2012-06-20

Go With What You Know

This post does not directly deal with the subject matter found in my previous post, but the issues are at least tangentially related.

For the past two weeks, I have tried committing myself to a morning run and an evening strength training workout. This is a reversal of my typical regimen, in that I have always preferred to lift weights in the morning and run in the evening. As I put it a couple of weeks ago,
Moreover, to my chagrin, I have little other choice but to run in the morning rather than the afternoon. In the case, the heat is a bit of a culprit, but the main culprit is the evening after-work traffic. It’s simply too heavy for me to get home in time to run and eat safely, without risking an overnight low.
What I've discovered since then is that the traffic is manageable as long as I leave for work by a particular time, and start my return voyage before a critical point in the afternoon. If I dutifully stay on top of this, the traffic problem gets solved.

As for the heat, it is a substantial obstacle in my evening runs, but no moreso than the tight muscles and general sluggishness that plagues me during an early-morning run. In fact, I feel just as sluggish in the morning as I do in the pervasive heat.

Sage Advice From An Old Veteran
Shortly before leaving Ottawa, I was in a shoe store, looking for some new trainers. As luck would have it, the owner of the store happened to be helping me with my shoe selection. This is one of the old guard, one of those guys who got into running in the early 1970s and stuck with it. He clearly has years of solid experience and wisdom under his belt.

At the time, my problem was that the trainers I already had were hurting my feet, so I needed to replace them. With the store owner's help, I chose a pair of Sauconys, which have been my favorite brand of trainers for a long time. In discussing my choice with the owner, he told me, "Your feet obviously like running in Sauconys. You should probably just stick with them."

He was right. I had spent the previous few months trying some different shoes here and there, looking for "something new" to shake things up in my daily run. In doing so, I had managed to give myself some minor-yet-chronic muscle and joint pain, which predictably disappeared as soon as I returned to more comfortable running shoes.

The moral of this story is: Go with what you know.

You Can't Fight Your Nature
Like a trusty pair of running shoes, your daily routine is something that makes you comfortable. More importantly, it is a highly efficient way of arranging the tasks in your life. This is especially true if you've been cultivating your routine for many years, as I have.

Unplanned disruptions in your routine can be annoying, and could even cause some adverse effects (as is the case with respect to my blood sugar). Planned disruptions seem to work a little better. But at the end of the day, your routine became your routine precisely because it works for you. Don't fight what works - embrace it, and use it to your advantage.

All that is to say that I'm returning to my more preferred arrangement of strength in the mornings, cardio in the evenings. It is what works, it is what I prefer. It gets me out the door. I simply like it better.

Your routine might not be the same as mine, but whatever it is, I suggest you try to stick to it.