In education when a child is not quite ready for a task we offer them a scaffold. If a math problem is too complex for them we break it into smaller, more manageable parts. In reading, we offer them books at their independent reading level, rather than expecting them all to read the same book. Yet, when it comes to exercise tasks we tend to reject all scaffolds offered. We look at these scaffolds as a sign of weakness rather than what they truly are, a way to lift us up and enable us to finish the task.
On today’s run, I started to think about this connection and realized I’m just as guilty as anyone of rejecting scaffolds. I like to say I’m stubborn, determined or a true warrior. Somehow lately I’m realizing that I’m foolish and letting my ego guide me rather than my common sense.
Scaffolds for runners are meant to help, not hinder, their development. If the body is not quite ready to do what you are asking of it, you could end up getting injured. Trust me, this I know first hand! Building and developing the right muscles for the activity you want to perform is not an option. You must spend the time and do the work to have proper functionality. If something along your muscular chain is weak, something else will become overloaded and injury could follow. My coach has finally got that point seared in my stubborn, I mean foolish, brain. I have now added some scaffolding to my training to ensure that I make it not only to the starting line, but also to the finish.
Since my Achilles has been giving me trouble, I’ve added the scaffold of running intervals on my runs. This scaffold builds breaks for this muscle into each run. Without them the repetitive motion over three hours could really put a strain on my Achilles. It’s also been allowing me to work more on my form, hopefully developing the right muscle groups. Another scaffold I’m embracing is slowing my pace on long runs. Long runs are meant to develop endurance, not pace, so I’ve given myself permission to turn off the app that tells me my pace as I’m running. My friend who has run 7 marathons shared with me that you can never run too slow on a long run. He said during his training for his first marathon he ran himself into the ground. During that race he barely finished with anything left in his tank. Sounds like I need to slow it down on those long runs immediately.
Finally, today I gave myself the accommodation of flexibility. I’m a very schedule driven runner. I like to run super early to avoid car traffic and heat. If I don’t go by 6:00 AM, I start stressing and thinking about running another day. I never sleep in on weekends either. Today, after two exhausting days at work, I woke at 3:00 AM ready to get moving. I came down, had a bowl of oatmeal and cup of coffee. I then walked right back up and got back in my bed. I turned on the hurricane reports and before I knew it I decided to go back to sleep thinking I’d run tomorrow instead. I woke again at 8:00, got up and did my pre-run activation routine. Then I went out and did my scheduled long run. Honestly, it felt good to not rush out to run. Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to change the plan, but not permission to skip it.
Scaffolds do not mean you’re any less or a runner than another. They mean you are focused on completing your task. Thanks coach Jessica for readjusting my perspective.
How are your workouts going? Are you forcing yourself through them, or loving them? If, like me you are running in pain, consider calling Jessica for a consultation. She can truly help get you back on the road again. Her site is https://www.runpainfreenow.com and her Twitter handle is #runpainfree . Tell her Laura recommended you and get your consultation booked. Let me know how it goes. It could be life changing.