“Become who you are.”
Without getting too far on the philosophical & psychological spectrum (at least in regards to this blog post), knowing yourself and how you operate internally- and externally- is the secret weapon to running well. Decision making is the difference, and discernment is the guidepost. To keep it simple, anybody can run badly, but it takes an understanding of who you are and how your body responds in order to run well, injury-free, and for a lifetime. In general, poor discernment is as simple as total ignorance, and good discernment is a continual process of understanding/perceiving what affects you- and choosing to respond. To “become who you are” as a runner, means making it a daily habit to be aware of what affects your capacity to run, and being able to make decisions to become the best possible runner you are capable of becoming. When a person is able to think critically and make good decisions about “best practice” running, the key ingredient for success is in place.
“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.” (John Wooden)
Because I like to follow the K.I.S.S. principle with each of these blog posts, I plan to cover the basics of Runner’s Discernment in 3 parts.
- What are you made of?
- Creativity & Decision Making
What are you made of?
The human body is an extraordinary gift and tool. The more we give, the more we get back. Watch any high level athlete perform at their best, and realize the difference in abilities, and you’ll no doubt be humbled. A good self understanding and particular knowledge of things like: past injuries, daily habits, sensitivities, age, weight, family medical history, among many other particulars begin to give you a more wholesome idea of who you are and what you’re actually made of.
“Matter matters.” That is, the structure, form, and type of your body will influence how running impacts you. The details can be vast, so checking in with a good physical therapist can help give you a good understanding of what you’re working with when it comes to running.
This is the tool of the trade. In further posts, we will detail each of these components of self-examination for your ability to run, but they are as follows:
- Whole Movement Mobility & Stability
- Tissue Mobility
- Joint Stability
Periodic self-assessments of your body will be paramount to proper discernment. Do you have tight ankles or hips? Is it easier to jump on your right leg or your left? Why do you have pain in the *same* area after 4 miles? Does your job promote or inhibit your capacity to run- or your daily habits for that matter? It all matters, to some degree, based on your running goals. As noted, we’ll cover the details of how to provide a thorough self-assessment periodically in coming posts.
Creativity and Decision Making
Knowing 1.) What you’re made of, and 2) How you’re built for running are two of the builders that let you be creative and make good judgments while running. The details can sometimes feel overwhelming, which is why it can be supremely helpful to see a specialist or have a coach to assist with some of these things. That being said, you’re the runner! You have a brain to make decisions for everything else you do- running is no different. Nobody knows your body (or your brain) like you do. After you have a good understanding of those points (above), you’ll have the power and control to be better at things like: self-pacing, route changing, racing competitively, safely running with *pain* (depending on the type), orchestrating your own training plans, managing post-run recovery, among a slew of other freedoms.
Discernment is the guidepost that helps a runner simplify all of the details, noise, and other influences into two constant options: 1) Is this good for me and will help me become a better version of myself? or 2) Is my capacity to be a healthy runner being hindered by this?
By integrating components of Strike, Tactility, Rhythm, Intensity, and Economy (coming next week!), the runner obtains a strengthening of their “secret weapon”, which is being an expert of their own capacity to run well and successfully.
Decision making is the difference, and discernment is the guidepost.