Hi gang! Well, in tune with a previous post , my week’s plan has fallen apart. Long story short, I’ve had to substitute the planned post with this one. Hopefully, planned service will resume next week.
YKY: You Know You
Why what works for me may not work for you
In the mid noughties, I got in trouble with debt. Not hugely, but enough to give me serious grief for several years. I decided that I would get myself financially fit – this was years before I worried about being physically fit – and started looking for guidance.
One of my brothers did something I’ll always be grateful for. He pointed me to getrichslowly.org, an excellent blog founded by JD Roth . JD’s blog had a profound influence on my life. More than I realised at the time.
The key article I read was JD’s philosophy of doing what works for you . Although he was talking about it in a financial situation, what struck a chord with me was:
‘’There are few one-size-fits-all solutions in personal finance — or anywhere else.’’
It’s a great article, well worth a read. As is the rest of the series. The key point of the article is what someone else says or does that works for them may not work for someone else. While we are more alike than different, we’re different enough that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’.
OK, what’s that got to do with running?
I only started making real progress with my running when I started training in a way sympathetic to the way my body and mind works. I know myself.
I know that I need time to work up to something new. That’s why, before I ran my first proper step, I walked every evening for a month.
That’s why I smoked my brains out in the last few weeks before giving up. To make sure I was ready.
That’s why I ignore pretty much all magazine-based training advice.
I know how I work, I now know my body and after much experimentation and pain, I know my limits and can work with them.
You know You
I’m not you and you are not me. I’m happy for you to follow what I’ve done as a sort of example. Please, feel free to try it out or ignore it completely. I’m not a general training expert – I have no qualifications or competence. I’m only an expert in me and what works for me.
You are your own expert on your body. Or, if not, you will be.
Getting to know myself
I learnt that my body is a bit like a house. It creaks and settles and whines and gurgles. It’s trying to tell me something and I can usually figure out what that is. But first, I had to learn how to listen. For example:
- I used to get a ‘hunger pang’ at 10am. Till one day – only 90 minutes after a very substantial breakfast – I actually realised it was gas. That made me realise often what I thought was hunger wasn’t
- Like a lot of sufferers, a tingle on my lips is a sign of an imminent cold sore breakout
- On a run, if I start to feel light-headed or have a headache, it means I need to top up electrolytes and dial back on my speed
- Knowing the difference between minor ‘my legs are whingeing ‘cos they gotta do some work’ pangs and ‘holy crap, I think I’ve just blown something – I better stop and check’ pains.
There’s other examples across many areas of our lives. For example, some people can NOT eat the entire packet of biscuits in their kitchen. Me, I prefer not to buy any because I know that damn packet will have a half-life of about thirty seconds…
You knowing you is one of the most powerful lessons you can learn
To a large degree, we can’t help what happens to us. We have a lot less control over our lives than many feel comfortable believing. Death, accidents, financial troubles from a dodgy economy; we can’t control these. Our only choice is in how we respond. An old boss of mine once said
‘We can’t control what happens to us, only how we respond’.
I think that’s quite profound. I’ve found it a big help. This is because it acknowledges that, while there is so much outside of our direct control, that we do have some control: control of our choices in how we respond.
What this means is that we can take in all the training plans, advice or what have you. We can try and be dogmatic about it but if it isn’t working for us, we have a choice. Either give up or try tweaking our approach.
Get to know yourself on your journey to fitness. Find out what works for you. And enjoy the discovery as you know you.