I’m Sore and I Can’t Move!

Athletic swimmer is diving in a swimming pool

So, you committed to functional strength as part of your training. Now two days after your big strength session you can barely move. We’ve all been there. Let’s talk about how to handle these sessions within the tapestry of your training.

The key to dealing with soreness is to stay active. The answer is- whatever you can do!

Yes, go swim. Swimming is a great way to deal with soreness and is the preferred answer. But also, you can do a bit of your other scheduled sessions as well. If you have a bike session scheduled, then get on the bike. If it’s a run, then put the shoes on and head out the door.  HOWEVER, don’t try and complete a tough session when the body just won’t respond. Instead, plan to scale the session down to what is possible. You may turn the bike session into a 45-60 minute easier spin session with very little intensity. The run may become an easy 20-30 minute run/walk – nice and easy. The key is to get moving, move blood and let healing take place. We certainly aren’t building fitness here. We are simply trying to get the body back and ready for the training we are going to put on tomorrow or even the next day.

The bigger lesson here is – avoid the soreness. The guiding principle of strength work is “it must not overly negatively impact your training.”

Let’s be very clear- strength is essential to your progression. When you maximize the potential of the body you have, then it’s time to change that body! Endurance sport is about strength and power. So, we MUST incorporate strength work in order to truly progress.

When it comes to big training sessions and functional strength we have to be careful. Our PRIDE tells us to go do it – further, faster, harder. And often we are successful in completing THAT session – but then we have SABOTAGED the next couple of days of training. In the end, we are WORSE off than if we would have just scaled back the original sessions – consistency is the key to progression! And you can’t be consistent when you are too sore to move!

So, we have to be honest with ourselves when we see those sessions. Keep the effort in check and set ourselves up for success through the entire training week.

About the Author:

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Sean Garick is a Promax Doer.  He is a triathlon coach with purplepatch fitness. Sean is a retired 22 year Marine corps officer-LtCol. He was a fighter pilot and a test pilot with over 300 carrier landings and 2300 hours of flight time in 25 different types of aircraft. He became interested in endurance sports later in life and joined forces with Matt Dixon. He retired last year and came on full time as a Ironman U certified coach.