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The One Thing About Running Injuries
Do you know what the secret of life is?
This. [He holds up one finger.]
One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean sh*t.
That’s great, but what’s the “one thing”?
That’s what you’ve got to figure out.
And so begins ‘The One Thing’ (Wikipedia | Amazon), the New York Times bestseller that argues the case for achieving more through less. But how can this approach lead to dramatic improvements in your running?
A running phenomenon
In the early 1980s, there was something of a running phenomenon. An athlete who for three years running came home as winner of the New York Marathon.
For a while, he was not only ranked number 1 marathon runner in the world, but was also highly rated at much shorter distances. The number 1 runner in the world at 10,000m. The number 1 American runner at 5000m.
That man was Alberto Salazar.
The golden period didn’t last. Beset by injuries and illness, Salazar experienced an abrupt competitive decline.
But his success then returned in another form. Thirty years on from his running heyday, Alberto Salazar was busy learning the lessons from his experience. And by passing those lessons on, he was taking the performance of a small number of elite athletes to an entirely new level.
One Thing about running
Across the world, millions of readers were struck by the simple, yet effective, approach for success set out in the New York Times bestseller.
In the book, the authors set this question:
What is the one thing I can do this week such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?
When it comes to running, there are lots of different areas that you could focus on as you try to improve and become less prone to injury. But what if you decided to focus on just one aspect of running – the one aspect that will yield you the biggest return for your time and effort.
In the case of coach Alberto Salazar, he found that there were a whole host of areas where he could make a difference to his athletes. Athletes like Mo Farah and Galen Ruup, who subsequently came home with gold and silver respectively in the 10,000m at the London 2012 Olympics.
But if you had to push him, really push him, on the One Thing that really made a difference? Well, it turned out that the answer was rather simple.
In the coach’s own words:
You show me someone with bad form, and I’ll show you someone who’s going to have a lot of injuries and a short career…
When you realise that, then the path to injury-free running becomes a whole lot clearer. That path is the subject of my next post in this series.