“Take the words success and failure out of your vocabulary. Replace them with honesty and effort. These words, success and failure, share a common denominator. Both are temporary.” – unknown

So, over the course of the last couple of weeks, I’ve had a chance to spend some training time with some local runners – doing some group workouts, visiting at a couple of the local shoe stores, etc. Thinking back on it all – it once again occurred to me that it is just CRAZY how so MANY ATHLETES routinely work on things they don’t absolutely need, while almost simultaneously ignoring the things that are most important for their success.

Want an example? Here’s two:

  • An injured runner who is SO mobile, she could literally move her legs or joints into nearly any position with zero stress or effort, spending time stretching!
  • How about a male triathlete in his 40s who is nursing some slight “strains” in his calves, who is so inflexible and immobile, he appears a little bit like Herman Munster (stiff, awkward, gangly) when he moves, spending time on strength!!

Do you see the insanity with this kind of thinking? It is so simple although – I get it – not always easy. We all like doing things we’re good at, even if it doesn’t help us long term. If more people would simply commit to working on those things they DON’T do as well – they’d find their progress skyrocketing.

This used to drive my partner, Dr. Kurt Strecker, nuts too! Now anyone who knows Kurt, knows he is crazy about 80’s pop music. It’s too funny listening to him recite lyrics and sing away with songs from that era. But hey, no one is perfect, right? 🙂

One day, some months ago, we were chatting in the lab while some music was playing in the background. It was the English punk rock band, the Clash, singing the only #1 single they ever had (I think), “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” Have you heard it? It’s one of those melodies that is easy to get stuck in your head and hard to get out! Haha. (You could check it out HERE on Youtube if you’re interested. 🙂

Why did I bring up Doc’s penchant for 80’s punk rock today?? The reason is simple, and the melody of this song sort of helps us define it:

The question YOU need to be asking yourself is, should YOU “sta” or should you “mo”?

In other words, at this important juncture in your training, what is YOUR primary need as an athlete? Do you need more STAbility or do you need more MObility? Get it?? 🙂

Now listen, to overstate the obvious, I’m going to reiterate that I’m asking about YOU. No one else. We’re an experiment of one.

Where are YOU right now with “sta” and “mo”? The answer to that question will TELL YOU WHERE YOUR TRAINING FOCUS should be.

Not exactly sure how to find out?

Let me ask you a simple question: Do you enjoy yoga class – do you LOVE to go and cherish every moment in the room? OR, do you tend to abhor yoga? Is it misery to be in the room, being led through those poses? That will give you a clue.

Then there’s this, (especially if you don’t like yoga or consider yourself “tight”): I recorded a video a while back on a simple movement you can use as a test to see where you stand with “sta” and “mo.” To watch, CLICK HERE. Is this one EASY for you, or is it more challenging?

 

Before I sign off, there are TWO things I want to share:

1. We become “tighter” as we age: As you can probably guess, as we age, we are more inclined to lose our ability to MOVE freely. Flexibility and mobility are the things we most associate with youthfulness, and it’s the thing we most often are chasing as the miles and years add up.

2. We need a balance of mobility and stability to be successful: Because you are an #enlightenedathlete who tends to read my articles (smarter than most if I may say so myself!), you already know that our body needs BOTH stability and mobility to function well, be resilient, and ultimately for us to go faster.

For example, very often our brain will create some tightness in a particular region because there is a lack of stability some place close by. (Think of how STIFF your head and neck might become in a whiplash type of accident. In a situation like this, our brain’s primary purpose is to keep us from doing even more damage, so it locks that neck and head down. A similar situation, although less traumatic, can occur in any other part of your body for various reasons).

The message is simple and important:

Don’t ignore one (sta or mo) completely, in favor of the other. This is a classic mistake that many make which ultimately leads to imbalances which hurt us. (Think of the body builder who never stretches, or the person who goes to yoga 6 or more times per week exclusively. Both are at very high risk for injury due to this imbalance). Yes, you will have one or the other that is your priority, but you shouldn’t ignore one completely in lieu of the other.