Thursday, 15 August 2019

Staying Strong

Like many (or most?) middle-of-the-pack runners, I suck at doing strength training. Or, while we're being honest, let's just call a spade a spade: I'm too lazy to do proper strength training. There. I said it. Sure, I do a few air squats here and clamshells there in order to strengthen my glutes and improve my running form. But am I consistently immersing myself in real, honest-to-goodness whole-body strength training? Nope. I'd rather run (for the hills).

It hasn't always been that way, though. Back in my late teens and up to my early thirties, having a gym membership was high up on my priority list, and with that came unlimited access to boot camp classes galore. I loved doing those and, once or twice a week, I'd squat, grunt, crawl and lunge my way to an endorphin high with either my dad or bestie by my side. We loved suffering through those torture sessions together, and while we admittedly spent the majority of our days battling delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), we were fit, strong and ready for anything.

Circa 2004-ish, with my bestie, Tanya, before one of our pre-dawn sweat sessions.

Fast forward ten years to my early forties and so many things have changed. Will and I have been blessed with two beautiful children, and while that in itself is reason enough to keep up the strength work, I just don't have the energy. Because being in charge of an energetically willful and determined five-year-old is so much easier when every inch of your body isn't silently screaming out with DOMS.

Ain't nobody got time for DOMS!

But here's the thing: Entering my forties has also taught me the real reason why staying strong is so important. Not to supplement running or to help improve my running form. And not even to stay in shape or have some much-needed me-time. (Although all of these things are, of course, wonderfully positive and important.) I'm slowly but surely starting to realise that staying strong now will be vital in enabling and allowing me to get the most out of the next phase of my life. I will need to be strong in order to optimally enjoy my sixties and beyond. 

How do I know that? By noticing, as the years tick by, that I'm slouching just a little bit deeper than I have before. By hearing my joints creak just a little bit louder when I get out of bed. And by watching my arms and upper body become softer than it's ever been. 

So, for the sake of my future self, I'm once again starting to squat, grunt, crawl and lunge my way to happiness - albeit on a less intensive scale. DOMS be damned!


  1. Beautiful post. I totally agree. I am almost 63 and staying strong is important to prevent injures and pains. Unfortunately I am limited because of the incident in my shoulder, so I cannot go to the gym, I cannot swim as I'd like, I cannot paddle but I do what I can: running, walking, swimming, light gymnastic and phiosyotherapy.

    1. I applaud you for keeping on doing what you can despite your shoulder injury, Stefano - it is truly inspiring!


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