Saturday, May 17, 2008

Stir up the pot....

It looks like I created a stir on the RW forums re: a topic on "Are runners athletic?" Well here is how it started (this was my first post):

Had a discussion a few days ago at work re: which sports require true athleticism...
We came up with a formula on what it would require for you to be considered "athletic".
1. Speed
2. Skill
3. Power and/or Endurance
4. Agility

Very few sports require you to have all 4 of these attributes, but sports that I found to require a great deal of athleticism have at least 3 of the 4.
IMO, running only requires speed and/or endurance..definitely not agility or skill...
Sports such as gymnastics, football, soccer, basketball require at least 3 of the 4, if not all 4. Running is an extremely one dimensional sport.
This is just my little "formula" that I came up with... some might agree or disagree... just interested to get some takes on what you all think of distance running, and although I realize it requires work and dedication to be successful, does it really require any type of athleticism???

As you see, even though I am a runner, I don't believe that it requires true athleticism. It is a great form of exercise, and it requires incredible endurance, especially if you are doing the marathon distance. But let's be honest here... Lebron James is a ridiculous basketball player, and if he had decided that he wanted to go the football route instead of the basketball route when he was in high school, I'm sure he would've done incredibly well. I don't think you can take a 130 lb elite marathoner and put him/her in most sports that they would excel in. You see, most of can run.... some of us like to run, fewer of us can run long, and very few of us can run fast and long.... to me that's it. I don't think running translates into hand/eye coordination sports, or agility sports for that matter... it is strictly a matter of endurance, proper training and proper pre-race, race and post-race strategy.

Now, one of the nice things about running is that you can see improvements if you train properly. It's one of the few sports that you will continue to see improvements, especially over the 1st 5-10 years that you work on your training. That's part of what makes it so rewarding. Today I ran 14 miles, and it was hot... and even though it wasn't one of my better long runs that I have had over the last 3 months of my significant gains in speed, it took me back to a run that I had about a year ago around this time. I was at Flatwoods park with Chris, his sister-in-law, and one of my patient's coaches (who is a runner also). I decided to run my 1st 14 miler that day, and the weather was about the same as it was today. I was running around a 9:30/mile pace that day for the first 9 miles.... and then I crashed... crashed hard.... I was passed by everyone... and honestly I didn't think I would make it to my car... I actually thought the paramedics might have had to get me, because I was so dehydrated and just torn up, that I just couldn't walk anymore... I ended up having to walk the last 3-4 miles, and that was extremely disheartening. I would have to say that it was my worst training run I have ever had. So the fact that I was able to do the same distance today, even faster than when I did it that day, and finish strong (but soaking!!!) it made me reminisce back to that day, and realize how much better things have gotten since then.
It actually made me think that I want to start to train in the heat, so my body gets used to it... just in case Chicago has a heat wave like it had last year. I guess its more of a scheduling thing for me than anything. Family has to come first... and it always easier to run before the Todd Squad wakes up.... know what I'm sayin??