- 6 Reasons Why Your Can Call Yourself a Runner Right Now
- Common Misconceptions about Calling Yourself a Runner
- You only have to do one thing to be a runner: Decide
- 1. You set goals, and then crush them
- 2. You put in the effort
- 3. You grow as a person
- 4. You embrace adversity
- 5. You keep coming back for more
- 6. You feel great after a run
- Hint: If you read this entire article then yes, yes you are a runner
- 26.2 Signs You’re a Distance Runner
- 9 Running Myths—Busted!
- 13 Symptoms of Catching the Running Bug
- So, You Want to Be a Runner
- Make Running a Habit
- Buy the Right Running Shoes
- Build a Running Repertoire
- Sign Up for a Race
- Call Yourself a Runner
- 7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Hesitate to Call Yourself a Runner
- 1. You Put in the Effort
- 2. You Work Through Challenges
- 3. Gaining Clarity is Just as Important to You as Improving
- 4. Running Helps You Grow as a Person
- 5. You Learn to Embrace Adversity
- 6. You Can’t Stop Wanting More
- 7. There’s Nothing the Feeling of Accomplishment After a Great Run
- Do You Call Yourself A Runner? –
6 Reasons Why Your Can Call Yourself a Runner Right Now
I see you, shuffling along the sidewalk.
I see you, seamlessly shifting between running and walkingto keep your heartrate from climbing too high.
I see you, getting up early so you can jog before work.
I see you, entering a weekend 5k to prove to yourself thatyou can run a race.
I see you, putting in the effort to challenge and improve yourself.
But when someone asks if you are a runner, you think of your walk intervals and shrug off the label: “Well I run, but I’m not really a runner.”
Common Misconceptions about Calling Yourself a Runner
For some reason, there are thousands and thousands of people in the world who invest hours of their life into running, yet they hesitate to call themselves a runner. They think that you have to do one (or all) of these things before you can call yourself a runner.
- Run continuously, without walking
- Wear fancy moisture-wicking clothes orcompression socks
- Run at least X miles per week.
- Compete in a race
- Complete a marathon
- Run faster than a certain pace
What if I told you that none of these “qualifies” you to be a runner?
There is nothing that qualifies you to be a runner.
You only have to do one thing to be a runner: Decide
Here’s the reality: you are a runner the moment you take your first step. All you have to do is decide that you are a runner. Once you decide, then you can rightfully call yourself a runner. No one else can quality you to be a runner but you.
Not convinced yet? Let me explain why you should call yourself a runner right now.
1. You set goals, and then crush them
Runners set goals.
The specific distance or nature of that goal is only relevant to where you are in your running journey. It could be running to the end of the block or a half marathon, but there is something you want to do, and you’re going to crush it!
I’ve set some big goals for this year.
2. You put in the effort
You know how I just said that runners make goals and crush them?
That’s because runners put in the effort to achieve those goals. They develop a plan of action, and work towards that plan every single day. They plan out their workouts, and then they get to work on checking those workouts off the plan as they complete each one. Runners know that anything worth achieving is hard, and it takes effort to achieve their goals.
3. You grow as a person
Runners are in constant pursuit to become better. Better than they currently are not only at running, but also as a person. Running helps them see life more clearly, and that lends itself to improving their life.
4. You embrace adversity
Runners embrace adversity. While on the path to achieving their goals, they often hit roadblocks and unforeseen challenges. It might be an illness, injury, a tight work schedule, or family obligations that pull them away from their training. I missed a personal record I had been training for. That’s ok.
Runners learn from their experiences and grow. They learn how to avoid future mistakes and handle it better next time.
5. You keep coming back for more
A common phrase among runners is, “I’m never doing this again.”
Those words are usually uttered around the end of an especially grueling race that takes them to the edge of their capabilities. They stretch to achieve a goal, and experience an incredible amount of pain on the way. Why? Because runners crush their goals.
Yet, by the time they cross the finish line and the euphoria of accomplishment sets in, they are thinking about when their next race will be.
Are you ready to train for your next half marathon? Find out when you need to start your plan.
If you have ever experienced this phenomenon, then you are a runner.
6. You feel great after a run
Some runs are good, and some runs are not so good. But there is no such thing as a bad run. The only bad run is the one that didn’t happen. Runners head out the door knowing that they will always feel better after a run.
Every once in a while, they might even achieve the elusive “runner’s high,” when they feel on top of the world, their splits come fast and easy, and they feel they could go on forever.
Yes, this feels great.
Hint: If you read this entire article then yes, yes you are a runner
Next week, I’m going to release the next step: Build Your Running Identity.
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26.2 Signs You’re a Distance Runner
We’ve beat the dead horse of if you run, you are a runner…so this isn’t about deciding to call yourself a runner. It’s really about laughing at the insanity that becomes your life once you are a runner.
Being a runner isn’t just a thing you do now and then, it becomes an identity…it takes over your closet, your laundry room, your kitchen cabinets and your weekends.
- You own more running shoes than regular shoes (ok more running shoes than shoes owned by the rest of your family).
- Your running gear costs more than the rest of your wardrobe (and you don’t even care).
- You know the difference between feeling you can’t and knowing you’re gas (because you’ve been there, done that).
- You can’t wait for vacation because it means extra time to run (and often new places to run).
- You understand words fartlek, pronation, Pose method (and you love to talk about them).
- You wake up earlier on Saturday to run than for work on Monday (and you don’t even mind).
- You know it’ s a lie every time you say this is my last….(the memories fade and registration buttons are so enticing)
- You can complain about the pain of running and extol it’s virtues in the same sentence (that pain made me a better person).
- You know immediately when someone says they ran a marathon last weekend and they mean a 5K (and you’ve heard it enough you don’t even feel correcting them).
- You often find yourself assuming anyone who passes you isn’t running as far…they couldn’t possibly be, you’re a distance runner!
- You’ve been accused of having a one track mind (which is what makes you show up consistently for all your runs).
- You know that peanut butter is a valid food group and best eaten on a slice of bread with banana before a race.
- You know the art of porta potty usage, hover, sleeves for doors and bring your own back up TP (and your lung capacity means you can hold your breathe for the duration).
- You have ridiculous tan lines and are proud of them because they represent hard work (and yes even with sunscreen you get them).
- Your best stories all start with “so I was running…” (reason enough to do a relay race or try a crazy new distance).
- You await Marathon Monday others do the Super Bowl (and you’re ridiculously unproductive at work watching it)
- You aren’t deterred by bad weather, you’re ready to feel a bad ass or get creative.
- You know it’s not weird to run back and forth in front of your house to get to round numbers. Only psychos leave things at 4.27.
- You don’t look at running as something you have to do, it’ something that enhances everything else in your life.
- You’re convinced running solves nearly all life problems (because you are extremely smart).
- You say the words easy and a double digit number in the same sentence to describe your run (congrats you must be tapering).
- You have no issues adding on an extra mile or two for an extra slice of pizza (yes you do indeed run to eat on some level).
- You appreciate the ways running has shaped your life
- You have a bathroom schedule to ensure you are not the “mad pooper” currently all over the news.
- You have solved world hunger and other life altering things during a run (you just can’t remember them later).
- You know how to refute all the ongoing running myths, it’s bad for your knees (but you’ve got better things to do… go run).
26.2: You know life is better when you run. It doesn’t matter how far, it doesn’t matter how fast, it doesn’t matter if it’s solo or with friends. Any mile is a good mile.
Which of these most sounds you?
Any that are missing??
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9 Running Myths—Busted!
Running is an excellent way to challenge yourself, stay fit, and maintain a healthy weight. It’s simple, too—all you need is a pair of shoes and a road or trail. Unfortunately, several myths and misconceptions prevent many people from becoming runners. Even among current runners, confusion and uncertainty surround everything from stretching to nutrition.
Here are nine of the most common running myths, along with Dumb Runner’s fact checks.
1. If you’re training for a marathon, you can eat anything you want.FALSE. If you think training for a marathon gives you carte blanche to eat anything, think again.
Here is a short list of things that runners cannot eat, no matter how many miles they’re running: Bones, utensils, plastic clamshell packaging, vinyl handbags, wax fruit displays, lithium ion batteries, steering wheels, lightbulbs, Arby’s, wireless keyboards.
I learned this the hard way.
2. If you run, your uterus will fall out.PROBABLY FALSE. Doctors are highly skeptical of this one. It’s true that in a study of 850 male and female runners, researchers couldn’t detect a uterus in nearly half of them. Was running responsible for all those missing uteruses? Perhaps. More study is needed.
3. Running will ruin your knees.FALSE. This old canard is perhaps the most stubborn of them all. Far from “ruining” your knees, research has shown, running actually strengthens them. So what explains all of those runners with bad knees? The answer is simple, scientists say: Vaccines.
RELATED: Woman’s Knee Bones Visible Through Her Damn Pants, If You Can Believe That
4. “Real runners” must run.FALSE. Today’s runner can choose from a wealth of options, from indoor cycling classes to hot yoga. Even walking is fine. If none of those are to your liking, simply purchase a technical running shirt to wear around the house. Remember: If you call yourself a runner, you’re a runner!
5. Hades, brother of Zeus, kidnapped Persephone, daughter of Demeter, and made her his wife in the underworld.
Eventually she was allowed to return to earth, but with a caveat: Because Persephone had eaten four pomegranate seeds in Hades, she was doomed to return there for four months every year.
And this is why we have the seasons: When Persephone visits earth, it is spring; when she leaves, it is winter.SORRY. That’s a Greek myth. Not sure how that got in here.
6. It’s important to stretch before a run.FALSE. Pre-run stretching used to be the norm. Then things shifted, with experts advising runners to stretch after their run. Today we know that both approaches are wrong, and that runners should stretch during their run. Experts recommend pausing every five to 10 minutes to do so, especially during hard workouts and races.
RELATED: 5 Stretches You Should Never Do
7. Swallowing your race medal will give you good luck for a year.FALSE. No one is sure how this myth got started, but emergency room doctors wish it would die—every year they treat an estimated 4,500 runners with medals lodged in their throats. There’s nothing lucky about that!
8. You should wait 30 minutes after eating to go for a run.FALSE. This rule applies to swimming. But even for swimmers, it’s FALSE. According to companies that sell sports nutrition products and publications that run their advertisements, runners should “fuel up” not just before their runs, but during and after, as well. For best results, do it while stretching.
RELATED: Man Takes Break to Fuel Up While Shopping for Fuel
9. You need new running shoes after a certain specific number of miles.
FALSE. This one is just bullshit.
RELATED: Man's Running Shoes Expire in Middle of 5K
13 Symptoms of Catching the Running Bug
So many people shy away from slapping the “runner” label on themselves. (Especially if they think they're slow.
) Truth is, you don't need to have run a marathon or be in a monogamous relationship with running to use the “R” word to describe yourself.
It's simple: If you run at all-20 steps or 20 miles-you are indeed a runner. (Still not convinced? Here's the real definition of being a runner.)
That being said, there are some interesting things that happen when running becomes a solid part of your routine. If you've witnessed just one (or all 13) of these sneaking their way into your life, welcome, friend. You're officially part of the running club-whether you it or not.
1. You've sacrificed at least one toenail to the running gods.
RIP, little piggies. Bye, open-toed shoes.
2. Your new religion is praying to the #ChurchoftheSundayLongRun.
Shit gets real spiritual once you hit those back-half miles.
3. You've stopped buying sneakers for how they look.
Oh, these clunkers? Yeah, they keep my feet really happy. (Good thing some of the best running shoes are actually cute.)
4. You've stopped thinking it's weird to pee outside.
The great outdoors is just one giant bathroom, after all.
5. You start putting “just” or “only” in front of your lower-mileage runs.
“I only ran three miles this morning before work.” Uh… remember six months ago when three miles made you want to die?!
6. You have an elaborate go-to watch/phone/headphone/belt setup.
Once you've found a gear Tetris that works, don't change a thing. (Try these wireless workout headphones to make your life a little bit easier.)
7. You have more of a sports bra + watch + sock tan line going on than a bikini tan line.
8. One of the reasons you get excited about vacation? New places to run.
So many new roads, paths, and trails, so little time!
9. Super-long races no longer seem utterly insane.
…Now they seem just the right amount of insane. (If you're still scared of the 26.2, don't worry. There are still plenty of reasons not to run a marathon.)
10. In fact, you've realized that the hardest part of running is just getting to the “high.”
After that, it's just zoning out on autopilot until you're done. (ICYMI, that runner's high is basically as strong as a drug.)
11. You've realized that an AM run might actually be even better than coffee at waking you up.
Thank goodness for endorphins.
12. You've realized that all your best ideas come to you during a good run.
Need inspo for your latest Instagram caption? Lace up.
13. The thought of not being able to go for a run makes you feel really, really horrible.
And restless. And depressed. And a worthless human being. (Which makes enjoying your rest days actually kinda hard.)
So, You Want to Be a Runner
At one time or another, most people have at least considered the idea of running as a fitness-enhancing pursuit. After all, it’s one of the most convenient and effective forms of cardiovascular exercise around. Plus, running is a pretty straightforward skill that most of us manage to master not long after we’ve learned to walk.
But being physically able to run is very different than “being a runner.” And looking at hardcore runners such as marathon world-record holders Paul Tergat and Paula Radcliffe can dissuade you from becoming a runner yourself. One look at those sinewy, fat-free bodies and you might feel excluded from the sport.
But you don’t need a marathoner’s physique to qualify as a runner. In fact, you don’t even need to run fast. Today, people of all shapes and sizes are lacing up and enjoying the journey at their own pace. Want to be a runner? Here’s how.
Make Running a Habit
This is somewhat obvious: You can’t be a runner if you don’t run. But, a lot of people, you may find running cumbersome at first.
You might be excited to get out the door, but after only a few minutes, your breathing gets heavy, your lungs burn, your legs feel tree trunks and you ask yourself, “This is fun?”
“Most people don’t fall in love with running instantly,” says Joe Henderson, a running coach, columnist and author of Run Right Now (Barnes & Noble, 2004), one of 27 running titles he’s authored. “If you’ve gone out a few times to give running a try but you’re just not having fun, have patience.”
The former Runner’s World editor says to give running time in more ways than one. First, let yourself ease into the activity. “We all were runners once, if only in childhood,” notes Henderson, “but it takes awhile to get that skill back. I advise runners to allow themselves at least three months for this break-in period.”
Also, give your individual running sessions adequate time. “Most people who find running distasteful don’t do enough of it. They stop before they get warmed up and into a rhythm,” Henderson says.
“I recommend going a half-hour from the start, even if it requires walking all the way. Gradually add brief stints of running, and then lengthen them until you’re running the full 30 minutes.
That’s about three miles, which I think of as the ‘addiction point.’ Once runners reach this level, they’re often hooked.”
Dan Finanger, the national running-club director for Life Time Fitness, recommends planning your running days and times in advance to instill a sense of commitment. “Schedule them meetings,” he advises.
Finanger, who oversees more than 35 running clubs with some 2,000 members, notes that running with other people can help strengthen your commitment to running and help you build your running repertoire (for more on that, read on).
Buy the Right Running Shoes
As a kid you probably chose sneakers color and design. But for an adult, buying proper running shoes is a bit more complicated, because having the wrong shoe will not only slow you down but also contribute to pain, even injuries. Where you buy your shoes is also important — a specialty running store will provide expertise that most chain stores can’t offer.
Dave Zimmer, co-owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Chicago, has a sign in his stores that says, “You can’t buy your running shoes by the color.” Employees there (all runners themselves) start by asking customers about their running history, current goals, any injuries or nagging problems, and the experiences they’ve had with other shoes.
“We create a dialogue to find out what they’re doing,” Zimmer says. “Next, we measure the foot length, width and arch length.” The shape of the foot also helps narrow down shoe options. Then comes a “test drive” on the sidewalk or a treadmill to analyze gait and foot strike. “By watching them run or walk, we can come up with the appropriate stability type for their needs.”
Jennifer Kimble, a runner in Dallas, used to buy her running shoes at a large chain store but now buys them from a running specialty store.
“I had always been intimidated by a ‘running store’ because I didn’t consider myself a runner. Now I realize that it makes all the difference in the world,” she says.
“I discovered I need a motion-control shoe to keep my foot from overpronating, which can lead to foot, leg and knee problems.”
A good pair of running shoes will set you back anywhere from $75 to $125 and should last about 500 miles — anywhere from three to six months, depending on how much you run. Aside from your being properly clothed for the elements, a good pair of running shoes is all you need, making running a relatively inexpensive sport.
Build a Running Repertoire
By varying your workouts, you can increase speed and endurance and enhance your running enjoyment. Finanger encourages his runners to incorporate three workouts into their week: a “challenge” workout, which could be a hilly course or speed work; a tempo run; and a long run. The basics are below. (Always include a 10- to 15-minute warm-up and cool-down.)
Fartlek: The funny name is a Swedish word meaning “speed play.” And that’s exactly what you do: Play with speed. Pick telephone poles, trees or street signs as mini finish lines. Pick up the pace until you hit one of these markers, then recover as long as you need to before hitting the gas again.
Tempo: Set aside the middle of your workout to run at a certain pace. Hold that pace — or tempo — for the duration. Tempo runs can vary in pace, from easy to moderate to hard.
Intervals: Choose a distance (say 400 meters) or time (two minutes) in which you want to run a certain pace, typically faster than you would run in a race. Recover before repeating a set amount of times. When you recover, either match your recovery time with your interval time or double it. Shorten your rest time as your conditioning improves.
Long, slow distance: the name says, run long and slow. The objective is to build endurance. A typical rule is to add 10 percent each week, so if you run 40 minutes one week, you would add four minutes the next week. You should be able to hold a conversation while you run, and you can allow yourself walking breaks as needed.
Sign Up for a Race
Racing might seem intimidating. But the majority of participants in most road races aren’t vying for the top finish; they’re racing against themselves and a clock.
A race is a good place to get a benchmark on your fitness level and your progress. Racing gives you a reason to run, a reason to build your capacity. It helps you get excited about running and to identify yourself as an athlete.
It also helps you get out the door on days when you don’t feel particularly motivated.
When Kimble ran her first race, her goal was just to finish. “I was excited to be able to run the whole race without stopping, and I finished in a pretty decent time,” she says. “I felt intimidated at first, but knowing how many others were out there with me was inspiring. It definitely left me longing for more.”
The best distance to try first is a 5K, recommends Henderson, noting that 5Ks are the most popular distance and are only a short step away from normal training. “Anyone who is already running two to three miles can handle 3.1 miles,” he says. “Once you’ve completed some 5Ks, I advise a natural progression of distances: to 8Ks and 10Ks, and then, if you , to half-marathons.”
Call Yourself a Runner
For some people, self-identifying as a runner is more difficult than logging the miles. Being a runner, however, has less to do with speed or fitness than it does with attitude.
It was that way for Kimble, who is delighted to have found her passion at age 30. After her second child was born, she took to running to lose weight.
She signed up for a running class at a local running store and joined the store’s group runs. “I didn’t consider myself a runner at all,” she remembers.
But she followed her training plan religiously, learned more about the sport, signed up for races and watched her confidence grow as her finish times went down.
“I remember when others used to ask me if I was a runner,” recalls Kimble, “and I would say, ‘Well, I’m not sure you could say that,’ but when you’re meeting friends at 5:30 a.m. three times a week, and each run is farther than the last, you begin to see yourself as a runner.”
The best way to comfortably adopt a runner identity is to be around other runners, and the best way to do that is to get involved with competitive events — even if you have no interest in being a real competitor.
Joe Henderson observes that most runners’ confidence peaks after finishing a race, and he shares the opinion of the late George Sheehan, one of running’s greatest wordsmiths, who said: “The difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry form.”
Competing in a race, Henderson says, will permanently change your mindset. “Once you enter a race and join the community of runners, you don’t jog anymore, whatever your pace might be.”
7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Hesitate to Call Yourself a Runner
“I’m not a runner because I run slow.”
“I’m not a runner because I don’t run races.”
“I’m not a runner because I only run a few miles per week.”
“I’m not a runner because I’ve never run a marathon.”
Do any of these phrases sound familiar to you? Maybe you’ve said them yourself before.
As a running coach, over the years I’ve noticed a lot of people are hesitant to call themselves runners— arbitrary standards that they set for themselves.
I would never tell someone they weren’t a runner just because they run a certain pace or don’t race, but runners tell me this too often.
Whenever a runner claims that they are not a “real runner,” I just want to throw my arms up and scream “yes you are! If you run, you are a runner.” And if you still don’t believe me, I’ve listed out seven signs to remind you that you are indeed a runner.
1. You Put in the Effort
Being a runner doesn’t depend on how many miles your run or what your pace is. You can race or never pin a bib to your shirt—either way, you are still a runner. There’s no qualifying standard for being a runner. What matters is that you want to run, you make the consistent effort to run, and that you perceive yourself as a runner.
2. You Work Through Challenges
I’ve been a runner for nine years now and defined myself as a runner since the start. But throughout my years of running, my running has changed with the ebbs and flow of life. No matter what—whether I’m running only a few miles a week or qualifying for the Boston Marathon—I AM A RUNNER.
3. Gaining Clarity is Just as Important to You as Improving
I started running for fitness and stress relief in college. For the first few years as a runner, I both outside and on the treadmill, three to five miles at a time for three to four days per week.
Running was part of my identity and I defined myself as a runner, even if others were running faster or farther than me. Why? Because the times and mileage that other people are running do not define you as a runner.
It’s each time that you go run that lets you say I AM A RUNNER.
4. Running Helps You Grow as a Person
During my senior year of college, running became more of a passion. I increased my mileage and starting doing more speed training (in retrospect, too much speed training and not enough easy running).
I began to pursue improvement in endurance and pace and did my first double-digit run. The desire for improvement shaped me as a runner, as I’m sure it has for many of you who say I AM A RUNNER as well.
5. You Learn to Embrace Adversity
I ran throughout graduate school, although I experienced plateaus in my running at this point. I saw my pace drop about a minute per mile, but I kept running. You won’t always be in your peak shape or constantly improving— that’s simply unrealistic—but it’s the determination to keep running no matter what life brings that lets you say I AM A RUNNER.
6. You Can’t Stop Wanting More
I ran my first race during my final semester of graduate school, a local 10K. I then ran my first half marathon within a few months.
I was quickly smitten with long distance running, and the following year I ran another half marathon and my first marathon. While racing isn’t required for being a runner, races show you your full potential as a runner.
Few things provide such a sense of accomplishment and make you want to shout I AM A RUNNER as crossing the finish line of a race.
7. There’s Nothing the Feeling of Accomplishment After a Great Run
This past year, I ran the marathon which years ago I believed to be beyond my abilities. I qualified for my first Boston Marathon at the 2016 California International Marathon. I was a runner well before this race—a BQ does not define a runner. But through the practice of believing that I AM A RUNNER, I cultivated the physical and mental strength to achieve my biggest goal so far.
Join Runkeeper and me in proclaiming that you are a runner with the I AM A RUNNER campaign and challenge—and see how running changes your life. Whether you are a new runner going your first mile or an experienced runner training for marathons, YOU ARE A RUNNER and should celebrate it.
Do You Call Yourself A Runner? –
Written exclusively for Freestyle Connection. Check out this latest project from my of my best friends and greatest influences, Carl Paoli.
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