Some people seem to think that you need to run miles on top of miles, calculate all of your splits, have massive calf muscles and have the most up-to-date running gear to be a runner. Of course all of that is great to have on your running resumé, but that’s not what makes you a runner. These may help you in becoming a better/more efficient runner, but no that’s not what defines you as a runner. Here are some major lessons in life that I’ve learned about running over the years that can debunk the stereotypical “I’m not a runner” thought process.
Mind Over Matter
Your mind is an amazing machine, but sometimes it can lead you away from achieving something as equally amazing. One thing that always gets me through tough workouts is knowing that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. Going into your workout, try not to think of the distance, time, or pain, but instead think about finishing and how you’ll feel after your done. It’s a great feeling knowing that you’ve set out to accomplish your goal. Of course your body will thank you later after you push your limits, but when you think about it though, would you know what your limits were if you didn’t challenge them? If you can only run 2 blocks without gasping for air, would you consider testing yourself and go another block? What about another 3 blocks? Running is about 75% mental while the rest is physical. You just have to realize that you can do it; the only person stopping you, is you.
Putting aside any health benefits of working out (which there are numerous), there is something to be said about having a love for a sport. This one factor alone is what drives most of us to keep going and to become stronger and faster. I belive this is a key element to being an athlete. Whether you started to lose weight, get into shape, or be more social, you’ve become goal driven. You’re striving to create a better version of yourself. Don’t lose sight of why you started because in some ways, it will make you want to just keep going.
I know there are some who think that change happens magically over night, but unless you have magical powers, it doesn’t. You have to continuously work hard to see any type of results. Patience and time are some of your first hurdles, but being consistent in a way creates changes that tend to lead to unimaginable levels of performance. If you stick with it on a regular basis, it will pay off. When goals feel distant or unattainable, that’s when you have to realize, you can do it. If you keep up your strong work ethic and keep trucking along you can achieve anything.
In the end, not everyone who runs a mile, 5k, marathon, even an ultra marathon considers themselves a “runner.” I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t matter if you’re fast or slow, big or small, male or female…. if you run, you’re a runner. Plain and simple.
So what makes a runner??
One step at a time, one mile at a time.