Today I went on my scheduled 20 mile run and didn’t make it too far. About 3 miles into my run I stopped to loosen up my shoulders because I felt a lot of tightness. As soon as I lifted my hands into the air, I felt a muscle grab in my upper back. It felt like something was torquing on my back and so I slowly lowered my arm back down and felt the tension ease up, but the damage was done. Upon each shallow breath I could feel the deep muscle of the back. I tried to run, but I was far from normal. My arm swing had to be modified in order to make it comfortable. I decided that this tightness would not get any better so I opted to turn around and walk back. My 20 mile run turned into a 3 mile run followed by a 3 mile walking cool down.
Turning around and abandoning my scheduled run was an easy decision, but it hasn’t always been this way. I learned a valuable lesson in my mid 20’s( I’ll save that story for a later time) that I believe has helped to keep things in perspective when it comes to staying healthy. Anytime I am faced with a nagging pain or unusual tightness I remind myself of my goal – to continue a lifetime of exercise and fitness. I am not in this for the short term and sometimes a day or two is all it takes to get me back on track. Ignoring the small issues can become big issues that turn into chronic pains and injuries. Chronic pain related to exercise will most definitely lead to a shortened lifetime of fitness and you will be taken out of the game, not by choice, but because you have to. That my friends makes abandoning a scheduled workout an easy decision. Most likely I will be back to normal in a day or two and by next weekend I will feel like I never missed a step.