Last week I got hammered.
No, not that kind of hammered.
During the #FridayFive last week, I decided to have a little fun and rustle some feathers by taking some not-so-subtle digs and those that watch a bit too much football.
It was all in good fun, at least that was my intention, and there was a legit message that I was trying to convey.
Though judging by the amount of lambasting I got from those in attendance, as well as the reception I got from my wife when I was finished, it’s safe to say that my point was missed.
And that isn’t the first time someone missed the gest of a quick tip or piece of advice that I have tried to convey…
Don’t Lose the Forest for the Trees
In every bit of advice, no matter the subject, you need to remember that some of it may work for you but some of it won’t.
As my late friend Stephen Lee once said, everything you read on the internet is simultaneously 100% true and 100% bullshit.
Meaning that when someone is giving you some advice about what worked for them, more than likely they are telling you the truth.
If it’s a friend or a well-meaning stranger, that person isn’t trying to steer you wrong.
That said, the truth that worked for them may not work for you at all.
That doesn’t mean that what they are saying is wrong in general, but that it’s wrong for you.
For whatever reason, what worked for them didn’t work for you.
But maybe, just maybe, there is a nugget of truth in what they are saying that would be helpful for you going forward.
If you simply dismiss their entire bit of advice as bullshit, you run the risk of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
How’s that for mixing metaphors, eh? hehe
But seriously though, this happens.
I’m pretty sure it happened on Friday night’s live stream. And I’m pretty sure I’ve seen evidence of it happening in a few other discussions that have been going on in the Facebook group of late.
And in a broader perspective, it happens in many other areas of life as well.
Politics. Religion. The economy.
We want everything to be nice and neat. Black and white.
And that simply isn’t how things work.
There are nuances and shades of gray in everything in life, and running advice is no different.
A Few Examples
Need me to flesh this out a bit more for you?
Let me see what I can do for you…
Friday’s Live Stream: Don’t Watch All the Football!
As I alluded to above, I purposefully went into last Friday’s #FridayFive with the intention of trolling my peeps a little bit.
Last weekend was the opening weekend of the NFL season, college football started the week before, and knowing football culture here in America I knew that a lot of people were planning to do little else but watch football for the better part the entire weekend.
So what I tried to do was give five suggestions for other things to do that would actually help you improve your running more than sitting on the couch for at least 12 hours each day watching football.
However, the message that seemed to be conveyed was don’t watch any football. And that wasn’t what I was going for at all!
Watch some football, specifically watch your team.
But your team isn’t playing in every game this weekend.
(And if you’re going to try and tell me that your team is playing every game, I’m pretty sure you don’t really have a team…)
So instead of just watching the game because there is a game on, why not get off your couch and do something that will help you improve as a runner?
Go for a walk or a bike ride. Prep your meals for the coming week so you’ll have healthy food available. Go to bed if your team isn’t playing the late-night game.
But instead of that message being received, it came across as me saying don’t watch any football at all.
And that isn’t what I was saying at all.
Running By Heartrate
You know I’m all in on this whole HR training thing.
I believe in the science of it, and the results I’m seeing in my own training are quite staggering.
It’s a long slow process that requires some discipline to stay within the prescribed zones, but if you do it you will see results.
You also know that I’ll preach until I’m blue in the fact that an HR strap is, unequivocally, the most reliably accurate way to measure your HR while you are training.
But that doesn’t mean that you absolutely have to use a strap in order to train by HR.
Yes, it’s the better option if accuracy matters to you. And if you’re being diligent about your HR training I believe that accuracy should matter.
But if the strap is causing you more trouble than it’s worth, get rid of it!
If you have an HR monitor on your watch, it’ll give us an idea of what your HR is.
Will it be as reliably accurate? No. But will it be close enough? Sure.
And if you don’t have a wrist-based HR monitor, you can always go back to just trying to judge your perceived effort.
Again, it won’t be as accurate and you’ll really need to focus on what you are doing and what your body is telling you in order to keep your easy runs easy.
But you can absolutely still train (and see massive improvements) by following the HR training principals whether or not you use an HR strap.
All Things Diet
I get so many questions about what to eat and when to eat before, during, and after a race.
And there are so many books and resources out there, each claiming to be the best option, that it makes it hard to know what to believe.
I get it.
I make a pretty big deal about the importance of eating quality foods and making sure you are giving your body the things it needs (vitamins and minerals) so that it can give you what you ask of it (speed, endurance, durability).
That said, there is no perfect dietary system.
Yes, I’m a fan of the High Fat/Low Carb style of eating.
It works for me, and I do honestly think that it would work for most of us.
But even then, it’s far from black and white.
And if you are healthy and feel good from eating a diet with more carbs in it, then carry on!
Our bodies are all different and are all pretty darn adaptable.
They will work better if you give them good sources of food.
What are good sources of food?
There are good sources of food that you can lean on no matter what “diet” you follow.
The best place to start for good food sources?
Keep Looking for Good Advice
As you continue to try and improve your fitness and work toward your running goals, always be on the lookout for good advice.
But never forget that good advice and bad (for you) advice are often intertwined.
That doesn’t discredit the good advice. It just means you need to be able to separate the two.
Keep the good. Discard the bad.
Do me a favor then, eh? Don’t make it harder than it needs to be.
Have You Ever Dismissed Useful Information Because There Were Some Bits that Didn’t Apply to You?
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