The other day, I decided to go for a run outside. This is a typical activity here in the city, but you might be interested to know that I don’t run, like ever. I never particularly enjoyed it, and my lack of attention to the monotony of running doesn’t help. But considering that it was a 75 degree day in mid-February, I figured I might as well enjoy it for a little bit.
That day, I ran about 3 miles up and down the FDR path, which to running enthusiasts is absolutely nothing, but to me felt is a marathon. While I wasn’t particularly tired afterwards, I realized the error in my assumption when I woke up the next day. My entire body from the waist down was incredibly sore and my joints ached. Because I wasn’t accustomed to the amount of stress running and putting force into the ground over and over again entails, my body took a beating.
The lesson to be learned from my mistake here is that in any physical endeavor, specificity and stress tolerance need to be taken into consideration, especially when starting something new or that you haven’t done in a while.
The gym is different from the running path. I work out on a regular basis, and mistakenly thought that a short run shouldn’t be too bad. The problem is that my tissues are resilient to a different type of stressor. Lifting weights and moving in different planes of motion? No problem. But putting upwards of 2x my body weight into the ground with every running stride? That’s a problem.
With the weather turning, this is something we see all too often. People try new things and they go full bore with it, only to wind up miserable or even injured. Your body is great at adapting to stress of exercise, but the best way to do so is to take your time! Slowly add more reps, volume, intensity, and specificity. You wouldn’t take a dip in the ocean without knowing how to swim and expect it to be okay, would you?
Keep this in mind as it gets warmer. Are you stressed? Take your time.
by Dan Cerone