Does Running Take Skill?

Okay, so I normally don’t post when I am angry, so bear with me, or don’t and I won’t be offended (and, let’s be honest, I really won’t know because that is the beauty of the internet and the anonymity that it can bring). Running is difficult enough without having to deal with those in the world that tend to not give the sport much credit. Well, yesterday I dealt with just such a person. He said that running didn’t require “skill” and that showing drastic improvements in your time did not really represent athleticism in the sense that, say, success in golf or hockey or gymnastics represents. I should not have let these extremely uninformed comments bother me like they did, but I did because the comments came from someone that I typically greatly respect. Additionally, others in the room did zero to stand up for me in recognizing the many, many, many hours that I dedicate to the sport. I cried and actually dreamt about it. Net—I let too much of my mental capacity be taken up by these careless words.

Now is a great time to tell you a little bit about my journey with the sport of running. When I met Todd, I had never run more than about 3 miles consecutively and I never really paid any attention to how fast I ran. Then, in January of 2005, I went to watch Todd run the Disney World marathon.

I stood there watching all the people cross the finish line and thought “I think I can do that!” Later that day, once Todd had finished the marathon, I asked him what he thought and he agreed that I could do it and he would help to train me. Hence, a journey began.

My first marathon was in October of 2005 and I ran it in 4 hours and 29 minutes.

Em Post Columbus Marathon

I slowly cut time off over the course of the next 6 marathons and qualified for Boston for the first time in 2008. I ran Boston in 2009 and 2010

Boston 2010 Heartbreak Hill

And then set my marathon PR in 2012 at 3:16 over a quite hilly course.

After flying pig 2012

Needless to say, improving in running did not come easily to me. Our entrance into the ultra world is another story entirely, so I will save that for another day.

For now, though, I would like to end this post by saying that, to me, running is an everyday journey on which I am almost constantly focused. I consistently read and study the sport from learning about form and breathing to listening to the professional athletes and coaches on podcasts. I spend time planning nutritious meals and preparing for challenging training sessions. I miss out on a lot of other activities so that I can get the proper sleep. All of these choices are 100% my decisions. No one is forcing me to do this and I could definitely quit this sport tomorrow and no one would likely care or notice. SO, I say all of this to point out to myself that I strongly believe that this sport does take skill and lots and lots of time and effort and I just need to remember that next time I let someone else’s thoughtless words get into my head. I do this beautiful thing for ME and for the confidence that it provides ME and for the hope that it gives ME that I can get better if I dedicate myself and for the joy it brings ME because I know that God gave me this sport for a reason and hopefully, and just maybe, I can inspire someone else in their personal journey along the way. Skill or no skill, running is certainly a force in my life that I pray can continue pursuing until I take my last breath in this glorious world.

What is on your mind on this Wednesday?



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Running is definitely a skill and I would have been just as angry/frustrated if someone said that to me. I can’t believe anyone would think that. If anything, I’d say a lot more average runners take their sport more seriously than the average golfer (or hockey player or what not) adjusting their diet, sleep, schedule,etc. I’m so sorry this came from someone you respected, that sounds discouraging. Maybe you’ll have a chance to readdress it in the future and inform him of how much of a sport it really is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for the very sweet reply. It was very cathartic just to write this post, so I am feeling much better today. I really like my new internet friends like you!

      Liked by 1 person

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