done too much, gone too far, or need to do something different can be challenging especially for high level athletes.Over the past weekend I participated in a fundraising cycling event that put this skill to the test. Within a few minutes of leaving on my 100-mile bike journey it began to rain. Then it rained harder. I was freezing and soaked. My bike shoes felt like little buckets of water. I began a stretch of steep, twisty descents towards the next rest stop at Stinson Beach. My breaks hardly worked, rocks had collected on the road from small slides, and there was basically no visibility with the heavy rain and fog. But I still wanted to continue. I really just wanted to say I had done it.As I tried to descend I was scared, the conditions were truly dangerous so I decided to quit. Making that decision was extremely hard for me to do but the reasonable side of my brain knew it wasn’t worth getting sick or injured. I realized that I was needlessly pushing myself too hard. Although I love a good challenge, I was no longer enjoying the experience.It’s like the old song, “You gotta know when to hold‘em, know when to fold‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” If you’re the kind of person that pushes yourself really hard and never gives up, you may enjoy exploring quitting occasionally. It really can revitalize your subsequent challenges because it reminds you that you have a choice.