Photography and videography by Matt Trappe
Open Instagram and click the “Explore” button. If you’re anything like us and you follow runners, your search results will mostly be smiling, happy athletes in various states of undress. During summer, it may sometimes look like an athleisure porn shoot. What unifies many of those athletes is that they convey a carefree lightness that optimizes “likes” for the almighty algorithms. Darkness rarely makes the top page of search results.
But darkness is everywhere. In an athletic life, you have crappy runs, you doubt yourself, you compare to others. You get injured. We have heard of athletes that post old photos while they are injured, refusing to acknowledge the struggle in the moment and only talking about it after it’s light again. We’ve always thought that if people could see behind the scenes and get a glimpse of what athletes of all types actually go through, we’d all love each other and ourselves way more.
That gets back to one of the first things we realized in coaching--it’s not really about designing workouts. It’s more often about wandering into that darkness, trying to help athletes find a flashlight and some friends, and searching for a way out together, hoping to laugh along the way. Those Instagram accounts might not talk about it all that often, but they go through it too. So does that pro athlete you look up to and the competitor you fear.