Sunday, September 12, 2010

When are you "a runner"?

What makes a runner a runner?

A watch that does splits?
A calendar of races?
Compression socks?
Knowing your 10k time?
Runners clothing?
An ipod with a running mix on cue?
Someone who uses the word tempo?
Running specific shoes?
Belonging to a club?
Training on a track and recording your splits?
Having plantar fasciitis or Ilio-tibial band friction syndrome?
Owning a foam roller?
Keeping a running log?
Meeting with a weekly training group?

When are you a runner?

When I asked the question, "when are you a runner?" to friends this morning they immediately began to differentiate between a runner and jogger. So what's a jogger? When I think of joggers I think of someone a bit overweight, perhaps wearing sweats, and maybe even a headband and a Walkman. YES! A Walkman. Isn't the term jogger an eighties term? Maybe the jogger is a person who casually runs for weight control, doesn't purchase running specific clothing, and is not at all interested in getting better or competing?

That makes sense and sounds great, but does that mean that a runner is a person who is one who seeks to improve and has running related goals - likely races? That would make sense, but what about those who love to run with no goals for improvement and they run 5 or 6 times a week? Are these runners? I think they are if they run this much, but how is that not a jogger?

Having had several injuries over the past few weeks and being off my feet, I have had the opportunity to think about this. A runner I believe, takes on running as part of their lifestyle. They dress the part, build it into their daily routine and often have running related goals on their mind. I'm not certain it's problematic or not, but not being able to run has left me feeling like something is missing from my days. I miss running a lot. It's not just that it's missing, it's that I realize a deep seeded fear that I am losing fitness in not being out there. Is that what it is? Being scared of getting slower? So my friends are correct. It's having goals and seeking to get better - be that running faster or farther.

I think of myself as a runner, but I don't know why. I suppose it's just another label that goes along with teacher, father, son, brother, skier, and, dare I say it, "husband". Do these titles matter? No. But I still wonder, "when are you a runner?"

I'd love to hear your comments. Do you think you're a runner? Why?


  1. Matt Curry posted on Twitter, and I love it. "If you worry that others think you're a jogger...then you're a runner".

    Does that mean joggers are lesser people? It seems like a derogatory comment, but I get it.

  2. I think my high school coach had it right. When asked by another teacher if the team was going out for a "jog" he would reply "jogging is what you do in between intervals, we're going running". That pretty much sums it up for me :)

  3. I don't know who you are, but I think we had the same coach. Love those guys.

    Thanks for the comment.

  4. **Pause** Did you get engaged?? **unpause**

    I love what matt curry wrote - I worry/don't like being called a jogger but I wear a I'm confused.

    I run to be. It helps me clear my mind, makes me smile, bring me together with fantastic people, lets me discover fabulous places that others don't see, is one of my favorite parts about traveling... runners love running and become addicted to everything about it!

    Not sure where that leaves joggers but I'm happy they are out there being active and not watching TV ;)

  5. 'runner' just a label to describe a certain part of your day... i jog when i need to be somewhere or when i have a coffee in hand (which i often do), i run when i need to be somewhere much faster then i would be if i were to jog :)