I had never really felt my buttock muscles working before until I was walking upstairs the day after performing squat exercises for the first time. My glutes were sore, yet I felt as though my new-found muscles were powering me up the steps at the same time. Perhaps because I could feel them, I could use them. I began to notice these muscles during uphill sections on my runs too. Around the same time, I learned to sprint. The day after sprinting, the pleasant soreness in my glutes would also spread all the way down the backs of my thighs (hamstrings). And this sensation would spread all the way to my calfs when I first began to barefoot run. I don’t recall the exact day when I realised squats, hill running, sprinting and barefoot running were all versions of the same thing but when I did, I had understood the concept of how to make muscles work at the same time as introducing variability to training. Variability really is a runner’s best friend.
Variability underpins life itself; without genetic variation we would have died out as a species long ago….
Come back Friday June 4th for an extract from Chapter 14: The new normal. Pre-order the kindle version of the book now on amazon, out June 28th 2021.