I don’t play basketball anymore.
Five or six years ago I played in a suburban dad’s league and injured my knee trying to do something that I could do when I was younger. So my body mocked and punished me for it.
I fell off my training regimen, gained some weight, and felt bad.
It took me months to get back.
Then, the next year, I signed up for the same league, played a few games, attempted some stupidity again and reinjured myself.
Then, three winters ago, I injured my other knee training for a 5K. I was heading downhill fast which puts a ton of pressure on the legs.
Since that last one, Ive gotten less dumb and I don’t get injured much if at all. As a result, I miss few training sessions and never lose consistency.
Consistency Trumps Intensity
I employ maximum intensity less often and in situations where I will likely not get injured. This includes the rowing machine and body weight resistance exercises like push ups and pull ups.
Even with body weight resistance, I max out to total failure less frequently, maybe ⅓ of sets.
Conventional wisdom goes that we have to push ourselves to our limits and that if we are not making gains, we are making losses.
This may be great for some but does not work great for me.
For me, consistency trumps intensity. Preventing injury trumps intensity. Especially as we age and the cost of injury increases in terms of losses for missing and the increased time to heal.
I’ve been doing slower runs, 3-4 miles. These will not help me improve my 10K time but I don’t really care.
I’m slow and I’m going to be slow.
This reminds me of a Wallace Stevens line:
I’ll run a less slow 5k, maybe 1x/month, 2x max. Feels great, my legs are rested and willing, and I don’t get injured.
I have no idea whether this will ever bring me maximum gains. I doubt it will. I feel great though, so I don’t really care.