Sunday, December 9, 2012

Caution Grasshopper!

We see a lot of motivational stuff written for runners, walkers, bodybuilders, tri athletes and just about any sport or fitness passion you can imagine.  One of the most popular and one that's been around for quite some time is, "Just do it".  That is a great one for getting you off the couch and out the door, especially in the beginning phases of training.  That phrase has probably motivated millions to lace up the running shoes and get out on the road.

But if one is to lead a life of motion and fitness then you have to add wisdom and caution to the motivation.  "Pain is only weakness leaving the body", "It will only hurt for a while till you warm up", "Put your big girl/boy pants on and get it done".  All are wonderful at the right time but they can be exactly the wrong thing to hear at other times.

When you have been an adult athlete for many decades and have lived a life where being fit is the norm and sometimes being super fit has been achievable then you eventually learn that less can be more and rest can be better.  One of the ills that athletes deal with are tight sore muscles at times.  A tight sore place can mean a lot of things and dealing with it the wrong way can make it worse.

When I have a tight sore area, not an injury, but just for example a tight calf muscle or a very sore spot somewhere, I have a technique that usually works well.  The best fix is a visit to a good massage therapist, you don't usually have one in the house before your run or in the hotel your staying at and it's race morning.  Next best is to fill the tub with hot water and massage and work that muscle with kneading and long deep strokes with your thumbs.  Often that sore place is a buildup of waste from the last time you worked out hard or waste that has been building up for a while.  You need to push that waste out of the muscle so your body can deal with it.

That sounds simplistic but it's, I think a good lay explanation of what's going on in your sore muscle.  Muscles are like engines, food and oxygen in, combustion and waste (lactic acid) expelled form the cells.  That lactic acid builds up and causes soreness and pain.  If you can't make a place better with heat and massage then you probably have more going on that might need extra rest or a visit to the doctor or chiropractor.

Thanks for reading.

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