What marathon training has taught me about team dynamics

COVID has left me a little stir crazy, and one way I decided to cope with that was by setting a big goal: running a marathon at the end of March. It’s mostly going well, but I’ve found that I’m paying more attention to my body and its aches and pains than ever before.

One of the most powerful concepts I keep coming back to again and again is that if a muscle aches, that particular muscle is often not the problem. How strange is that?!

For example, if my lower back aches, what I feel like doing is stretching my lower back muscles. They feel tight and strained, but I know that stretching will only make them worse. More likely it’s my mid-back muscles that need the most attention, as they are actually the muscles that are exhausted and no longer able to carry their load to prevent the lower back from getting pulled on.

You might be wondering why I’m telling you all this. Well, I’ve been thinking lately how our physical aches and pains can actually offer us an apt metaphor for team dynamics. Who on your team is stressed? Where do we see pain? And what is the connective tissue that’s one step removed?


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