No More Just Run Please
By Will Lind
Image © / Dollar Photo Club
Can we please stop telling people to just run? It’s terrible advice. It might work for a few but it misleads the majority. I see sometimes thousands of movements a day in a coached environment created by up to around a hundred different bodies. Most of these bodies shouldn’t just be doing anything. Arguably not even sitting, standing or walking. Not without some work.
I was a just runner myself. I just decided one day to stop cycling and become a runner and away I went. Minimalist and all, I was very quickly devouring in excess of 140km per week. I was also in my early twenties, coming off an immense strength and aerobic base from years of cycling and prone to ignore and forget the chain of injuries I cataloged.
Back then, I was all for the just. However, experience is a great teacher, and now I know just simplifies what should be simple, but isn’t.
Running should be fairly intuitive and natural. I completely embrace that vision. Maybe for life long runners it is. Although, simple observation at any local running park or event reveals a lot of lifelong runners holding plenty of issues creating high potential for injury if they so much as twitch out of their normal patterns.
And then when it comes to late starters, I tend to hear adult beginners describe running in as many colorful terms as possible as the complete opposite to feeling natural and intuitive.
Just run makes the basics inaccessible and it’s basics we need to (re)visit in order to (re)build. In fact, most of the time we don’t talk about basics, we talk about fundamentals. These are almost universally applicable. We’ve all got them.
When someone says, ‘just run’, I actually think for the most part what they mean is get out there and have a go. Stop procrastinating. Stop looking for shortcuts. Stop finding excuses. I completely agree. What are you waiting for? What just run sounds like though is, ‘running is free, easy and you should just be competent’. This isn’t the case.
If you’ve just run your way to competency, I applaud you. I did too. But if you’re telling people to just run to be helpful, chances are there’s enough people not just running very well at all who could use some help. For some, it’s a few tweaks, a lot of practice and it all comes together. For others, it’s a lot of tweaks and a lot of hard work.
If you’re intention is to encourage and support people, be wary of the damage a flippant flick out the door could cause. We don’t all need intensive one-on-one training with a biomechanist, but all runners in all running, as in all movements, should look to mindfulness, education and practice to improve and maintain a functional, safe and satisfying running game.