Running is a Skill…
And so is everything and anything you do in life. Like everything else, running is a skill you can learn. Some even better news, running a relatively simple skill to pick up, but it does, indeed, require purposeful practice to become and expert.
Why become an expert? No, not to become an elite. Although that is a good reason too. It will also make your running much more enjoyable. You do not need to be chasing time, but chasing enjoyment, through efficiency, is a good reason to improve upon your skill of running.
So what do I mean by skill? Skill is:
i) the ability to use one’s knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance; dexterity or coordination especially in the execution of learned physical tasks; a learned power of doing something competently – a developed aptitude or ability; the ability to do something that comes from training, experience, or practice (Merriam-Webseter.com)
ii) the ability to carry out a task with pre-determined results often within a given amount of time and/or energy (Wikipedia.com)
Lets dive further into types of skill. Running is a closed skill (if someone is chasing you down a rocky slope, yup open skill). For the most part running takes place is a stable, predictable environment, you know what you need to do and when you need to do it. Running is a pattern. Running is a series of discrete movements; it is a well-defined movement with a clear beginning and end. While it is a series of gross muscle (motor) movements, these movements require fine tuning to meet your individual physiological needs. No two bodies are the same.
Yet, few of us practice running as a skill. Few of us do a self or external performance analysis. With more purposeful practice of the skill of running, not only am I enjoying running more, running faster, more economically, but (for the most part) I’m injury free.
I’m going to do this blog as a bit of a mini-series, ideally posting once a month on the different aspects of the skill of running. Framing this I think biomechanics, cadence, coaching, & drills are the first few topics that come to mind, and I’m open to other suggestions for discussion.
New to running, ignore the above. Throw on a pair of shoes, shorts, a t-shirt, and go enjoy the
freedom to move easily with little equipment. If you want to stay with running long-term then you’ll need to make an investment in, not only the right shoes, shorts, shirts, bra, etc., but also in perfecting your running skills. Investment can be either in time or cost, or both, but it is an investment with a good return.