Having not grown up with a running background, I had a lot of preconceived ideas on what "true runners" were all about. Most (if not all) of these notions became apparent when I started running myself. It took me awhile (and several miles, blisters, and expensive pairs of shoes) before I considered myself a "true runner" and not a poser.
I had to get past many of the stereotypes and see for myself what really constitutes a "true runner." Thankfully, I have seen the light, but there still are a lot of naive people (non-runners AND new runners) who could benefit from a little bit of intel.
Hence, here are five myths as to what constitutes a "true runner," and all of them are false.
True runners have to run everyday.
Ummmm, no. Granted, some runners joyfully run everyday, but there are many who do not (myself included). A lot of this comes down to genetics, personality, and available time. Some runners are more prone to injury than others, and do much more harm than good by racking up the daily miles. Others choose to cross-train on non-running days. And, some simply have other obligations that limit how much time they can spend running.
Ha! Not exactly. Think about it...every race has but one actual winner. Yes, there are male and female champions (as well as age group placings), but ultimately only one runner can cross the finish line first. That does not make all the other runners "losers," though. Eventually, we all learn that speed is relative, and that winning an age group award is (many times) contingent on who else shows up in one's division. Pinning on a race bib, running the race (even with walk breaks), and crossing the finish line...they all have merit.
Again, false! Granted, most people who run (and lots of people who don't) have heard of the Boston Marathon. While many runners may dream of toeing the start line in Hopkinton, getting there is no easy feat. Even with a BQ (Boston Qualifying time, which needs to be earned at a previous marathon and then verified before registering), there's no guarantee that will get you into the race itself...as if training for and running 26.2 miles isn't tough enough! Many runners are quite grateful just for the ability to run (whether they've done an actual marathon or not), and don't wish to go any further with their running endeavors. Myself, I would need to knock 33 minutes off of my current marathon PR (Personal Record). Doing the math, that's more than a minute faster for each of those 26.2 miles. I'm not really sure I'd want to be a slave to my training to make that happen.
Doubtful. There are many running and training accessories available these days, but that doesn't mean every runner has (or needs) all of them. There are fancy watches, heart rate monitors, wireless headphones...some are inexpensive and easy to navigate, some are pricey and complex. Some can give you current stats on your pace, and some will allow you to upload your information to share (or scrutinize) with the world. It all comes down to a matter of individual preference as to how much you want to invest, how often you actually use the gadgets, and whether or not the information has any value to you.
This is probably the biggest falsehood out there. I can only speak from my personal experience on this, but not every run (or race) has been enjoyable for me (I know, shocker!). Granted, in the 13 years I've been lacing up and hitting the streets, I have had far more favorable experiences than bad. There are runs where my feet barely hit the ground, my legs move with little effort, and my "fast" pace feels easier than I remember. Then, there are runs where the wind is in my face (no matter which direction I turn), my breathing is labored, and nothing about this "thing" called running feels right. Thankfully, every run or race (good or bad) is a gift, and if I can appreciate the good and learn from the bad, then my time spent in the running shoes is well spent.
Talk to me...Have you ever thought any of these "true runner" myths to be true? Any other pre-conceived assumptions about runners that you've proven wrong?