I’m sore. Not, like, right this second so much as all the time. You know how, when you start a new kind of workout, the muscles challenged by that new workout get so sore for so long, you wonder if sore might not be their new normal? That kind of sore.
I’ve felt that way ever since starting my new physical therapy workout a few weeks ago. I’ve been dutifully tackling the workout three times per week, in addition to much of my existing prehab workout, in hopes that I’ll start my next training cycle healthier and stronger than I’ve ever been before. Being committed to a rather intense lifting schedule means I’m not spending much time swimming, or doing speedwork, or doing long runs. It also means I’m showing up to my other activities — running and skiing — sore and tired.
I’m not saying this to complain. In fact, I mention my new perma-sore state because it’s motivating me to keep trying this week. I’m choosing to see my sore muscles as a gift. They’re a sign that I’m getting stronger, that I’m not going through the motions of this new workout for nothing. Isn’t that why we do anything, in training and in life: to make ourselves stronger and better? The tough part is trusting that the payoff will come when we’re in the middle of the hard part.
Of course, I’m also motivated by some simpler, material items, too, mostly purchased at the Hudson Trail Outfitters sale at the store’s Gaithersburg, Md., outlet:
- Trail runners! I’ve been wanting these since the summer, when I first fell back in love with trail running. I truly believe hitting the trails makes my ankles stronger more stable. These, which I snagged for $45, will encourage me to get back out there come springtime.
- A few upgrades for my bike. I’m no cyclist — long bike rides have a strange tendency to make my IT band feel tight and sore — but my bike needed some serious love before I attempted even some quick, easy rides. Enter my new bike seat and helmet, both procured at amazingly discounted prices.
- Finally, I’m motivated by my last few runs, during which my usual pace has felt just a little bit harder than it did as recently as a couple months ago. This is more than just a feeling. It’s hard to argue with the numbers my beautiful new Garmin spit out after my first three runs with it:
Thursday, Jan. 14: 5.18 miles, 8:32-minute-mile pace
Tuesday, Jan. 19: 4.56 miles, 8:24-minute-mile pace
Thursday, Jan. 21: 5.3 miles, 8:33-minute-mile pace
To that end, I forced myself to do a speed workout on the treadmill Saturday morning before heading to Whitetail Saturday afternoon. The 3X1-mile repeats at 7:30 minute-mile pace were harder than I’d like to admit. I trust that my muscles and lungs are already stronger and more efficient as a result.
What’s motivating you this week? Let me know by posting a comment below.