Before we get started, I understand that this post is filled with privilege. Not everyone has the ability to invest in themselves, let alone hire someone to help them do it. I understand that the fact that I can do this makes me incredibly fortunate. But since we all know that we can feel more than one thing at time, it’s okay to be privileged and struggle. I’m with you. Help should be more accessible. Not by those who can give it doing so for free, but by funding and programs that make it accessible to everyone while the providers can also get paid. That’s a different rant, though. Maybe a blog post for another day! Okay so, we’re good? Good.
I like to say that my pandemic, or more specifically my shut down, happened about a month before everyone else’s. I’ve always liked being first!
I suffered a stress fracture in my left leg in mid-ish February. Ever have one of those? They’re not fun. We don’t talk about them as if they are what they are, a broken bone, and we really should. Long story short, I couldn’t walk or do anything because everything requires walking and that equaled pain. This is a problem anywhere, but it’s an especially large hurdle in NYC. And so, I got a little dress rehearsal in spending a lot of time in my apartment binge watching TV.
My last visit to my doctor was luckily scheduled right before it wasn’t an option to meet in person. I was told I would be cleared to run in a couple of weeks, but I should “take it slow”. Cool, I thought. I was already planning to. 15-20 miles a week instead of my usual 30? No problem.
“Start slow, maybe 20 minutes or so at a time, but at a run/walk. No more than twice a week at the beginning and go up from there”
Oh. That’s different. LOL. Clearly I didn’t know what I was doing.
I had already been considering working with a running coach as I had felt, for a variety of reasons, that my training had been stagnant and I wanted a change. My plan was to wait until races were actually a thing, but that advice from my doc was a pretty big wake up call. I made the switch.
It’s one of the best things, if not THE best thing, I’ve done for myself this year.
Yes, I was able to build back to running in a responsible, not harmful way. That’s ultimately what I wanted from coaching, at least at first. The actual benefit, however, was so much more.
If you know me, you know that I tend to lose my “off switch”. It was a running (ha. ha. YES OF COURSE THAT WAS AN INTENDED PUN) joke that I have no chill. I don’t know how to slow down and I’m not exactly a patient person. I always knew that wasn’t great in every situation, especially running, and yet I’ll be real. I didn’t actually apply it to myself. “Go slow to speed up”, “Run your easy days easy”, “Don’t prove your fitness on training runs”. True! Just not for me. I know. I’m the worst.
Not only that, I fought my coach.
Not literally. I love her and I’m not violent. I didn’t even SAY my objections, but I had to force my mantra to become “YOU DO NOT KNOW MORE THAN MARY“. It was hard. My inner monologue always consisted of some version of “but you COULD do more…” even though I knew doing more wasn’t working for me. Being a person is hard, guys.
That’s been my self talk forever, except now I have someone who reins me in.
She tells me what I already know, but need to hear from another voice. I get positive reinforcement when I listen to the angel (rather than the devil) side of me that tells me it’s okay to slow down because it’s 85 degrees and I hate the heat. I’m saved from myself because there would inevitably be days where I pushed too hard, despite what I know, because that’s just me.
That’s why you need to hire help.
What are you struggling with? Trying to achieve? What really matters to you? Get someone to help you. Someone trained, motivating, and is also invested in your success.
Shameless plug: this is why we’re always telling you that therapy isn’t just for when you’re in a crisis. It’s amazing to have a sounding board that just keeps you on the right track. Think of bumpers on a bowling alley. They’re the only way I can bowl! I’ve bowled a 12 before. Seriously. I have no hand eye coordination. But those bumpers save me. They’re there to bump my ball back into place when it’s going off track. Having bumpers might be cheating in bowling, but it definitely isn’t in life.
Running is one of the important parts of my life, but I’m not an expert in it. Doing something for a while doesn’t mean you have that kind of knowledge. But I want to be the best runner I can, so why WOULDN’T I seek the assistance of someone who knows more about doing that than I do? It seems like such common sense, and yet, I resisted it for so long.
I’m sure I’m not alone.
If you’re nodding along with me, consider this the permission you don’t actually need to let someone else (with more experience and training and education!) in to help. It’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or incapable (talking to myself here, too). It means that you care and that you want the best out of yourself.
Let’s start owning that trait proudly – wanting the best out of ourselves enough to ask for help. We CAN do it all on our own, but that doesn’t mean we should.
Rachel is a licensed therapist and co-founder of Viva Wellness. She gets most of her inspiration for the blog while on the run, and if you ever need to find her, she’s probably in Central Park. If she’s not running, you’ll find her planning the next time she’s going to eat, exploring all things wellness in NYC, or raising her stress level by watching her sports teams.