Obstacles to honesty

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.


Last week, I posted about the importance of being honest with yourself. The runner I mentioned at the end of that post emailed me a few thoughts on that post. I think they were very good points and I’d like to address them here.

[S]ome runners won’t want to admit to the start of an injury if they think their coach will severely curtail their workout.

Absolutely true. The thing I’d like to stress here is that reducing training load at the onset of an injury is necessary. You can take a relatively small hit now or a much bigger hit later. It’s true that your coach will likely curtail your training load some if you tell your coach about an early stage injury. However, your workload is going to be curtailed much more if you don’t deal with the injury in its early stages and let it become worse.

I suppose if you throw in DM or MRTT, seeing social media posts where your peers are killing their workouts doesn’t help that sinking feeling that you are FALLING BEHIND. Sad truth is that many folks don’t post that they are having nagging aches/pains!

For those who don’t know, DM is a cross between Facebook and a training log. MRTT is a running club with a heavy online component.

As with anywhere that you can share part of the picture without sharing all of it, some people choose to do just that. In some cases, they share the good without sharing the bad, likely in an effort to appear more impressive. I’m sure we all know stories of people who have shared very impressive workouts and looked like they had great training going on, only to end up out of the blue laid up for weeks, if not months, due to some injury. Injuries generally don’t come out of the blue. These people are usually withholding something along the way.

As for that feeling of falling behind, it’s a real thing and I don’t want to discount it. However, again, I’d stress looking at the big picture. Do you want to lose a little ground now or risk losing a lot of ground later? What you lose if you catch a problem in its early stages, before it becomes a full blown injury, will be minimal. What you lose if you wait for it to develop into a full blown injury could be catastrophic. I’d rather take one or two minimal hits than even risk a season ending injury.

That trust and honesty between coach and runner is so important.

While I say something along this line frequently, I couldn’t say it better. If you have a coach, it’s important to not just be honest with yourself but also to be honest with your coach.

In the end, I absolutely get not wanting to share all of those details. And, if you don’t want to publicly on a social website or in a social group, that’s your prerogative. However, you need to be honest with not just yourself but all decision makers in your life. If you are the sole decision maker, it’s critical that you be honest with yourself about how you feel and honestly assess what that means. If you have a coach, it’s just as critical that you are honest and forthcoming with your coach about how you feel. Don’t withhold problems and be honest when your coach asks follow-up questions.

If your coach is worth anything, your coach cares deeply about helping you do the best you can. Your coach wants you to succeed as much as you do. Help your coach help you by being an open book.

If you don’t have a coach, it’s more challenging because you have to not only be honest with yourself but you have to honestly assess what your body’s feedback means. That can be very difficult but it must be done. If it isn’t, you could lose your whole racing season because you decided to run through something when it could have been resolved with a few days off or a skipped workout or long run.

Photo credit: nprpdx, on Flickr

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