Muscle Memory

AJW writes about how the body seems to remember spring each year.

By on April 24, 2020 | 1 comment

AJW's TaproomEarlier this month, the CBS TV broadcasting company presented a rebroadcast of Tiger Woods’s historic win at the 2019 Masters Golf Tournament. As part of the presentation, CBS commentator Jim Nantz interviewed Woods during the broadcast to get some ‘up close and personal’ comments from the golf legend.

At the start of the show, Nantz asked Woods how he was doing and particularly how his health was as his last appearance in a golf tournament back in February resulted in a last-place finish for Woods. In a characteristic Tiger style, Woods downplayed his injuries and said he felt like he was really coming into form just as he has every spring for the past 25 years.

“It’s like my body knows the Masters is coming. It’s almost April, and muscle memory takes over,” Woods remarked matter of factly.

I, for one, have never been much of a proponent of muscle memory, but something about Woods’s comments got me thinking. Similar to Woods, my running had been in a funk for much of the winter and I wasn’t quite sure why. Things were dark, cold, and just rather gloomy. Then, as the calendar turned from February to March, something happened. As if a switch had gone off, it was like something inside me said it was time to get moving and time to prepare for long summer of adventures in the mountains.

While I haven’t quite done it for as long as Tiger, I have, for the past 20 years of my life, spent much of the springtime preparing for long summer races. And this year, while there are no races to prepare for, my body didn’t seem to know any different and by early April it had sprung into action. Call it muscle memory or body memory or just plain memory, something told me it was time to get moving, time to get into shape, time to knock off some rust, and time to get after it. And so that’s what I’ve been doing.

To be honest, it’s always been a bit of a mystery on how every spring this seems to happen, but when I look back at my old running logs, there is a clear and steady pattern to support this phenomenon. And this year, even in the absence of any real, tangible objective, it seems particularly gratifying to know that the body knows more than the mind sometimes, whether it remembers or not.

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer of the Week

This week’s Beer of the Week comes from Deep Ellum Brewing Company in Dallas, Texas. Home to one of the finest blonde ales I have ever tasted, Deep Ellum’s Dallas Blonde is a flowery blonde with a citrus bite and just a hint of sweetness. Smooth and easy drinking, the Dallas Blonde is a perfect first-hot-evening-of-the-springtime beer.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Do you have some sort of muscle memory for the different ‘seasons’ in your year of running?
  • Does something in you ‘remember’ an element of your past running?
Andy Jones-Wilkins
Andy Jones-Wilkins finished in the top 10 men at the Western States 100 7-straight times. He's sponsored by Patagonia and Drymax socks and is iRunFar's editorialist.