The Phrase: “I Am Not A Runner”

Runner DefFor the past few 6 years, some staff members here at have taught a class called Couch to 5K. The class is geared for the novice runner including many participants who had little or (often) no running experience whatsoever. The participant’s goal was to train for and participate in a 5k race by starting out slowly and progressing the distance over time. The class met twice a week and participants were given a running “homework assignment” to be completed each weekend. It was a true pleasure to teach the class and it converted so many rookies into experienced runners who would usually enjoy the sport for the rest of their lives.

Inevitable, when folks registered for the class or within the first few sessions, nearly everyone uttered the same self-deprecating sentiments “I am not a runner”. The phrase always makes us shake our heads, when we hear it. We hear it far too often. Even the veteran, more-seasoned runner has been known to frequently utter phrases such as “I am not a runner” or worse “I am not a real runner”.

We at could not disagree with these statements more. Frankly, we HATE when folks say “I am not a runner” or “I am not a real runner”. We embrace the recreational runner here. We applaud the slow poke. Heck, we ourselves ARE the slow poke. Frankly, we love the plodder who triumphantly grinds out a 5k in 35 minutes or the out-of-shape newbie who sets a modest distance as their goal and eventually accomplishes it.

We hear these sentiments all the time and it drives us absolutely crazy. You are all being way too hard on yourselves. You are a runner! You grind it out. You work hard. You sweat, you blister, you ache, you persevere…therefore you ARE a runner, a real runner. You are absolutely the same as Meb Keflezighi or the Kenyan marathoners…driven and focused; you just aren’t as fast as them.

Lesson learned…if you get out there and hit the pavement, you 100% are in fact a runner. If you have a goal and are trying your heart out to accomplish it, you are a runner. Whether you are slowly training for a 5k race in your community or you simply jog around your block in trying to lose 5 pounds, you should be considering yourself a “Real Runner”.

Still not convinced? OK we will defer to a more definitive resource, the dictionary. Our friends at Merriam-Webster sum it up more directly. A Runner is defined as “someone who runs”.

So in closing, quit being so hard on yourself. You are a REAL runner and that makes you pure awesome. Got it? Now, GO RUN!

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Charlie Hoffmann

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