For an athlete seeking advice, there’s no shortage out there. It can come live from coaches, trainers, researchers, and other athletes. It can also be found when searching online, where the amount of information available is quite staggering.
For instance, a Google search on plantar fasciitis yields nearly 2 million results.
I’m not immune to fielding questions from other runners when I get to meet them at races. Sometimes their questions are about diet and nutrition, training and cross-training, or about what gear to wear. While I’m always happy to help where I can, I’m quick to preface my answers by letting the advice-seeker know that what works best for me may not work best for him or her.
In essence, we’re all an experiment of one. Each person is unique and different, and there are few rules that are universal when it comes to health and fitness.
Just because I don’t stretch doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. I only sleep four or five hours a night, but guys I train with sleep eight or nine hours when they can (10 is even better). I always encourage people to try new things and experiment to find what works best for them. It’s almost like living by the mantra 'assume nothing, question everything'.
However, I can just see the naysayers shaking their heads, saying some things are universal that every runner must do. Every person needs at least 58 grams of complete protein for optimal performance!
Oh yeah? Well someone must have forgotten to tell Michael Arnstein (a.k.a. The Fruitarian) that. Arnstein eats only fruit and is a highly accomplished marathoner and ultramarathoner, with a personal best in the marathon of 2:28 after starting his all-fruit diet. This might not be the right diet for you, but clearly it works for him.
So I’ll leave you with the best piece of advice I could ever give: Listen to everyone, follow no one. Get out there and find what works best for you.