Use the tools at your disposal

If you have it, use it

I used to think I was both building and showing my toughness when I ran outside in all conditions.

Over the past week or so, we got around 30 inches of snow in about 4.5 days and then some extreme cold settled in. As a result, I’ve been making heavy use of my treadmill.

Back in the day, I would have said I’m being a wimp if I was making as much use of the treadmill as I am right now. I was always careful to not project these feelings on others but I most definitely would have felt that way about myself. Right now, I’m considering myself very smart and not at all wimpy for making these decisions.

The reason is pretty simple: I’m using the tools at my disposal to maximize the benefit of my training and minimize the risk of harm. Sure, I could have done a handful of easy runs outside in the extreme cold and on snowy and icy roads in this past week but to what benefit and at what cost? I would have been putting a lot of stress on my leg muscles and risking a fall by slipping and sliding, I wouldn’t have gotten the same training benefit due to the slipping and sliding and I would have also compromised my training benefit by wearing enough gear to stay warm.

Instead, I chose to stay in and use the treadmill, which gave me good footing that didn’t tear my legs apart, allowed good runs at good paces without too much effort and with good form. I came out of these runs with better training, building more fitness in the long run, and with less risk of injury.

If you think about it that way, it seems like a no brainer. Sure, I didn’t get the “toughness” aspect of dealing with the cold but I’ll find other ways to keep my “toughness” sharp.

If you have tools like this available, use them. Don’t be my former self, insisting that you need to be “tough” or whatever. Use what is available to you in order to get the best training you can from the effort you’re putting forth. It may not be the “tough guy” thing to do but it is the smart thing to do.

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