Recently I made a funny little hashtag on Twitter – #WWMD – in reference to one of my running besties, Michelle. Michelle is a amazing person who has put me up not once, but twice on my running trips to Toronto. She also happens to be a kick ass runner who most recently set a national age group track record for the 5000m indoors.

Several of us joked about making “What Would Michelle Do” a thing because Michelle often offers advice to many runners on dealing with training – getting faster, getting stronger and especially recovering from injuries. She has many years of high level competition as an athlete and also coaches many athletes herself. However, as someone who still competes at a high level, Michelle is also under the watchful eye of a coach herself and is constantly looking for new ideas.

Thinking about the #WWMD tag got me thinking about what a difference having a person or persons to guide you through the ups and downs of training can mean for you. Most runners get to a point where they start getting injures not because of what they don’t know but because of ignoring what they DO know.

Obviously, asking more experienced runners and coaches makes sense. What also makes sense is that for whatever reason many of us are wired to listen to someone else moreso than we listen to ourselves – especially when it comes to disapproval. I can criticize myself all day long – and believe me, I’m my own harshest critic – but the idea of disappointing someone else affects me more. The more I respect that person, the more likely I am to at least try what they suggest.

Learning from the wisdom of others is one of the best ways to improve your running. It can help you avoid certain issues, heal from other issues more quickly and benefit from their experience. While there are a lot of people whose wisdom I appreciate and listen to – Michelle is definitely one of the more significant and influential runners (and people) in my life.

Whether it’s to offer you advice, celebrate your successes with you or to give you the kick in the ass that you need to stay focused and motivated sometimes you just need to ask yourself your own version of #WWMD.

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