Running isn’t hard (it just takes awhile to learn)

A few months ago, my wife and I took a beginner’s swing dancing class that met every week for five weeks. It was a disaster.

A photo posted by Jason Fitzgerald (@jasonfitz1) on

Well, at least it was a disaster for me. I was the least talented dancer in the class of 30+ people.

The worst part? We rotated partners so I had to dance with nearly every other woman in the class – so everyone knew how bad my dancing skills were.

But after three classes, I started to feel mildly competent at a 5-step sequence. Yes – it took three hours and three weeks of practice to master five steps.

It was depressing. I’ve always considered myself somewhat athletic, venturing into new types of races and forms of exercise:

  • I’ve won a Warrior Dash obstacle race
  • I finished 9th in New England in the 3,000m steeplechase in college
  • I lift weights
  • I’ve run cross country, trail races, triathlons, and duathlons

And if you ever met one of my cross country teammates from college, they’ll reluctantly tell you I was the 2 x HORSE Champion on the team!

See, I don’t just run. My wife even used to call me a “core whore!”

So you can see why my inability to learn swing dancing was frustrating. But then I realized something…

It’s not necessarily hard… It just takes awhile.

And that changed everything.

Because most things aren’t actually that difficult. But learning them does take awhile.

Swing dancing isn’t overly hard – it’s just complex and learning a new skill takes time.

Running a marathon isn’t very hard (over half a million people do it every year in the US alone – and they’re not all excellent athletes). But finishing a marathon does require a long time to prepare.

Qualifying for Boston isn’t all that hard either – but it does take a really long period of consistent training for most runners.

It’s time that we reframe what is difficult (quantum mechanics) vs. what just takes a long time (most running goals).

This shift in mindset is powerful. And it’s liberating.

You don’t need to hit the genetic lottery to reach most of your running goals.

You just need time, patience, consistency, and one helluva work ethic.

And what’s more inspiring than knowing that you can achieve your goals, as long as you’re patient?

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