Thursday, June 7, 2018

5 "True Runner" Falsehoods


Calling oneself a "true runner,"often times, is not immediate.

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.

True runners are fast (and are constantly winning races).
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.

True runners have all run Boston, or want to BQ at the very least.
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.

True runners have every tech gadget available, and use them for every run.
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.

A true runner will love every run they do, and finish feeling like a champion.
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.

So, those are five "true runner" falsehoods that I used to believe were absolute truths. Some of them were easier to figure out than others. Isn't it great to have a sport such as this, where we can prove all those myths wrong?

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?

  I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0. 

35 comments:

  1. Maybe I was an arrogant/confident child but I always considered myself a runner. I think some people tend to overthink this and in some cases use parameters to hold others down. If you run, you're a runner. Period.

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    1. I agree...if you run, you're a runner.A lot of these "myths" were things I got asked a lot after I first started running...and some of them made me doubt my status as a runner for awhile.

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  2. There's also the preconceived notion of what a runner looks like!

    True runners definitely don't have all the gadgets. Although, what does that make me then, LOL?

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    1. I totally didn't think of what a "runner" looks like, but you are so correct!

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  3. I think sometimes people think "real runners" talk about running alllllllll the time. Their life revolves around running and all things running. My life would be so boring if everything I did had to do with running!

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    1. I agree...as much as I love running, I respect that not all of my non-runner friends want to hear about it in great detail LOL And, I do have a life outside of my running shoes.

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  4. Interesting! Thanks for sharing! I'm so not a runner at all and don't know much about running so I never really assumed any of these about runners. it is interesting the assumptions we make about certain fitness activities.

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    1. Like anything, assumptions usually come from lack of knowledge or understanding. When I first started running, I was a bit intimidated by all of the "true runners" who had so much more experience than I did.

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  5. I agree, if you run you are a runner. And I think that with a few exceptions, runners who run everyday are called injured runners.

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    1. ha! I totally agree...many of them are injured runners or "over-trainer-wannabes" (in my ever so humble opinion) ;-)

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  6. I definitely do not finish every run feeling like a champ or run everyday. I have no illusions about running Boston but yup still think I am a runner too :)

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    1. You are a kick-azz runner (who also is a tri-chick!)

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  7. I struggled with this for a while too. I don't eat, breath, and live, for running or have any grandiose plans to run big races. However, I DO have the magnets that say 13.1 and 26.2 so that makes me "officially" a runner, right?....haha -M

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    1. You earned those magnets, so YES, you are a runner ;-)

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  8. It can definitely be intimidating to start this whole running thing. I do still feel self-conscious about my slower times, but adapting to what my body (or knee!) can do. The only thing that matters is getting out there and enjoying yourself.

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    1. SO true! It took me a long time to accept that every runner has to respect their own goals and not be obsessed with the goals of others

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  9. I love this! I really struggled to see myself as a runner for a long time. I think the most annoying thing for me now is when people think I don't "look" like a runner. Just yesterday someone gasped at the fact that I run, and I thought to myself, "Surely, it's not that shocking" LOL!!!

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    1. I have a very non-athletic background (and am horribly klutzy!), so becoming a runner was a great experience for me once I got past the fake-it-til-I-make-it mentality

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  10. I've been a runner for over 20 years now. I don't have a garmin (though I'm considering getting one), I've never won a race besides an age group race, I've never BQed and I don't love every run. I agree with you on all of these. And I think we get down on ourselves a lot when we see other people doing those things and think we must be behind or not true runners because we don't.

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    1. You said it perfectly. I think we see all the elites on tv and in the media, and it's easy to compare ourselves to them...but most of us aren't training for the Olympics or have a personal coach, chef, and sports doc at our beck and call.

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  11. I totally thought a lot of these myths! Now I know better

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    1. ha ha! These all are myths I believed until I actually became a runner myself. And even then, it took me awhile to figure out I had to do this running thing MY way and not be a clone of someone else

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  12. I guess because I'm a lifelong runner, I never knew any of these myths. Maybe this is stuff non-runners think? I think if you run, you're a runner.

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    1. Well, I was a non-runner for the greater part of my life, so these are some myths I believed to be true until I knew better. Funny thing is, I still get questions from some non-runner folk about them (who assume I've run Boston or that I'd run a race knowing full well I wouldn't have a chance of winning it LOL).

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  13. I've never considered myself a runner, but by this list, I could definitely be considered one! :P

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    1. If you've ever run, you certainly have running experience!

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  14. SO TRUE. I have no desire to BQ. Ever. I love racing but marathon racing just isn't my thing.

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    1. We're in total agreement on the BQ thing. Well, I'd like to maybe BQ, but I don't want it bad enough to invest in all the training it would require of me. And, I really don't want to spend 26.2 miles focused on my watch/pace/splits...I want to experience more than just my own body mechanics LOL

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  15. I definitely struggled with calling myself a "real runner" when I first started running, but I learned pretty quickly to let it go - if you run, you're a runner!

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    1. I agree! Being a runner is not about winning races or running faster than others ;-)

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  16. such a great post Kim! I used to think I wasn't a true runner until I could run without stopping. So every time I would have to take walk breaks I knew I wasn't really a runner. One day I ran 17KM (my longest at that point) and while I did take breaks (there was a HUGE rain storm in between so I hid under a viaduct) it was actually at the end of the run (that took me two hours) where I thought OH MY GOD I AM A REAL RUNNER. There have been times that I have wavered on this fact - because I"m not fast and I have no interest in trying to BQ (so yes these were also "truths" for me) and because I have felt judged by others or not included because I wasn't "good enough", but I know now, at least most of the time, that none of these truths are true... you run? you are a runner.

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    1. We certainly are on the same page with this ;-) With no athletic background, it was really hard to see myself as a "runner" because I still felt like the klutzy, awkward kid in gym class. I'm glad I finally figured things out ;-)

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  17. I agree with everything you've said here. I consider myself a runner but I don't run everyday. Also I'm a slow runner, but again - I AM a runner. Thanks for these great words. Very motivating.

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  18. I'm with you on every single one of these. Runners come from all walks of life and are of all different abilities. That's the bottom line.

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  19. I love this, and it's part of why I love/hate the internet running fora. Some are truly wonderful and others devolve into a mess of "if you don't X then you're not a runner". Daily runs seem to be atop that weed out criteria. Why people feel the need to tear others down is just sad

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