When I started running 7 years ago, I didn’t follow any system. Not having run a step since school, I figured ‘how hard can it be? It’s just running, right?’ I always liked being active. Since my schooldays I have tried nearly 11 different sports. From Soccer, to Rock climbing, I have always been active. Loving the feeling of movement, physical exertion, breaking a sweat, using your muscles to go faster or hit the ball harder.
A system to going nowhere
So it was completely natural that I take up running as an anti-dote to the sedentary day in front of the computer. Running fast always made me feel good. So I thought, lets just try and run a few days a week. This was during the time that I discovered triathlon as one of the ultimate sports, so it was needed if I was going to complete a sprint triathlon.
So what did my training programme look like? Basically it was an amalgamation of everything I could read and hear from other experts, friends and coaches. But you don’t think about getting a coach, ‘because it should be easy, right?’
But just like in business, it turns out, it is not complicated, but it is not easy.
The Results speak for themselves
Fast forward a few years, and the results speak for themselves. Tell me if this sounds familiar? You start a new training plan, or idea, or exercise, stick to it for a few months. Then one day, Superman-syndrome(where you think you are invincible, when you are just one workout away from disaster) kicks in, and before you know it, the all-too-familiar inexplicable pain in the (insert running specific body part) starts. Then come the questions. How can this happen, again? What am I doing wrong? How can I fix this? Can I still race Sunday?
And this went on for a good couple of years until I met my beautiful wife, Tarrin. Not that getting married solved my running problems, but she introduced me to the idea of following a system, instead of tactics.
Knowledge is power
With a history of successful running since her schooldays, she coupled her education and training as a physiotherapist to start the RUNeasy Running Clinic. This knowledge she used to illustrate the system of training load, adaptation and self-experimentation.
For the past 6 years, she has been running almost pain-free, able to instantly treat any niggle that comes up during her training. And from the start I was amazed. Since she understood the basics and mechanics of the human body and the running stride, she has been able to consistently avoid injury, and that ever-present ‘6-month lay-off’ that so many runners struggle with(including me). By consistently applying principles instead of tactics, she has been able to go from strength to strength, regularly finishing in the top 10 this past year.
Advocating common sense
A passionate advocate for injury self-management, she is also very insistent on the placebo effect of the ‘latest and greatest’ techniques and pills, and so-called quick fixes available on the market today. KT Tape, Cupping – all these things are wonderful little tactics that promise to fix it all. But recovery and injury are governed by the body’s ability to heal. Which takes a set amount of time. And a set amount of stress, before it breaks.
This is the difference to me between someone who knows what they are talking about, with years of results to back them up, and others who just jump from the newest wonder-cure to the next.
Strategy vs. Tactics. Systems vs. Quick-Fixes. Long-term vs. Short-term. The example of icons of history has taught is the value of employing a system, instead of tactics.
Do the right thing vs. the easy thing
Yes it is not complicated to take some time off from running, and figure out if you are doing too much. But people would rather buy KT tape or try the latest tablet, because they need to ‘race XYZ next week’.
The human body is a wonderful structure, capable of superhuman feats. But it is only once you understand this structure, and it’s underlying mechanics that you are able to follow a system to improve your running, and not just a cupboard full of tactics that only deplete your wallet.