Running should be easy. Right? You buy a pair of running shoes, lace them up and take off down the road. But wait…. What shoes are the right fit? Will they injure my feet if they’re not just the right fit? Should I stretch before I run? What’s the best way to build up my speed and endurance? Should I be eating differently? How long before I can run a marathon 5k? Does it injure my feet if I run on pavement? How often should I run? Am I improving my fitness? Should I be lifting weights too? Will this spare tire ever disappear?!? Gahhhhh!

Ok, well, maybe running isn’t as simple as it first appears…

I’m not a professional runner by any means. In the past 2 years, I’ve put in over 400 miles (never mind all those runs I didn’t record on my running app) running and on the treadmill. For me, running is an opportunity to clear the mind and to counteract those hours I’ve spent at the desk in grad school and now with my current job. Joining the local runners’ club is a great way to branch out of my normal ag circles and meet other folks who love the outdoors, a recovery beer, and staying active. It’s an opportunity for a breath of fresh air and to kick my day off to an awesome start. I’ve even purchased a gym membership so I can change up my workouts with different equipment.

But the more I run, the more I am confused on how to workout properly. If I google for tips on how to improve or run properly, I’m overwhelmed by the noise coming from so many directions. Even the Runner’s World and Men’s Health Magazines give me completely different answers, sometimes in the same issue. I’m really not sure where to turn for the right answers, even with hours of study.

Then it hits me… This must be how it feels to walk into a subject with little prior exposure or knowledge of what is considered a credible source of information. Is this how it feels for urban consumers seeking to learn more about our food supply? How do they learn where to turn for information? Why would they trust farmers or scientists? How would they find those folks to hear what they have to say?

How do I know I have the right information when it comes to running? Do I believe one source over the other because I’m sold on the emotion of wanting to be fit like the people on the cover of a magazine?

I guess the answer comes down to┬ámaking your own personal decisions – doing your own research and deciding for yourself who to trust.

I sure wouldn’t appreciate it if someone told me I was ignorant when it comes to running, as I’m sure I’ve made some people feel when it comes to statements I’ve made surrounding our food supply in the past. No one is perfect, but understanding comes with experience and is a part of growing up.

I may not be running a marathon anytime soon (but I will say, training at 3,800 feet elevation would probably give me an advantage when running back home), but engaging in activities and other interests helps me learn more about my passions and maybe even new perspectives on the familiar subjects I’ve known my entire life.

Next time you engage in a conversation and view someone as ignorant because they should have known better, take a moment to consider the situation. Run a mile in their shoes and consider the other perspectives. Maybe they’re just looking for someone they can trust to simply, honestly tell them what they want to know.

Now about that tie in with food…. After that 10k today, I’m starved. Where’s the tacos?!?