Saturday, October 9, 2010

(Don't) Be Like Mike

"If you believe that if you tie a clove of garlic around your neck that it will help you, then it will help you" - One of my Grandma's "grandmaisms"

Throughout the many years that I have been training runners to do marathons, I have been always asked, "What kind of shoes do you wear?", "What do you eat before running?", "What kind of vitamins do you take?", "What's your favorite shape pasta?". And that's just the tip of the inquisitive iceberg. We all believe that if we just do what successful folks do, then we will be successful (not that I was all that successful). Doesn't matter if it's athletics, business, or watching Emeril do the cooking (I think it actually helps my cooking if I yell "BAM"). Do it somebody else's way and Whammo, we can do it too! BE LIKE MIKE! If Mike ties that clove of garlic around his neck, then I'll do it and I can slam dunk too! If my running partner runs 90 miles a week, and recently ran a 2:58 marathon, then if I double my mileage up from 45 miles/week, I'm bound to improve my 4:40 marathon time! My Grandmother also used to say about that clove of garlic that if you wear it around your neck, you wouldn't get a cold - it's true, but I think it's because nobody will get close to you!

I have always tried (though also not always successfully) to keep things as simple as possible when coaching runners. After all, what is there to running...right foot, left foot, and repeat a few thousand times, and there you are a few miles down the road. There are many more ways to mess somebody up then there are to help them. God taught you how to run when you were just a wee one, so don't let a coach drill into you that you have to change too much. I think the main purpose of a coach is to keep you from doing the wrong things that will send you down the road to ruin and hope that you figure out what most of the right things are. But, I think a lot of the problem happens when you hang around with some runners who have been out there doing their thing for a long time and, wanting to do "their thing" too. You follow their program, eat like them, wear their shoes, and feel like this has got to be the right answer to get the results you want in the fastest time possible.

"What's the best shoes?" is the question I'm asked the most. I don't have any idea what the best brand is. I do think that if you stay with a known brand name, you'll pretty much do ok. In my three decades of running, I've probably worn every brand shoe, and honestly, I couldn't tell you much difference. Now, I'm in Nike Air Pegusus's (Pegusi?). But, through the years, I've sworn by (and at) Saucony and New Balance mostly. At their specific time, they were THE answer. Now, I know, the brand is not as important as what YOU require for your specific needs. Don't worry about what I wear, or what your coach wears, or the latest fastest Kenyan wears. Don't go barefoot because it's the latest nut-case craze fueled by a book about some peyote stoned Indian wanna-be. Find what works for you. George Sheehan, the late, great philosopher of running said we are all an "experiment of one".

As I said in a previous blog, learn the basics...I mean really learn them for yourself. When I was in Therapy School, I used to try to come up with some nifty rhyme, or acronym, or something to help me remember all those strange nerves and muscles. One day, one of my Professors, who was also a friend, asked me "Why don't you just learn it?". Hmmm, novel idea and good advice. So, why don't you just learn what's good for you? Don't mirror somebody else. Don't go against things that are right for you. Learn how to be a good runner from those that made mistakes before you, but gain experience by learning about what works for you. A successful athlete, salesperson, carpenter, whatever, learned how to do their thing by finding what worked best for them. Sure, ask for advice, learn by observation, read some books and magazines, but don't do things blindly like Mike just because you want to "Be like Mike". Learn to be you and you might just wind up being better than Mike!

By the way, my favorite shape pasta is Orzo, but it's followed closely by Rigatoni.

That's about it for this week from the Batcave. Hope to see a bunch of you Birmingham folks out there tomorrow with our Mercedes training group. I understand there was a pretty big crowd out there last week while I was in Boston. Nine miles for the full and 6 miles for the half. I'll see you all down the road - AL

For those of you that may have a tiny bit of interest, and as a follow up to last week's blog, the day after we left Boston, ADAM TOOK THE FIRST INDEPENDENT STEPS OF HIS LIFE!! As Confucius said "Every journey begins with a single step". See you down the road Adam - Grandpa

"One child lost is too child saved can change the world"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Each body is one unique body" Try as many shoes as you can to see the ones best suit you!!No shoes, is the same as shoes at the beginning of your running get used to, if you increase miles it's the same experience, etc... so...whatever you decide the best way to make your running experience is shoe or shoeless, you will always feel after a run great/bad/sore/happy/frustrated/name it. Just go out and RUN, slow, no matter how much or how long...just RUN and listen to your body!!