Yes, you read that correctly. You, reading this now, are an athlete. An athlete is defined as a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina. So by definition, you are an athlete. That also means that you should start acting like one as well.
What Does This Mean?
You have finally recognized your status as an athlete, but what does that mean? It means that you are dedicated to your sport and furthering your education on the topic. You are seeking to improve yourself in some way as well as to keep up a status that you have achieved. Even if it is your first day of running, you have achieved the status of runner and must work to maintain and improve that.
So How Does One Act Like an Athlete?
One of my qualms about runners is that they do not treat themselves like athletes and often neglect logic when it comes to the sport. For example, someone who is into lifting weights knows and realizes that you cannot lift the same way, every day, and expect results. However, runners practice a form of this by running the same pace, on the same route, in the same way, every day. They also neglect things like trigger point therapy, functional footwear, rest days, and recovery. They don’t see the whole picture and assume that running is not like other sports. Running is seen as an anomaly with its own set of rules that defy all logic. It is almost comical to watch.
5 Tips to Act Like an Athlete
1. Be a Student of the Sport
Work to learn as much as you can about your sport and what can make you better. The technology and information changes daily. Stay on top of it and find out what works best for you. Also develop your ability to separate what is marketing and what is true science when it comes to products.
2. Look at the Body Holistically
Running injuries typically aren’t a result of what ends up hurting. Often, the injury is the pain that is felt because of an inefficiency or weakness up or down the kinematic chain. Also take into account your nutrition, sleep, and other external factors that will affect your running.
3. Allow the Body to Recover
Give yourself the gold standard in recovery. Massage! Unfortunately most of us can’t afford a personal masseuse, but you can do self massage via Trigger Point Therapy. There is nothing better to keep you loose, limber, and ready to go for that next workout. Also make sure you have rest days worked into your training plan, your body needs these to build muscle.
4. Maximize the Body’s Abilities
The body is complex and every part of the body plays a role in your running. Work to maximize these abilities such as range of motion, strength, length, energy delivery systems, and more. All of them combine to make for a better running experience. Athletes in other sports do a variety of drills to maximize their potential. You should do the same.
5. Start With a Strong Base
We all know that your first training run should not be a 22 miler. You need to build a strong base and build up to higher mileage and stresses. Similar to weightlifting, you have to start small, to get big.
You may not have always seen yourself as an athlete, but start today. Start with the simple tasks of eating right, listening to your body, and massage before and after runs. You’ll be amazed at the quality of your workouts when you treat yourself like an athlete. I know some of these tips may not seem like rocket science, but it’s amazing how many runners don’t follow simple logic like these tips.
Always in Stride,