I see you, shuffling along the sidewalk.
I see you, seamlessly shifting between running and walking to 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 that you 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 or compression 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.
6 Reasons to Call Yourself a Runner
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.
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 like 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.