On the surface, running seems pretty simple, right?
One foot in front of the other, repeat until you finish.
Yet as many of us know, the deeper we get into the sport the more complex it can become.
Fly Solo or Recruit a Team?
Running is primarily a solo sport, right?
That said, there’s definitely a big social component to our sport as well.
Both in training and on race day, many of us get a boost from being around our fellow runners and/or running with our friends/training partners.
But unlike “proper” team sports, we can’t lean on others to carry us through rough patches mid-run.
That said, while running isn’t a team sport it doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity for having a team in place to support your running.
Do you need to have a team to support you? Is it a requirement?
But can having a the right team around you help you stay on track and make progress toward your goals?
Yeah, I think it can.
Building the Right Team
So what does the right team look like for you?
Honestly, it depends.
You can have as many people, or as few, on your team as you desire/can afford.
The key, as always, is finding the right people in the right places to support you and your needs.
Who are, potentially, some of the people you might want to consider?
A coach’s role on your team is to take care of the details with regards to your training and helping you build your fitness up strategically over time.
Scheduling workouts. Planning race day strategy. Protecting an athlete from her or himself.
These are all part of what a good coach does for the athletes they coach.
But perhaps the biggest thing that a good coach/athlete relationship does is take the guesswork out of things.
Instead of being unsure whether to do X or Y in training, a coach says do X. Period.
And for some runners that is huge.
That said, can you coach yourself?
There are no shortage of books and articles and information out there that can help you put a good training plan together.
If you want to do all of that for yourself? Go for it.
If you don’t? Then adding a coach to your team might make sense.
Strength training is important for runners.
And a good personal trainer can help you design a strength training program that is tailored to your needs and progresses appropriately over time.
What are your deficiencies? Those get addressed.
Where are you strong? Let’s make sure you don’t regress in those areas.
Also, let’s not discount the value of additional accountability that a personal trainer can provide.
For those of us that are less than enthused about doing regular strength training, hiring a personal trainer to “force” you to do it can be worth every penny.
But can you do strength training without having a personal trainer on your team?
The role of a physical therapist is to put you back together if (when?) you break yourself.
According to the statistics, there’s a pretty good chance that all of us will suffer some manner of running injury at some point in our careers.
A good physical therapist can help you put the pieces back together, and, hopefully, come back stronger and more resilient than you were before the injury.
Can you put yourself back together on your own?
In some instances, maybe. In most instances, doubtful.
Having a trusted physical therapist available when needed is, in my view, worth every penny.
Chiropractors are another option when it comes to possibly needing some “putting back together” due to the wear and tear of running.
There is some overlap between PTs and chiropractors, but there are definitely some differences between the two as well.
Chiropractors tend to specialize in addressing/correcting structural issues in our bodies.
Typically this means we are talking about spinal column issues, but not always.
DIY chiropractic care is definitely frowned upon in most instances, but depending on what your situation is you may find inversion to be beneficial.
Though you probably want to consult with someone, maybe your chiropractor, before you start hanging upside down for a few minutes every morning.
Massage therapy is a great catalyst for increasing blood flow to your muscle tissues.
So if you’re dealing with general aches and pains or minor injuries, booking in with a good massage therapist can help loosen you up and/or speed up your recovery.
A good massage may not be the most comfortable experience, but the ends will hopefully justify the means.
As you’re probably aware, there are plenty of self-massage tools available for you to torture yourself with.
Foam roller. Stick. Lacrosse ball. Theragun.
Each of the DIY devices have areas that they can be pretty effective with, but they also have their shortcomings.
Fueling, not just of your runs but for daily living, is pretty important.
And at times, it can be overwhelming trying to keep up with all the latest and greatest when it comes to what is best when it comes to fueling yourself before/during/after a run.
A dietician can help you out on this front.
Of course, you’re also welcome to read books and blogs and listen to podcasts on the subject and do a bit of trial and error when it comes to figuring out the right mix of macros for you.
Which is pretty much what I’ve done, if I’m being honest.
Things to Consider When Building Your Team
When it comes to building your support team, it’s important to make sure you get the right pieces in whichever roles you’re looking to fill.
In most cases, you will have multiple options to choose from when it comes to each of the roles you’re filling.
As such, if you aren’t clicking with any one member of your team I’d encourage you to find a replacement.
Areas where friction can build up:
I’m sure there are others, but the point I’m trying to make is that not all coaches/experts are right for you.
But if you build a team of individuals that you jive with/feel comfortable with, it can definitely help you as you continue to chase down your running goals and set new ones!
Who are the People that Make Up Your Team?
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