In my last post (On being a ‘real’ runner – Part 1) I questioned the things that ‘real’ runners seem to need to achieve before they can call themselves ‘real’ runners and wrote that I believe anyone who runs is a ‘real’ runner.
As I wrote that first post I realised that it is easier said than done, to call myself a ‘real’ runner just because I run. And I think that everyone who runs has some kind of goal or achievement in their own mind that, when reached, will enable them to finally call themselves a ‘real’ runner.
If that’s the case, may I humbly suggest the following advice?:
1. Don’t let anyone tell you what makes you a ‘real’ runner. Not even me! YOU decide what makes you a ‘real’ runner. You are running for YOU, not everyone else. Don’t compare yourself to others either. Take encouragement from seeing others reach their own goals, it’s proof that anything is possible and achievable!
2. Once you decide what achievement will make you a ‘real’ runner, GO FOR IT!! If getting a race medal, or reaching a certain pace, or running a marathon is what you feel would make you a ‘real’ runner, then DO IT! Train hard (but safely!), push yourself and never forget your goal. Above all, enjoy the experience, and sooner or later you WILL reach that goal! (This is when you should listen to other people who are telling you YOU CAN DO IT!)
3. This isn’t to say you won’t have frustrating runs, or bad days where you feel like giving up. I think we’ve all had those but the point is to own those times too. You can’t chase the tiger out of your house if you don’t acknowledge he’s there in the first place! Take the bad with the good and learn from both. Maybe you didn’t finish a run in the time you wanted, or you didn’t go the distance you had planned or your pace was all over the place. These things will get you down, but they won’t keep you down.
4. Be prepared to accept that you ARE a ‘real’ runner! In other words, don’t move the goalposts!! Once you win that medal or hit that pace or cross that marathon finishing line, OWN IT! It’s your achievement. YOU did this, no one did it for you! Don’t downplay your achievement and talk yourself out of what you have accomplished. Celebrate what you’ve done!
Do you feel like a ‘real’ runner? What did it take? Or do you still have an achievement to reach before you feel you can call yourself a ‘real’ runner? Let me know in the comments below!