The one thing, well one of the things, that I have learned in the past three years is that no matter how long you compete or participate in triathlon, or running, swimming, and cycling, or how many races you have run, you always learn something new each time you go out. Where some of us, or you, get into trouble is when you feel you have done something so long that you have nothing else left to learn, or get better at. I see this a lot in my work life. People are so ingrained into the government way of doing things that they cannot see the problems when it stares them in the face. I fight this on a daily basis, because I have not been in government that long. Things that are apparent to me are invisible to those I am trying to help. The best thing to remember when trying to solve a problem is to not allow yourself to be drawn to the most obvious answer. More often than not the most obvious is wrong. Much like the definition of insane, if you continue to do the same things and expecting different results, you are doing no one any good, most of all yourself as you try to get better at whatever you are trying to get better at.
You can see this a lot on the track, but it has to be tempered with some common sense. If someone runs with their legs flailing about, or arms jutted out like airplane wings, it is tempting to try to correct them, but at times correcting something like this can actually do more harm than good. You also see this (prepare yourself haters) in the way people eat before races. You still see running veterans and coaches posting on social media about their carb load of pasta before the race, regardless of the mountains of evidence available stating that carb loading the night before, especially with pasta, does not work, and actually slows you down. Doesn’t matter though does it? Tell someone this and inevitably you will hear “I have been doing it this way for 20 years, and I am faster than you, so I am going to keep doing it”. Same as someone who downs gel after gel after gel and wonder why they have stomach issues.
Part of my learning has been to let this go and to not concern myself with those that refuse to change. I am not always successful.
I had the opportunity to participate in a “Running 101” event this morning at the St. Pete Running Company. When I first saw it posted I will admit that my first reaction was “it’s running 101 … I know this already” but I fought that urge and went ahead and signed up for it. I am glad I did. It was an example of what I was talking about above … no matter how long you’re doing it or how many races you have run you can always improve. Cody and Chris ran the group of 60 or so through a set of warm ups, drills, and light running that challenged how we ran and brought out some flaws in my style (yeah … I know … flaws???). Afterward I had Cody put me through the test to see how my gait and posture was, because when I run I feel myself running on the outside of my feet. Especially my right. I was happy to hear that he feels my form is right on (all that Chi Running stuff seems to have made a difference). The issue with my feet pronating out seems to be related to a hip issue and the fact, after laying on the ground and eyeballing my knees, that my right leg seems to be a bit longer than my left. Where Cody and his staff are different is what they don’t do …
In the past when I have been tested by others and they see the foot issue, the first reaction was to sell me inserts. Expensive inserts. Cody never mentioned inserts at all, and this makes me trust them more now, because inserts do not work and are just one more thing people buy into that have no science behind it. In fact, when seeing how my right foot tends to flair out, instead of telling me I was wrong or had a problem, his reaction was that it would probably cause more harm to try to fix it and to just not worry about it because my overall form and posture was good. We spoke a bit about engaging the glutes more to take the load off the calves, a drill he had gone through during the workshop and did feel like it made a difference.
It under scores the importance of finding a good local running store to develop a relationship with. Chains tend to sell you instead of getting to know you. If you are local to St. Pete, Tampa, Clearwater, etc. I urge you to try out this store. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. And tell them the Fat Slow Triathlete sent you.