Take it Easy

I have to remember my own advice when it comes to exercise: don’t overdo it. I’m in the Army National Guard, and I am on my Annual Training (AT) right now. Part of AT is doing physical training (PT) every morning. As an older soldier, and as an NCO, I have to put in extra effort as I am an example to my soldiers. I have to maintain my appearance, height, weight, and PT scores when I am tested. What I also need to do is to be careful to ensure I remain injury-free.

I didn’t do a good job of that last point this past week. While I didn’t sustain any injury, per se, I did overdo a sprint which resulted in my thighs becoming very full of pain. Every step I take is now painful on the tops of my thighs. This is such a strange sensation, because the rest of my muscles feel fine; it’s just the tops of my thighs.

As the days have been going on, my thighs are healing ever so slowly, but the fact remains that I shouldn’t have pushed as hard as I did. I didn’t have the, “You ran hard” pain. I had the, “You ran way too hard and tore muscles” pain.

It’s possible to train hard without injury. You have to know your limits, push up against them, and then back off. Pushing past those limits should only happen in emergencies. This incident was nowhere near an emergency. It was something silly: pride.

I was racing a Captain, and I didn’t want him to beat me. Let’s not count the fact that he’s about 15 years younger than I am. I just wanted to at least keep up (which I did) and not get beat (which I did, but barely). The cost wasn’t worth it, though.

I hope to be pain-free by next week. We have some ruck marches and a lot more runs coming up. I need to be able to perform at a higher level than I have been able to this week due to the pain in my thighs.

This is my reminder to you to be careful when you exercise, and when you do, if you push, don’t push too hard. The pain afterward will be far more detrimental than any perceived benefits.

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