There are ‘runners’ and there are ‘Runners.’ Being a Runner (capital R) is not about racing or speed, but a matter of mindset and attitude. There are a few times in your running life when you can confidently say, ‘I’m a Runner.’
Runner v. Jogger
I recently came across an article talking about the differences between being a ‘jogger’ and being a ‘runner.’ This article annoyed me to no end. I thought most of the people they interviewed were pretty elitist. They often pointed to specific time metrics: ‘you are a runner if you qualify for Boston,’ ‘You are a runner if you run 8:00-minute miles’ (I found that one unusually specific), or ‘you are only a real runner if you race.’
That last one opens up an entirely different question: is there a difference between ‘registering for an event’ and ‘racing’ but I’ll leave that for another day. Based on the tone of the article I’m sure they wouldn’t consider most of my middle-of-the-pack finishes as ‘racing,’ but that’s not my point.
The Real Question
I’ve written about this before. I think you are a runner if you think you are a runner.
If you care enough to even ask the question about if you are a jogger or a runner, you are probably a runner. Jogging is something you do to warm up before you do something else. If you put on shoes and move your feet in a vaguely running manner, you are a runner. Training for a race doesn’t make you a runner, Going a certain pace does not make you a runner.
If you put on shoes and move your feet in a vaguely running manner, you are a runner. Training for a race doesn’t make you a runner, Going a certain pace does not make you a runner.
The better question is: are you are a ‘runner’ (little r) or a ‘Runner’ (capital R)?
Being a Runner has nothing to do with speed. It has nothing to do with registering for an event.
Being a Runner is all about the intangibles.
Times You Know You Are A Runner
You Use The Words ‘Only’ and ‘6 Miles’ In The Same Sentence
This can be expanded to ‘only’ and any distance – the specific distance can vary based on your experience. New Runners may consider 3 miles their ‘only’ distance. I have found myself saying before doing a half marathon – ‘It’s only a half.’
You are a Runner when running any distance (whatever that distance is for you) is no big deal.
You Have No Fear Of Porta-Potties
Mere mortals shudder at the idea of having to use a porta-potty. Runners (little r) know that it may be necessary but will do whatever they can to avoid it.
But Runners (capital R)? Runners will not hesitate when a porta-potty appears.
Need to go? Jump in line, Breathe through your mouth and go.
If you don’t think twice about using a porta-potty, you are a Runner.
Your Expensive Shoes And Jewelry Are Running Shoes And A GPS Watch
I hate shopping. My jewelry is usually cheap stuff and my shoes are comfortable and practical.
But when I am in the market for a new GPS watch, I will not hesitate to drop $400 on a new Garmin. Do I need the heart rate monitor? I don’t know, but what’s an extra $50?
Do I need a new pair of running shoes? Why buy one pair when you can buy two pairs!
If the value of your wardrobe and jewelry skews towards running gear, you are a Runner.
Conversations with running partners are amazing things. When doing long runs, you have 2-3+ hours with each other.
I’ve generally not known my running partners out of the running context. I barely recognize them in photos on Facebook.
But get an hour or two into a long run, and we are discussing our deep, dark, personal dramas that I wouldn’t mention to my best friend. Then we discuss strategies to manage chafing in very personal and delicate areas.
If you’ll discuss anything with your running partners, you are a Runner.
You Can Do Mile/Kilometer Conversions Easily
Like many Americans, I’m terrible at Metric to Imperial conversions. Celsius to Fahrenheit? No idea. Grams to Pounds? Beats me.
But Kilometers to miles? That one I can do every time.
Runners can always do that equation because 5K and 10K race distances are so ingrained into our heads.
If you can figure out a mile to kilometer conversion by mixing and matching race distances, you are a Runner.
You Judge Distance By If It’s Runnable
Imagine this: you are driving down the highway and see a sign listing the distance to your exit. It says your exit is 4 miles away.
Did you immediately think: ‘Hey, I can run that’?
If you did, you are a Runner.