Achieving Muscle Confusion

On rainy days it’s tough to get motivated for an outdoor adventure. Run in the rain? Sure, but I prefer it when the temperature is above 40. I could plug in the ‘buds and go for a long sloppy walk but it wouldn’t be much fun. Besides, off days are good opportunities to pursue muscle confusion: to cross-train in ways that support the muscles most frequently used.

Days like these I’m glad my treadmill is broken, or I’d hate myself for doing an hour of gerbil wheel time.

Feeling inspired, I went public skating to mix things up. Along with muscle confusion, it created some mental confusion — I used to be a good skater but my skills have slipped considerably. Why did I land on my butt when I tried to skate backward counterclockwise? The skates really weren’t sharp enough, but maybe I also just don’t have the flexibility I used to. That’s amazing considering the hours I spent skating when I was a kid.

But skill slip aside, I’m glad I went. The rink was empty except for me and two guys passing a puck for about 45 minutes. It was really pretty boring. When I rollerblade, it’s outside (I favor Rhode Island’s East Bay Bike Path and the downtown end of the Charles River bike path in Boston/Cambridge) — and I listen to music that keeps it interesting. At the rink there was just the sound of sticks hitting pucks hitting the boards, not even the usual canned organ music.

When the skates really started to bite into my instep I exercised mental muscles, convincing myself I could skate through the pain to round out the hour. It almost worked, but it means I’ll be inside doing yoga in my bare feet until the blistering subsides and I can get shoes on again.


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