Why is it that more than any other sport, the statement ‘I run’ is closely followed by ‘I’m not a runner though.’ Whether you’re a jogger, a walk-run-walker, a avid half marathoner or just a ‘waddling down the street’ kind of person, it is so common to undervalue this thing that takes courage and grit to do.
I have never met a person who plays tennis but insists they’re not a ‘tennis player.’ So why do we tell ourselves and others that we’re not part of this elite crew of runners when we log the same distances, wear the same shoes and love the sport just the same?
So how do we change the way we see ourselves when it comes to running?
You are, by definition, a runner. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, running is the action of a runner. Hear that? If you run, you are a runner. Now act like it. I don’t regularly take the Oxford English Dictionary as gospel, but in this case it doesn’t tell us that taking a break makes you any less of a runner. Walking, stopping for water, doing 5k instead of 8k does not make you any less of a runner!
Celebrate the fact that you can run
We are so privileged to have our health, our fitness, and the ability to move. Instead of talking yourself down, enjoy the fact that you’re able to lace up and move! You have the ability to take care of yourself in a way that so many aren’t able to, so get our there. Your friends and family will thank you for prioritising your health.
Be your own cheerleader
Imagine you were out jogging with a friend, and they keep being negative about themselves. What would you say to them? “You’re right, you’re going way slower than normal” or “at this rate we’ll never finish.” No, of course not! You would encourage your friend and tell them they’re a badass and you’re proud of them. Now why won’t you do the same with yourself?
Notice the milestones
There is much to say for completing a race, running further than you ever have or just getting a new best time. These are incredible achievements and I am not trying to undervalue them, but there is no harm in celebrating every little milestone too. Did you take a new route? Did you survive the hill you normally dread? See these little victories in a positive light.
You are not alone
It is so easy to compare yourself to other runners but they were once where you were! It’s okay to be a beginner. Similarly, you might feel like you’re giving 110% in your run and they’re only giving 70%, but we all have different fitness levels and thresholds. Even if their run is longer, they’re probably still struggling, fighting for breath and pushing themselves when all they want to do is stop.
To conclude, you are a runner. Say it with me! I sincerely hope that we, myself included, can change our mindsets to make running a more positive and enjoyable experience. Run with a friend, pop in a podcast and enjoy moving your body!