A friend of mine mentioned the other day that she has a hard time convincing people who run, that they are runners. As a runner myself, I find it really hard to imagine that someone would want to be in denial that they are so bad ass! But seriously, this is a topic I have touched upon before and one that tends to pop up frequently.
I can certainly understand why you wouldn’t want to be defined as the latter. But according to the good old dictionary, the only thing you need to do to be a runner, is simply run.
While we runners are often pretty damn proud to be a part of this little club, there really isn’t much you need to do to make the cut. There are no rules about how fast you need to go, nor is there anything that dictates how far you must run.
Truth be told, there is a very large portion of runners who specifically follow run/walk plans. Many of the full and half marathoners I have worked with use run/walk their entire races.
That definition of a runner never mentions a particular pace you must hold. So please, stop apologizing for your pace. No more, “I run but I only do a X-minute mile.” If you run, you are a runner! If you run and walk, you are still a runner!
You will not find a definition of running that dictates how far you must go. Indeed, if you would like to call yourself a marathoner you will need to run 26.2 consecutive miles. But if you like to throw on your shoes when you get home and run a few blocks around your neighborhood, then you are a runner!
One thing I think you will find as you continue running is that the people who comprise our sport, are pretty spectacular. We are a nerdy bunch who love to see other dorks join our team. We know that this isn’t always easy, and we appreciate anyone who is willing to lace up and push through the sweat, snot, and occasional blisters or missing toe nails.
Just like with anything else in life, you will find a snobby runner or two. There will be the trail runner who turns their nose at those of us who pound the pavement. You might meet the speedy marathoner who claims anything over 6 hours doesn’t count. By the way, this article in the NY Times still burns me up; especially the last line.
As a coach, I have worked with hundreds of runners. Some are speedy and some go at a much slower pace. Some runners have a shorter training route, while others will see 22 mile training runs. One thing I know for sure, is that the struggle is real. The passion is real. And the running is real.
So please, stop apologizing about your pace. Don’t shrug off your runs. Nod, smile, and proudly proclaim that you are a runner!