This week I have put in a lot of time playing with the ways I can make #brightorangeshoes awesome for everyone and let me just say, it is a lot more work than I initially thought. Following all that, I decided to make yesterday my play day!
A bunch of friends decided to take advantage of the beautiful Seattle spring weather and play some “backyard volleyball” at Greenlake. My first reaction when asked to join was “..my run…” but I convinced myself to change up my routine and hit some balls around with the others. Man, what an excellent idea that was!
Yesterday I woke up muscles that have been sleeping since my last volleyball game almost a year ago. Today my shoulders, arm, legs, and torso were feeling it with most movement. Some people would be unhappy about freshly sore muscles but I can’t help but think about how awesome they are. Since the start of the year, I have been running pretty consistently which also means the same muscles have been getting consistently worked out.
For casual runs, that maybe all I need but after running a marathon I learned the true benefits of “full body strength”. I found that the first 13 or so miles I my body works out those “casual” run muscles, but anything more than that and I is screaming for a change. It isn’t like I am sore or hurt or in pain, but more along the lines of exhaustion.
For me, training season is a great time to “practice” and educate myself on ways to deal with the effect of exhausted muscles. One thing I discovered last year was that when running longer distances, and not sprinting, a person is using what are known as “long muscles” to keep going at a steady even pace. These are the muscles that get exhausted and worn out when I push myself past those “barrier miles”. If there are long muscles, then there are also “short muscles” or also known as “quick” muscles. These are used when sprinting short fast distances or jumping up and down.
My quick muscles are what I woke up yesterday. All my training has been trying to focus on improving my endurance and not so much my speed, which means I have been forgetting to stretch out those quick muscles. In addition to improving speed, quick muscles can also be used as the “back up” for long muscles when my legs reach that point of exhaustion.
I was really fascinated by this concept and am still digging in but my biggest, most helpful take away from all of this cool knowledge is that mixing up training plans can only improve performance. I may not be always working so much on running endurance but I am waking up and strengthening my “backup” plan. Volleyball and tennis games, or even different routes can provide similar results that I know I will not regret after the first 13.1 miles of my marathon.
… And now its play time!