Thursday, 12 June 2014

Doing the stuff you dont want to do

I never realised just how much peoples ego came into training, and how much it affects what they do and what they do not do.

As a demonstration of this, imagine a person, a runner, with somewhat dodgy knees, and has done for a good few years. He has been to see a number of physiotherapists in the past, all of whom have given him exercises to do which concentrated on corrective muscle training.


All of these exercises are difficult, they do not come easily to him, and he feels weak doing them.

Because they are difficult, he decides not to do them, but rather, decides to randomly cherry pick an exercise "plan" that means getting to 100 reps (sits ups, pressups, whatever) instead. All very laudable, but they are movements that he enjoys, finds easy, and, above all, it is something that he can boast about to his friends that he has done, but does it make him better at running? Not really.

Wait a sec.
This guy wants to get better at running.
He has been shown, several times, what it is that can make him better at running.
He then chooses to go and do a completely unrelated exercise so that he can boast about it to his friends.

What the hell?

Is his ego so fragile that a few weeks of working on an obvious weakness, a few weeks of hard graft of very specific and precise movements which will stand him in good stead for what he claims to be his sport, is too much for him?

It would appear so.
This person came to see me. I suggested some things for him to do in order to strengthen his legs and help with his running. I impressed upon him that what he was doing at the moment might feel good, and might be good for short term bragging rights, but all in all, it isn't going to help his running one little bit.

If something is hard, it is hard for a reason. Generally its because you suck at it. Good, mindful practice is the way to get better, to learn the movement pattern that you will need. The re-inforcement for good technique isn't an instantaneous feedback mechanism - and so isn't satisfying for the ego. The result is over the long term, the better quality running, the knees not hurting.

Until the "now, now, now" ego driven psyche of the "must have immediately" personalities recognise that hard work on things that are difficult are the way to really improve. Counting half reps and skimming the surface of what they really want to do is simply a way to continue living half life, blighted by injury and, ultimately disappointment in their inability to plumb the depths to which others are able to reach within their sport.

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