Expertise

During my run on Friday morning, I could stop thinking about expertise in running. How do you know when you have become an expert? What changes a novice runner into an expert? Is it when the novice starts to get really good at running by winning? Is it when the runner begins to get paid that they are considered to be experts, or, a professional??

I am not a paid blogger. Every little opinion on this entire sight is my own. I have also refused “free” products before for giveaways before because I didn’t personally endorse/believe in them . I would only ever give something away that I would use myself.

I’ve always been asked different running questions/advice by friends and family and thought this blog would be a great way to branch out and help other runners, too. To be fair-I run more than most people I know, and I think most everyone who knows me, knows that little factoid. Why not ask your questions to the one crazy runner girl you know?? A lot of different people have come to me asking the most random running things, and I love that!! I answer every inquiry with my honest opinion, or tell them what has worked best for me.

But…What qualifies me to give running advice? Am I considered an expert runner because I run marathons? Technically…. nothing qualifies me. I am not a coach. I am not a “professional” runner. Is my qualifier that I have been a runner for many years? Is it because I’m considered “good” at it? Perhaps. But what qualifies anyone else to give advice, coaching help, or tips? There are thousands of bloggers like me who aren’t certified coaches and are able to express their own opinions and stories via the developments of the World Wide Web.
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Last week I bought my very first pair of compression socks. It seems like every running blog I read is always yammering on about them, and how well they work so I did my research and bought a pair. Yup, 14 years in… never tried them. Some expert, huh?
My thoughts after this week:“Wow. I’m really glad I bought those compression socks. I love them. I want to wear them every day. My feet/legs/butt felt so great these past few days. I’m so happy. And HEY!!! If I had never started blogging, I wouldn’t have known how well compression socks work for other runners. I always thought they were just dumb socks that some really weirdo runners wore during races. Now I know how awesome they are and I can tell all my readers. I can’t wait to wear the dumb socks at races! I should probably also tell all my readers that this is my first week ever wearing them. I love them. I love running. Hey! WOW!! Nothing hurts!!” <em>I learned something new, and I was grateful for it.

What makes a runner a “good” runner? Are you considered to only be a “good” runner when you start to become faster? Is a runner “good” ONLY if they BQ? If that’s the case, I am a terrible runner because I haven’t BQ’d yet.

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My pace might not be your pace. So what?! Whoever you are reading this: you might be faster than me and you might be slower. You could be more experienced than me and you could be a newbie. I don’t really think it matters what your pace is…if you are out there running everyday, or just some days-you’re a runner with something to offer. I follow a ton of blogs who express their various tips of what works for them. And I love it! Whether they’re training for their first marathon, a brand new runner training for a 5k, or a freaking Olympian, everyone has a different story of what worked for them, and something to offer you. I learn new things or get ideas every single day via blogs. I love that.

What makes a runner a “pro”? Is it the money? Endorsements? Their speed? When they have a coach? Win the Olympics? The way I see it- Me-You-Mrs&MrJoeSchmo: we are no different than pro’s like Shalane Or Meb. Sure, they get paid to run, and I do not. It is actually their job to train and to run. But aren’t they still learning too?? Recovering from injuries just like everybody else? Choosing different fuels for their bodies? Suffering from a cramp due to a really craptastic hot run? You bet your sweet runners ass they are. The pros are runners, just like me, and just like you.

Today I took a second to realize and recognize a few key things about developments in my running:
– I have taken my speed from an average of 12 minutes per a mile…to 7.
-I have taken my marathon times from almost 7 hours….to 3:45.

And this is great. I’ve gotten so much faster!! and that is FANTASTIC…because I KNOW what my goals are: I want to BQ on my own. I want to get faster in my half marathon times. Sweet. But the best thing of all that I realized is that I know that each and everyday-there is so much room for personal growth. I will never claim to be an expert on running. There are always new thing to learn. (remember when people only wore cotton to run in? Thank god for changes…
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I started my run on a Friday thinking about how HAPPY I was to be out running. That’s it-happiness. Joy. Ear to ear grin. Everyday, my run starts with the same joy I had when I became a runner 14 years ago. I have never lost that-and I am extremely grateful for the joy it provides.

Anyway…here I am..14 years into running. The bond I have with it is a lifetime thing: it evolves, as do I. I will never, ever pretend to know everything. I am constantly Learning, researching, updating, changing and challenging my OWN knowledge of my sport.
It makes me a better runner.
I hope to never, ever be an expert in my craft, for if I’m an expert..doesn’t that mean I have nothing left to learn??
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This is a lifetime sport that I plan to keep learning from. I may peak for a particular race and have terrific training…but I am still as susceptible to injury as any other runner out there. Or not. I will never ever stop learning about my own body or what it’s capable of doing. After all…I DID just buy my first pair of compression socks!!

I have come to the conclusion that there is NO SUCH THING as being an expert at running. A good runner knows that there is always a new method to try, a different workout to help you improve, or even a new fuel to try during your run. Nothing ever stays exactly the same and running, like life, is ever evolving and changing. There is so much knowledge out there: no one can possibly know it all. I Freaking Love that..

Fellow Runners:
May you never stop learning.
May you never be an “expert” with nothing else to learn.
May your Running feet/body always learn new ways to handle your runs.
And by all means…please, keep teaching ME…

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24 thoughts on “Expertise

  1. Pingback: Weekly Faves 7/3/14 | Running Southern

  2. Nicole. Double clap for your post. It really made me think. Very refreshing-thanks! I’ll be pondering my own answer for that on my next run..I always have viewed the old wrinkly guys at running stores (can you say Hawk at Runner’s Corner?!) and the Olympians as the experts. But you have a good point. Keep it up:)

  3. This post is so great. I agree with you: I think the great thing about being a runner is that you always have something to learn. In that sense, none of us are ever really experts. We just share what we learn and help each other along the way.

  4. I love this post! And yes compression socks are so da bomb ha lol! I still use them for my long runs but don’t them quite as much since dropping back to the 5K. And I don’t think as runners we’ll ever be experts become we are always striving for that next PR or the new distance

  5. Great post per usual πŸ™‚

    Perhaps you could do a post on what you started doing to cut your time down? I would love to drop my half marathon time from 2:15 to 2 hours but it just seems so impossible

  6. I love your running story, and it gives me so much inspiration! My happy pace is around 13 minutes per mile, and dips a couple octaves lower when I’m racing or doing speedwork. I never really considered that I might break 4 hours at the marathon distance until I read your blog and the improvements you’ve made over the years. It gives me hope that will dedication I might do that too! Or maybe I won’t and that’s okay too, but at least I have the inspiration to try for it now!

  7. I love your attitude on products and giveaways, first of all, as a side note!

    Second, I love your attitude on the topic of expertise. I see myself as someone who has accumulated knowledge from my own experiences, and those experiences may not match up with other people’s. I’ve read a lot of running books and just finished taking a coaching course, and if anything I’m continually humbled by how much I don’t know about running, and really how much no one KNOWS for sure about running. Lots of experiences and an open mind helps, but I don’t know what really qualifies someone as an expert.

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