The Sweet Spot
There's a point in a good workout that is undeniably awesome; maybe half to three-quarters of the way through at one of the more intense parts. I call it the sweet spot. I used to get it mainly in leg press lifts and deadlifts where you just got some heavy weight and the only thing that can possibly exist in your mind is that lift - getting the weight from point a to point b. I've gotten to where I find it in running too if I'm doing a longer run, around 4-5 miles in, I just zone out and there's literally nothing on my mind. It's an odd, but beautiful sensation.
For running, some call it runner's high. I've heard it referenced in reading about Zen running and it reminds me of what people describe as the meditative state found through yoga - which thinking about it now makes me want to try yoga more. Regardless of the terminology, I guess it's the point where your endorphins are firing on all cylinders and the adrenaline is kicking in. I could even see it as a manifestation of fight or flight, especially in the case of finding that state through lifting. At any rate, that sweet spot is one of my favorite things about exercising, at least on a more immediate basis.
I've been thinking about it more lately since I've had to take some time off of running to get over my hamstring injury. Previously, if I was having a rough day, I would either just go for a run then or go to sleep as soon as possible so I could wake up in the morning and go run - not to mention the post run protein shake and coffee. Now, I have to work a little harder to hit the sweet spot since I haven't had a pain free run in over a month. Getting there through lifting does feel more rewarding in a way though, which I've been finding more and more. If I can get a few really good lifts in or some lengthy planks, I still get that almost sublime feeling. That soreness and tiredness after a great workout is also a satisfying feeling, but it takes more thought and work for me to get that from lifting than from running.
I had felt lethargic all day and hadn't really gotten anything done, so I decided to get a lift in to feel like I accomplished something. I first hit the sweet spot during some side planks with a lift that is like a chest flye, I guess - I hadn't ever thought about what it would be called before. My arms and core were straining and I stopped noticing what I was listening to for a few seconds before I finished the plank and I knew I had to make the rest of the workout a good one to keep up that intensity.
This coming Tuesday will mark two weeks of resting up from running so I'm going to get out and see how my leg holds up on a short run. In my last post, I talked about how stoked I was for some of the race opportunities and goals I have in 2015 so the sooner I can get into half marathon training mode, the better I'll feel about my ability to sink my teeth into those goals and the better I'll feel about life in general, probably.
If you've got some input on your own sweet spot in a workout, I'd love to hear from you! You can either post in the comments or send me an email directly. If you've never hit the sweet spot before, I highly encourage you to go out and push yourself during a good workout and see what happens. Thanks for reading Run and Drum!