Go Ahead, Muscle This

Chapter 4, Blog 2

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang



Additionally, between practices, my calf muscles stiffened and boycotted other physical activities. That made stairs almost impossible. I tried to avoid them. When I couldn’t, I had to take them sideways and ignore the other kind of stares. Short of steroids, what could I do for them? What did medical science say about the art of running – and whining muscles?

After what I felt were three nonproductive weeks, with the clock running, I needed help, online help. On the Web, there were 46.3 million hits for “Olympic Games for Morons.”

Ah, the Internet

A pack of websites had blogs by track geeks, who left nothing to the imagination. If you wanted to know what to eat with your Wheaties on Thursday or what shoe sensor-iPod/GPS unit to get, they told you. In fact, I thought there was a little too much information. One zealous geek debated the optimum number of bowel movements per week for a college long jumper.


Some well-meaning suggestions from the blogsters proved baffling at best.

  • Vary your training such as running different distances so as not to become stale.
  • During the offseason, build a base by running longer distances. And whatever you do, don’t do any speed work.
  • Your 400 speed is a good indicator of your potential in the 800.
  • Don’t worry about varying your routines, you won’t become stale.
  • “Strides” are good.
  • It’s never too early to do speed work.
  • Be sure to work out with a buddy, so you can push each other.
  • Don’t count on anyone else for motivation, it comes from within.
  • Don’t worry about your speed in the 400. It means nothing.
  • “Strides” are bad.
  • Don’t run every day because your muscles need time to heal and become stronger.
  • Run every day so your muscles can become stronger and heal faster.

See? See what I mean?

More perplexed than when I started, I googled 800. From Wikipedia:

“800 m is a common track running event. It is the shortest common middle distance. The 800 meters is run over two laps of the track (400 meters) and has always been an Olympic event.

“The event requires both sprinting speed and physical endurance to last two laps, and thus combines the most challenging aspects of both sprinting and middle distance in a single race.”

The article also included common 800-meter tactics such as letting someone else pace the first lap and not getting “boxed in.” Oh yes, I remembered that. It happened to me only one time in high school before Coach Rockard chewed my ass inside out.

I can assure you it never happened again.

Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

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