Every year I think I am a better runner and every year I think I know “a lot” about running. I have even started coaching now and sometimes offering advice or feedback to people. What I learn about my own self every day is that I really don’t know much about anything and that I need to continually work more on my growth as a runner and find paths to learn more from others.
Definition of insanity
I have a coach, and she tells me to do things one way. But for some reason, I forget everything she tells me, and I do what I think I should do (Or want to do). Case in point: I know when I get off an airplane that my legs are tight, and I need to really run slow and not push anything in any way. What do I do every time I get off an airplane? I think to myself, “I will just get a quick run in.” So I lace up my shoes, head out the door from my hotel and start running. What do I not do? I don’t stretch; I don’t take time to warm up. I don’t do anything other than run. I basically go from a completely sedentary position to a totally active position in a matter of 3 seconds. My mind is so focused on what I want to do, I forget what I should do.
The next day
Now it’s the next day, and I am a little extra sore, or maybe I have a small muscle pull. With my most recent case, I went out for a run the next day and started to run for 1 second. Then the voice of my coach came into my head. “Brent, remember to do your stretches before every run” Why didn’t I do this the day before? Not only are my muscles now sore, but since I was doing a little limping, I have new pain. The new pain is on top of the pain in the ass I am to myself!
Here is my newest idea. Checklists. My son-in-law is a pilot and before they take off they go through a detailed checklist. There are so many good reasons to do this, but the main reason is that it is a list of things that need to be done to ensure that you will not break down and are safe during your journey. In a sense, we already do this to prepare for a run. Shoes, hat, sunglasses and all the other equipment you always take. Now the next step is this simple checklist of to do before you put one foot forward.
A new day
The wonderful part of running is every day is a new day, and every new day presents an opportunity to learn and grow. This morning I set out for my run. I stretched and made sure I didn’t go more than one mile. Two days ago, I had all the energy of a new trip, a new town, and a new place to run. Now I am limping.
Because I am a runner doesn’t mean I am a good runner. The passenger on the airplane doesn’t worry about the checklist. I need to be more than the passenger on the run. I need to participate in my own runs actively, and when I start to do that, I can start to help others.