Brrrr… It was cold outside this past weekend! I’m not complaining. It’s January in Ohio and I get to run outside without overheating, so I’m a very happy human. Happy because I think I’ve finally figured out how to dress properly for outdoor exercise. Maybe. (Ha! Who am I kidding? I usually overdress and I only got it right this weekend because it was sooooo cold. 😂)
It’s funny how easily I slipped back into my Saturday morning routine. Up before the alarm went off, with time to feed Scooter and grab a mask before heading out into the cold, quiet morning.
It’s also funny how quickly I forget how much my body will hurt when I change my fitness routine. This past Sunday morning was more painful than Sundays have been recently, thanks to the hills and quicker pace of Saturday’s run.
K and I walked another two miles on Saturday after my run, and we walked six miles yesterday. The delayed onset muscle soreness in my glutes and quads is already dissipating, and, after a full week of regular running, I am sure next Sunday will be more comfortable…or at least less of a shock.
Effective exercise doesn’t always make your body hurt, but it can. Understanding this can help you to get through the soreness and discomfort.
Managing expectations can be the difference between a good experience and a less-than-ideal experience.
We’ve all had good and bad experiences. Sometimes problems arise due to your expectations about how the experience should play out versus how things actually occur.
It’s like ordering dinner or requesting a book from the library.
For example, you might call and order a pizza. If you know it’s going to take an hour and you are starving, you might be delighted when your pizza arrives in 35 minutes, piping hot. Conversely, you might be disappointed when your pizza arrives after 90 minutes and it’s lukewarm, especially if you were told it would arrive in 20.
The experience of placing a hold on a library book and then waiting for that book is similar. If you know a popular book won’t be available for at least three months, you might be elated if you are able to borrow a copy in just a few weeks. However, if you place a hold expecting to borrow a book and the library sends the wrong title, you might be a little bummed.
Being prepared for muscle soreness makes the experience a touch more bearable, even if it’s still unpleasant. (I’ve come to expect muscle soreness as I increase my training load or switch activities, and I’m delighted when I feel better than I expect to feel the day after a new or tough workout.)
The strange thing with exercise soreness is that the experience is different for each of us. Some of us feel muscle soreness more frequently than others.
Also, just because you are sore the day or two after a workout does not mean that your workout was effective…and the absence of soreness does not mean that your workout was ineffective.
Further, going all out for every workout isn’t sustainable. As much as we want to challenge ourselves and see the results we are working toward, change takes time. Building and maintaining fitness is an active process and rest is necessary. Recovery time allows our bodies to heal and come back to our next workout stronger.
Give yourself time to reach your goals, keep moving forward, and enjoy the process. You are positively affecting your health by moving regularly, regardless of whether or not you experience delayed onset muscle soreness.