When you're as old as I am, part of the routine in waking up each day includes dealing with muscle pain and soreness. Following yesterday's weight room workout I suspect at least 17 hearty souls woke up with the same experience this morning. Delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, is a common occurrence after exercise and indicates your muscles are getting stronger. When you begin weight training, just as when you began running, you encounter muscle pain caused by your new regimen. You remember; the difficulty in walking down stairs, walking across the room after sitting for a time, and even the discomfort of raising out of your chair all accompanied your first attempt at running. The upper body discomfort you're experiencing now is similarly your body's adapting to the new stressor. And it may linger for a couple of days. In fact, we introduced weight training last evening with the thought in mind that you've got a four day recovery period until Tuesday, our next gathering.
Medical experts will tell you DOMS is perfectly normal and accompanies unaccustomed physical activity. Also, it is actually a mild muscle strain creating microscopic damage to the muscle tissue, hence the aches. But your body will adapt. The next time we hit the weight room there will be less damage, less soreness, and faster recovery.
How to deal with it today? Well, most of you are familiar with pain sensations in your legs following a hard race or a long run. Similar remedies exist for upper body DOMS. Specifically, rest, anti-inflammatories, massage, ice and stretching will help.
You all have the advantage of youth and fitness. You should not be discouraged by soreness. Just as you did when you began running, you'll see both short and long term progress in the weight room. We understand upper body DOMS is an entirely new sensation for you. But when you went from running 10 minute miles to 9, 8 or even lower you saw the pain fade and even disappear. It works the same way in the weight room. Its called conditioning.
Take it easy over the next few days. Get some easy running in. You'll be surprised at how quickly the upper body aches fade while you're putting the lower body muscles to the task. And keep in mind that your competition is in all probability putting forth the same effort. He or she will be ready when it is time to measure the results of your training. Make a commitment to preparation. Encourage ALL your teammates to do the same. We'll see you Tuesday for Core @ 4.
Enjoy your 4th!