When it comes to parenting, I always joke around with new parents saying “I have 2 pieces of advice for you. Number 1, don’t take advice from anyone, and number 2, ……….”
It is true to some extent, you have to be careful who you take advice from. There are some topics which will never elicit advice from family and friends, trust me, no one in my family gave me advice on triathlon training. There are however, topics that will have everyone and their dog piping up with the perfect answer. “It worked for me back in 1985”, thanks Dad.
Glad I haven’t lost you yet. Yes, irony at it’s finest.
The internet is an awesome thing. Anyone can, with little time invested, start a website and delve out advice on any subject known to man. This is advice that you will no doubt come accross at some point. It is your job to determine if (1)this is advice you can benefit from, (2)is this advice solid, and (3)how to fit it into your lifestyle. Tim Ferriss in “The Four Hour Body” calls it the bike shed effect. If you ask anyone on how to build a bike shed, they will say of course, it is simple. When it comes time to build the shed, they will have no clue how to get it done. The same applies for life, training, weight loss, and just about anything else.
So be smart when taking advice you find on the Internet, in books, and from fellow triathletes. Here are some steps I use to determine if I use the advice, or file it under maybe.
Do Your Homework
Determine what type of advice you are looking for, if you are looking for any at all. Someone who writes real well, or has a great story, can pursuade you to try something you don’t really want to or sign up for a race you are not ready for.
Validate the claim by looking for another peroson who has the same result. Find a piece of adivce that you can use, then get a second opinion. This may not be possible in all cases, as they may be the first to test it. Or maybe, just the first to write it down.
No need to hire a private detective on this one, but make sure you look into who is giving the advice.
If you a reading a webpage (thanks by the way for reading mine) then check out the about page. I tried to give a reasonable description of who I am, what I do, and why I do it. If that matches what you do, or want to do, then keep looking. If it is lacking information, or doesn’t match you goals, then move on before anyones feelings get hurt.
If you are getting advice in person, then ask a couple of questions during the conversation. Questions like “so how long have you been doing this?” and “how many times have you done this race?”. Again, if the answers and advice match your expectations, shake their hand, and get to it.
Now that you have determined that you like the advice and the advisor, test it out on your schedule. It could be as simple as tweeking your seat hight on your bike, as complicated as testing nutrition for your only race of the year, or anything in between. Regardless of how awesome it sounds, take baby steps to ensure you will benefit just as you expect.
Here is the inspiration behind this post.
Question: How do you wade through the endless advice that exists?