I call myself a runner. I like to run. I like the sense of accomplishment I get from finishing a run and I enjoy the endorphins running causes to be released and the effect that has on my mood. However, I also know I am not a good runner. I am not speedy, and my ability to go long distances has definitely deteriorated over the years with age and life getting in the way of consistent running. However, I would not say I can’t run even if I am unfit enough that running a couple of hundred metres leaves me gasping for breath.
Often when friends tell me they need a cheap form of exercise I suggest they try going for a run. All you need is shorts, t-shirt and a pair of runners and off you go. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need all of the latest gadgetry to go for a run. Look at kids- they run and run all day long and don’t require anything special to do so except a desire to get to the next point quickly. As adults, we can also run with minimalistic equipment and don’t actually require heart rate monitors, a GPS enabled watch etc.
When I suggest to my friends that they try running, often they will say, “I can’t run” or “I am not a runner” or “I tried running once but couldn’t”. As I probe further, I discover it is that they can’t run very far or very fast. Not being able to do something well is not the same as not being able to do it at all.
We live in a day and age where we get used to getting things instantly. Emails, text messages and information are all at our fingertips in an instant. That doesn’t mean that being good at things is also instantaneous. Being good at something still takes time and effort even in this age where other things are instantaneous. This blog for me is largely about improving my writing. I can write an essay well, I can write a report, I can write a presentation. All of these forms of writing I can do well. However, creative writing or writing a blog are areas I have never really tried. Am I good at them? Probably not really yet. Can I get better at them if I work at it? Of course! Would I call myself a writer? This is maybe where I need to take my own advice. I will probably never be a professional writer but I can put words on a page, formulate ideas, publish my blog or write a story. Am I a writer? Yes. Will I ever be the best writer in the world? I think I can safely say no. Am I a runner? Yes, will I ever be a professional athlete? No.
I do know that not working at something is the fastest way to guarantee not getting better at it. So, whether it be running or writing, we should all remember that you don’t have to be the best at something to get enjoyment out of it or benefits from it. We should also not expect to be great at something the first time we try it. If we could be wouldn’t everyone do it? So put on your running shoes and go for a run even if you only make 50 metres. Tomorrow you might make 100 metres. Pick up your pen and write something or draw a picture. Whatever it is you think you aren’t good at, go and give it a try, work at and you might just surprise yourself or at least have some fun along the way.