Change the Oil
Updated: Aug 5, 2022
Have I ever told you about the time I killed my car?
Turns out oil changes are actually super important. Who knew?
Well, now I do.
I learned a VERY hard lesson about basic car maintenance that day. Of course, I procrastinated forever on scheduling the appointment. I rationalized it by telling myself how busy I was (We were moving! I have two little kids!)
But to be honest, I just didn’t prioritize it. I didn’t know the magnitude of the consequences awaiting me. I knew I should get my oil changed, but I didn’t know how much it actually mattered until it was too late.
Our bodies are kind of like that.
What We Take For Granted
We know we should do basic maintenance on our bodies, but we don’t always know the magnitude of the consequences awaiting us until the dust settles and the regret sets in. Because let’s face it: hindsight is 20/20. Knowing what I know now about my car, I have become vigilant about checking my oil, making service appointments, and staying on top of maintenance, because I realized just how much I was taking for granted. But how much time, energy, money, guilt, shame, anxiety, tears, etc. could I have saved myself in the long run just by putting my excuses aside and taking initiative?
It’s easy to take our bodies for granted.
We ignore issues hoping they will go away on their own (been there!) or we assume our bodies will continue to operate exactly as we demand despite doing next to nothing to reinforce or replenish them (yep, I’ve been here too!). We procrastinate and avoid the maintenance work, especially if it ain’t broke (yet), right?
Assuming you are better at caring for your car than I was (I mean, I set the bar pretty low here, friends), what would it be like to care for your body as well as you do your vehicle? And I’m asking for myself here, too. Because our vehicles are replaceable. Our bodies are not.
Habits Compound Over Time
According to one of my favorite books, Atomic Habits by James Clear, “Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits.” I love the way an article from Outside magazine sums it up for runners:
“There is little doubt that injury-free running, over weeks and months, is rooted in daily habits of doing the “little things” each day that you train. Show me a runner who is injury free for months, and I’ll show you a runner who does these ‘little things.’ Healthy runners do general strength and mobility … The flip side is the injured runner needs to take a hard look at their training and ask, ‘what are the habits I need to instill to avoid the injury cycle I’m in?’”
Put another way, we could ask ourselves, “What are the habits I need to instill to run healthy, to run with confidence, and to actually meet my running goals and the dreams I have for myself?”
But I get it - It’s tough because there isn’t often instant gratification associated with doing the “right” thing when it comes to taking care of our bodies. It’s easier to stay on the path of least resistance, particularly if it seems like it’s working well enough … for now.
But how long will we get away with half-hearted foam rolling once every few weeks? The most worthwhile things take time, and investing in the one and only precious vehicle we’ve been gifted, our bodies, for the sake of our running and our overall health, is absolutely worthwhile.
Besides smart running with appropriate mileage progressions, pacing strategies, and built-in recovery, strength training is the number one way to build and reinforce your body against the breakdown effects of running.
You can rationalize avoiding it by telling yourself you don’t have the time, but to me it’s a tradeoff - you either spend the time strength training now or spend the time on the injured list later. Arguably it takes a LOT less time to strength train 2-3x/week, and it’s a lot less miserable than not being able to run at all.
It hurts my soul when I see runners struggling with injuries that make running painful, or even impossible for the time being, because I know first hand how much it means to them. We could all become a little more resilient, durable, anti-fragile and get faster and more energy efficient if we just spent a little time in the gym focusing on what runners need most: mobility, stability, strength, and power.
All runners should be able to run with joy and confidence in their bodies and their ability to achieve their most audacious goals instead of running in fear of pain, discomfort, or fragility. I want to help runners get and stay strong so that they can keep running for life instead wondering what if?
Because I believe so strongly in the value of getting strong, we are offering Run Empowered Strength Team members a special rate for 1:1 in-person training - Just $50 per 1-hour individualized training session in the clinic, which can be used for everything from:
Assessing running mechanics
Reviewing lifting technique
Going through a programmed workout with a coach guide you for even greater accountability and confidence
Developing a personalized set of corrective exercises to ward off injury
All of which will improve durability, resilience and efficiency when running.
You have access to this deal just for signing up for the running-specific strength programming and being a part of the team.
Take initiative. Take care of your body. Become the runner you envision. If you’ve been avoiding strength training and aren’t getting the performance results you’re after or are noticing signs of breakdown, maybe it’s time to change the oil - do something differently do get different results.
We're here to help!
If you're interested in comprehensive strength training for runners that eliminates the programming guesswork and will help you run faster, run farther and finish stronger, check out Run Empowered! Get access to a plan and a coach to help you crush your goals!