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Are You a Real Runner?

Posted Feb 02 2013 5:33pm

I hear runners say all the time, "I'm not a real runner." In fact, one of my best friends always says that she is not a real runner like me. She runs half marathons! That sounds like a real runner to me. She thinks she is too slow to be called a real runner. I say being a runner has nothing to do with speed. My sister always says that she is not a real runner like me. She thinks that since her focus is on weight lifting, and running is not a priority in her training, that she is not a real runner. She runs a handful of races every year and she runs up one of the steepest longest hills in Pittsburgh for fun (to the top of Mt. Washington for yinz locals who know it.) That sounds like a real runner to me! Why do people think there is a certain criteria for being labeled a runner?

I think it is an issue of self-identity more than anything. Although they don't identify themselves as runners, they do, in fact, run. If you run, you are a runner.

I can relate, when I joined CrossFit, they referred to the members as athletes. Although I work out and run on a regular basis, I never really considered myself an athlete. An athlete seems like someone who is competing in the Olympics or at least is good in sports. I always have been terrible at organized sports. It sounds weird to my ears for someone to refer to me as an athlete and it definitely seemed strange to call myself one. Maybe I'm afraid to call myself an athlete because I'm afraid someone will tell me that I'm really not. It is the same thing.

If you participate in athletics then you are an athlete, whether or not you self-identify with it or not.



You can call yourself a runner or not, it's totally up to you. Maybe you don't want to be called a runner and that's OK, but don't you dare let self-doubt, or worse yet, someone else tell you that you are not a runner because:

If you only run on the treadmill, then you are not a real runner.
If you run a pace slower than (insert arbitrary pace here,) then you are not a real runner.
If you take walk breaks, then you are not a real runner.
If running isn't your main focus of your training, then you are not a real runner.
If you run less than (insert arbitrary miles here,) then you are not a real runner.
If you don't partipicate in organized races, then you are not a real runner.
If you don't have a certain body type, then you are not a real runner.
If you don't have $150 running shoes, you are not a real runner.

I call bullshit on all of the above.

My favorite running quote
How about you? Are you a real runner?  (Hint: if you run, the answer is yes.)

Keep Running,

Lea

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