Since I started to make running a regular part of my routine, I’ve never shaken off the feeling that I’m not a runner. I’m actually an imposter. I’m not fast, I don’t have the chic running outfit or the high tech gear, and I don’t carb load before races (I just carb load because.. carbs). I see running clubs training alongside the Thames and see women skirt past me on London Bridge with ‘Marathon finisher’ emblazed on their t-shirt, and suddenly, I’m super self-conscious and very aware of my breath and oh my feet are getting really sore and do I need anything from Sainsburys? I’ll stop now..
Compared to my little jogs around my quiet neighbourhood back home back in Australia, running around London is intimidating. Despite no longer having the fear of running into a pack of kangaroos (yes that did happen once and it was great sprint training) I now seem to be having an identity crisis. Am I a runner? What constitutes being a runner?
Why is it even though I run a few times a week, I will always follow the question, ‘are you a runner?’ with a ‘yes’ and then a ‘but..’? I had my Runr mango jumper in my virtual shopping trolley for a week before I got the guts up to buy it because, well, can I buy a top with the word Runr on it? When can I confidently adopt that label? What exactly do I need to do to prove myself worthy of that title?
Well, maybe it’s not about how many shiny medals hang on your bedroom wall but about how many times you convinced a friend to tag along. Or, you could be worthy of that title once you manage to make it on time to a Parkrun after a night on the booze, or when you do your fastest split ever because you were rushing to get home before The Great British Bake Off started. This might not be how everyone does running, but this is how I do running.
I know my reluctance to take ownership of the runner label ultimately comes from comparing myself with others. Comparison is the thief of joy and perhaps if left unchecked, it will gradually rob me of my motivation to tie up my laces. In the end, we all do running differently and you have to tell yourself, actually…there is no right or wrong. I am a runner but I’m not signing up for marathons and I can’t motivate myself to run before work no matter how many times I sleep in my running gear. It’s a hobby - it’s not my life- but it’s a label I will wear!
Well, we know the answer - you most certainly are a runner Monet!
We imagine that this is a feeling many other runners feel, but it's not about the distance you run or the speed you run, it's the fact that you lace up and go out for a run, regardless of distance or speed, that makes each of you a runner.
Thanks to Monet for sharing her running story and we'd love to hear from you if you want to share how your running is going at the moment. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could feature next.