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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

What your lungs remember your legs quickly forget

November 10, 2009

My recent jogging resurgence has taught me a little bit about my own body’s memory. It turns out that my lungs have not forgotten that this past spring I was jogging a lot. That I was jogging further and further and more consistently than any other time in my entire life. And that I was able to sustain a fairly good pace for, what is still my furthest distance, over 15K at a clip.

When I began to jog again last week it took only 1K or so before my lungs were back in stride. I’ve had almost no pain in my lungs since that first 1K (of a 5K run) and I’ve run about 20K since then.

What your lungs remember your legs quickly forget, it would seem. My legs ached after the first jog. For my first jog I went along my usual 5K course, except I did it in reverse. By doing this it sets me up for success because the beginning of the jog is slightly downhill and then it levels out for at least 2.5K straight. This builds my confidence in jogging for a duration of time rather than just distance. Sometimes simply jogging for 15, 20, or 30 minutes straight can be the mental challenge that people face in the beginning. However, the end of the jog is slightly uphill and so that is probably what caused the soreness.

During my second jog my legs were a little sore (three days later) but the soreness really began when I played football on Sunday. Both yesterday and today my legs have been very, very achy. So it will come as no surprise that I did not want to jog today. Well, my head did but my legs didn’t.

However, I’ve recently begun to do something I think is rather novel – whenever I feel uncomfortable about something or don’t want to do something – I do one better, I force myself to do more than I would have otherwise. Have trouble getting up early for work? Get up really early. Have trouble talking in front of a lot of people? Do a presentation in front of hundreds. Don’t want to jog because your legs are a little sore and you’re being a baby about it? Then jog double the distance you had planned on.

So that is what I did. I jogged 10K instead of the 5K I had planned on doing. I knew I could do it because I had done it before but it was still a major mental and physical battle. I almost took a shortcut home 3 separate times. Instead of taking the shortcuts I simply kept going. That is all you can do when you are at that point in a jog and you want to give up, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. With that out of the way, though, I can now focus on improving my 10K time and continue onto 15K within the next few weeks.

By then my legs should remember.