I am an advocate for having educated runners. Runners should know why they do workouts. Coaches should be able to tell their runners why a certain workout is being done. It shouldn’t be a case of do it because I say so or because I had a coach 30 years ago who did it.
In that vein I like that my runners read books, articles, blogs and listen to practitioners of various sorts (yoga instructors, physical therapists, etc.). But herein lies a problem also. Conflicting advice and information can decay a training program. It can undermine a process of development… and maybe even get you injured.
I want runners to educate themselves and learn about their own bodies. I do not want them following every new fad or article they read. Runners should remain true to their training program. I have one runner currently injured because he read that he should do some kind of a stretch. He’s been out a couple weeks now due to this advice. Had he read that and then sought other opinions (hopefully mine since I’m the coach) he would have found out that stretching is more often a cause to injuries than a prevention. (Sorry if you love to stretch but that is what the data and research show right now. Of course dynamic stretching once muscles are fully warmed up – after workouts – can be OK for some runners.) In another case I had a runner who didn’t believe the mileage was sufficient on her schedule because she read more miles were better; so she snuck in some “secret” workouts and miles. (I only learned this later.) She ended up injured.
But these are just a couple examples of “knowing and doing” something can hurt you as a runner.
The other aspect to learning is the exact opposite. So many runners read books about “getting faster on less” or “doing more with less” or “going harder while going easy” or “the injured runners guide to being uninjured” or “the mental game of being a mental runner.” They learn some facts, opinions, ideas, approaches and solutions to improve their running. Good stuff. The educated runner lives. Not so fast. the real problem is that knowing isn’t doing. If we read and know but do not act, then we are no better off with our running.
So, as the coach: runners, keep on reading and learning. And then, ask to see how what you learned fits or does not fit your training program and goals. Find out if it’s a good thing to just know or something that will also be good to do.
By the way I’m guilty of this sometimes too. I’ve read a lot of stuff. Someday, I’ll actually start my runners-weight training program. I need it. I know all the drills and exercises. For some reason, merely visualizing these exercises and seeing myself sweating up a storm doing them hasn’t had quite the desired effects. Yup, knowing isn’t doing. But, before I start, I’ll make sure it fits my training program by checking with my coach.