They come and go – fidget spinners, hula hoops, the Atkins diet……… A gimmick or fad is a new-fangled device or idea designed primarily to attract attention and increase appeal, but it often has little value. We now barely get to grips with the latest fad before a next craze is released, guaranteed to always offer more attention-grabbing trends and quick fixes. Our society is becoming ever more enthusiastic about gimmicks because they offer promises of an easier existence and instant improvement or relief. These ‘great ideas’, often produced by enthusiasts and gurus, who are good-hearted and well-meaning but who somehow miss the pragmatic realism that knowledge, hard work and discipline is the only secret to achieving any goal. But that doesn’t stop people trying to hunt for an easy option.
Healthcare is no different; it is not immune from the generality in life that brings us fads, gimmicks, gadgets and promises. Illness and injury are an inevitable part of human existence and we are too often lured by the illusion of a quick fix. The running world is no different either, there are new products produced every day that claim to help runners perform better, faster and decrease their risk of injury by offering quick fixes to all running problems. Quick fixes are attractive for so many reasons, they are clear cut, give clear instructions that are easily followed and they’re usually one-dimensional. It’s human nature to look for the quickest, easiest way to get what we want. We tend to look for the one size fits all solution to our problems. We like a swift resolution that is black or white, but the unfortunate reality is that the answer is often grey, murky and time consuming. The world of health is multifaceted, complicated and frequently unclear (and even contradictory). We want to find a machine, a program, a diet, a device that will fix us and make everything all right – and we want it now!
Well here’s the reality – apart from being improbable and unrealistic, most things just don’t work that way. One of the reasons they don’t, is that quick fixes are neither long-lasting, nor sustainable. A quick fix for any problem is only designed to hold things together until an effective long-term solution is found. It’s merely the proverbial band aid. Gimmicks often serve only to detract from the true essence of the objective that you are trying to achieve. Fads and gimmicks will continue to come and go, the world would be a less lively place without them, but often the quickest, supposedly most effortless solution merely diverts us from our the path that will lead us to our real goal. Most of us don’t want to hear this, but; there really are no quick fixes or short cuts to achieving and maintaining either our health or our running (or to anything else worthwhile, for that matter). This path is a long continuous one that requires time, commitment and self-discipline.