Challenging Conventional Wisdom

By: Brad Deel

As a college professor, I am always encouraging my students to think critically and analyze all ideas.  I encourage this because both individually and collectively, we only advance when we challenge what we think we already know.  Evidence is collected and what we think we know turns out to be wrong or, more likely, incomplete.  It is especially important to challenge those things that "everyone knows."  As I remind them, at one point everyone "knew" that the Earth was flat and the universe revolved around it.

Importantly, challenging conventional wisdom does not necessarily mean that the person doing the challenging has the answers.  What it does mean is that he or she is willing to ask the questions and that is something we all too frequently fail to do.  

So, as I do not have a goal race on the horizon, I thought it might be interesting to engage in some challenging intellectual workouts in addition to my challenging physical workouts.  My plan is to challenge some of those "truisms" I have heard repeatedly since I started running.  As always, I don't have a specific schedule in mind but I do have some issues in mind and I'm willing to entertain others.  I don't for a second think I have the answers but I am going to ask the questions.  Over the next few weeks, I intend to challenge the following:

1.  Listen to your body.

2.  There is no need for doubles until you reach 70 miles per week.

3.  The 10% rule.

4.  Newer runners shouldn't be doing speedwork.

5.  "The Wall"

Hopefully, a few will disagree with me.  As Gen. George Patton allegedly said, "if everyone is thinking the same thing, someone isn't thinking."  The point is not necessarily to resolve the issue but to start a discussion.  Still, even if we disagree, running will continue to unite us as a community.  Perhaps the politicians in Washington, D.C. could learn something from that.

See ya out there.

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