I’m pretty black and white on topics. I have strong opinions and I have no problem making them known.
But when it comes to this over-used running saying I’m pretty gray.
“Running is so wonderful because anyone can do it. All you need is a good pair of running shoes.”
Hmmm… is that really all you need?
I’ll admit, I’ve used this saying trying to convince sedentary folks to start walking or running. Most people have athletic shoes so running is an accessible sport. You don’t need a pricey gym membership, equipment, or even skills.
Perhaps the saying holds some merit with beginners who have no desire to race or see how far or fast they run. Though I’d still argue the leisurely weekend runner needs a little more than some shoes. Like:
- Safety tips. Run against traffic and yield to cars. They hurt when they hit you.
- Expert advice. Don’t run every day. Use your arms. Hydrate.
- Good support bra. If you’re blessed in that area.
- Sunscreen. Skin cancer strikes year-round.
With the more experienced runner, this saying couldn’t be further from the truth. Because you need to replace that good $100 pair of shoes every 3 months. Then there’s Gu, Garmins, gatorade, and gear… oh my. And if you plan to race? Well there’s a reason my husband and I didn’t go on a real vacation this year. A two week Mediterranean cruise in place of race entry and travel fees would have been nice…
Yum. After all, a moment on the lips is not forever on the hips... if you have a good pair of running shoes ;)
What sayings do you loathe?
This morning my alarm went off at 5:30. I promptly turned it off, rolled over, and went back to sleep.
I had a date with my goggles for a 6 a.m. swimming session. I slept right through it. Sometimes sleep > exercise.
Since I’m not technically training for anything, it’s hard to get motivated to get out of my warm bed and workout. (I’m running a marathon in March but I’m not going to officially train until the new year.)
I’ve learned a lot about myself by doing 18 races in 2010. I mean how could I not? I’ve literally run the gamut in types of races:
- Two 5ks, both as a running buddy for Girls on the Run
- One 4 miler
- One road 8k and one trail 8k
- Two 10ks
- Six half marathons
- One 20 mile trail race
- One marathon
- Part of another marathon
- One sprint and one Olympic distance triathlon
It’s pretty easy to guess from that list what my favorite distance is, right?
Don’t get me wrong. Now that my stomach issues are figured out, I have high hopes of shattering my marathon PR. And a bunch of my blog friends are running it too, so the camaraderie cannot be beat. But like a wise woman said, “you don’t have to run a marathon to be a runner”.
I enjoy the half distance so much. Shorter races don’t test my endurance, and longer races don’t test my speed. I don’t have to devote as much time to training; I was able to stay in half marathon shape all year. I could spend my extra time focusing on swimming, biking, and yoga. Because triathlons are almost as fun as half marathons. So why not just focus on halves?
In a previous job, I took a course once on finding our work strengths. I’ll never forget what the instructor said: “The things we are not good at only become weaknesses when we do them. Don’t waste time on trying to improve your weaknesses. Instead, amplify your strengths.”
I do not completely agree with this. I fell in love with swimming and yoga this year well knowing that I’ll always get lapped in the pool by people 3 times my age, and I’ll never be the most talented person in a yoga class. These weaknesses are fine with me. You don’t have to excel at something to enjoy it.
On the other hand, I love half marathons and I’m pretty decent at them. If I focused all of my training for this distance, I could probably take myself from pretty decent to pretty good. Why focus on my weakness- the marathon- and keep getting disappointed when I could focus on my strength- the half- and keep meeting my goals?
Plain and simple: I like the challenge. If I just run halves, I’ll always wonder what I’m fully capable of in the full distance. I need to give the sucker another shot.
What are your thoughts on only doing things you’re good at? Do you like getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things?