Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Holistic Runner

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.--Aristotle

We can all go to "the google" right now and look up important things for a runner. Whatever link you click on, whether it leads you to Runners World or Competitor or some other publication, it will give you a list of items that you feel can be attacked one at a time. Here's the catch. You may or may not be right about that.

Every serious runner must be an all encompassing, holistic runner. What does that even mean, right? Let's take a look at the human body. There's the nervous system, skeletal system, muscular system, cardiovascular system, etc. Any one of the aforementioned systems are useless alone without the other systems. You can't just take out the skeletal system and expect to function or even be alive. The complete human being has infinitely more value than a heart or a brain. In some wonky, roundabout way, the same holistic approach applies to the runner... sort of.

Okay so here's a quick list based on what I think is important to the serious runner. Nutrition, Gait, Gear, Core, Flexibility, Hydration, etc. This is not an exhaustive list of what is needed but I am relatively certain that few will disagree with the importance of these items. Now I'm going to operate in a vacuum. Let's pretend that a runner has a great diet. Qualifier alert. Runners, in my opinion, eat to fuel and recover. If said runner eats what the body requires to perform and recover at a high level but that same runner doesn't stretch properly or at all then this person will not be at his/her optimal performance level.

The serious runner is best served when they can get all of these "systems" working well. Of course, elite runners will likely have the best most efficient, effective mix but if we remain balanced in our approach then success is more likely than if we are really good at one thing and horrible at another. You can be that dude with all of the state of the art gear but if you don't follow a program then you may just be the prettiest runner at the start.

Runners, serious runners can't really afford to just do things half way. It is more of a lifestyle than a hobby. In order to become a serious runner one must maintain a holistic approach to their running life, focus on organic gains because real progress will not happen day to day but year to year and use pragmatic methods in order to find out what really works.

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