As some of you know, I’ve been training for the NYC marathon on Sunday, November 6.
The day before I recently flew to London, I had to run 22 miles – the last “long run” that is a part of my training plan. But, towards mile 18 my knee started to hurt. I just kept running and figured it wouldn’t do much harm. Well, was I wrong!!
By the time I was at the airport to fly to London, I was limping so much that the airline desk agent came over and offered to get my a wheelchair. So there I was, being wheeled through JFK airport in a wheelchair – on my birthday!! Not my finest moment.
Here’s how marathon training works. You train hard for 13 weeks and then the last 3 weeks are what are called the “taper weeks”. During these weeks, you reduce your running and let your body rest and repair itself from all the training you’ve put in.
Given that I could barely walk and had to take stairs one at a time the whole time I was in London, I had pretty much accepted that I was out of the marathon. Let’s face it, the taper weeks in a marathon doesn’t exactly mean “stop running for 9 days in a row”.
Well, even though I thought I wasn’t going to run the marathon, I decided to go to a new physical therapy place to get their opinion. I fully expected to have them tell me to not do the marathon. After a bunch of tests and some video analysis on their treadmill, I got an amazing understanding about what’s wrong with my running form and why I’m injured.
And … they said to keep training as though I’m going to do the marathon. Not the outcome I imagined. Like I said, I’d accepted it wasn’t going to happen this year and had decided that I would go to my favorite bar and get oysters and white wine and be upset for one night!
So I am taking it one day at a time at this point. I know you’re wondering, how is she going to connect this to UX? I’m so glad you asked …
Two important points to make this week:
First, don’t underestimate the value in getting a second opinion. This is the fourth physical therapy place I’ve been to this year. But, they were the first people to do a video analysis of my running. Do you feel like you’re not making progress with your product? Do you feel like you’re getting the same answers over and over but not seeing any change? Maybe you need to try a different approach or a different partner.
Second, don’t underestimate the value of time off. As much as us runners don’t like to take a break, your body needs time off to heal. In the same way, your mind needs a break too in order to process ideas, connect the dots, and get unstuck from the weeds of product development that so easily pull us in. Are you stuck on a problem? Look at your product roadmap or to do list and stop working on it for a day or two. Then, revisit it with fresh eyes.