2011-08-05

Friday Reflections 2/2 : Workout Plan Going Forward

My Injury
After giving my leg some good rest, yet still occasionally feeling pain in my calf while working out, I am starting to believe that there is a hefty  psychological component to my injury. A minor muscle tear should only take a few weeks to heal. I believe I've reached the point where my leg must have healed, and yet here I am nursing it on the stationary exercise bike at the gym every day.

The reason I fear I may be imagining some of the pain is because this sort of thing has happened to me before. Most notably, when I was twenty years old. It happened while I was carrying a 4x12 guitar speaker cabinet down a staircase in my apartment. I took a small misstep and fell backwards against the corner of the hand railing. The sharp part hit me right beside my spinal column, resulting in a very minor herniated disk. I had to take some time off from running because the strain on my back was too much. It was about a year before I could exercise again at all. Over that time I gained almost twenty pounds and almost forgot how to run long distances. It was depressing. Looking back, though, there is no reason to believe that a minor herniated disk would require that much recovery time. Ultimately, I am forced to conclude that much of the problem was the fear of being more seriously injured than I was.

So I have some experience with phantom pains of this kind. Nowadays, when I suffer any sort of an injury (which, frankly, is rare), I am vigilant as to my own mind and tricks it wants to play on me. This requires a dedication to self-reflection, to always asking myself to reconsider my position. Not everyone has the constitution for this kind of self-second-guessing, but it is a vital skill to have, in my opinion, and not just for fitness reasons.

All said, I think I'm going to go for a run tonight after I lift weights. I believe that if I can make it to the end of the workout, my leg will be healed.

My Plan
So what's the workout plan now, you ask?

At this stage, I am quite enjoying the opportunity to build some upper body mass. As I mentioned before, I have taken on a sort of A-Day/B-Day approach, where A-Days are bicep/back/abs days, and B-Days are tricep/shoulder days. I am foregoing resistance training on my legs because I am a long-distance runner and I don't want to bulk up my primary means of workout fun. Besides, I still have a half-marathon to run next month. 

Taking a page from the Hyperfitness philosophy, I have decided to change-up my workout routine every two weeks. Burch does this apparently because he gets bored if he does the same workout routine for longer than two weeks. The P90X folks call this "muscle confusion." For myself, I have simply noticed that my body never responds more quickly than when I am starting up a fresh workout routine. If I make an effort to always keep my routine fresh, I expect my body to continue to respond quickly. That's a good thing.

Even so, I want to keep my A-Day / B-Day approach. I also want to continue to focus on building and toning my upper body muscles. So my plan is to keep things theoretically as they are, while varying the specific exercises involved every two weeks. This means that I have one more week of my current routine left before I make another change. I will have to do some real brain-storming to ensure the change is both challenging and effective. Hopefully, it will also be somewhat educational for you, the reader.

More on that as the idea progresses.