The first time that someone asked me if I was a runner, I was speechless. I certainly didn’t consider myself a “runner”. And I definitely didn’t look like a runner. Dumbly, I looked back at the little lady tickling my toes while she painted them and just nodded. I mean, I try to run, I thought to myself. Then pondered on the realization… Maybe you don’t have to have a “runner’s body” to have a runner’s heart.
Before that day, I had never thought of myself as a “runner”. Sure, I would say that I was going “out for a run” but it never really seemed like something I would become. It wasn’t effortless. It never seemed natural. But I stuck with it because I wanted that.
I wanted running to be easier for me. I wanted my runs to look effortless like those pro-athletes did with their long strides and muscular legs. My attempts at running certainly didn’t look like theirs. My body didn’t either.
Everyone has their preconceived notions of what a runner should “look” like. Go ahead, think of some descriptive words that you would use to describe a “Runner’s Body”.
I’m guessing our lists are pretty similar:
- Long Legged
- Little to No Body Fat
- Sweaty –( but the glistening, elegant kind of sweaty…)
But you don’t have to FIT that stereotype to be a RUNNER!!!
There is a lot of anxiety and fear that comes from the idea that you have to be in perfect shape to run. I experienced fear of judgement every time I stepped onto the treadmill at our university gym.
There I was, an overweight female, surrounded by collegiate athletes (who were mostly male) to run on a treadmill for a few minutes. (And when I say a few minutes, it literally was a “few minutes” because I couldn’t run much longer than that at the time.)
In my head, I thought I was going to be the “running joke” at the gym.
I feared being judged. Being judged for:
- Running Slow.
- Not Being Able To Run Very Far or Long
- Breathing Too Heavily
- Not Making It Look Effortless
- Jiggling Too Much
- Not Being Good At Running
I feared that they would find any reason to laugh at me.
And do you know who laughed at me?
Absolutely no one.
There was no mockery, snickering, or disgusted looks. No snide comments or eye-rolling. Just other athletes, focused on their workouts and assisting others as needed. And that’s what a workout should be about — bettering yourself AND others.
Do NOT judge yourself against what other people can do. Try to beat what you have already done! Improve upon yourself and your abilities. This is the beginning to strengthening your Runner’s Heart.
What Makes Up A Runner’s Heart?
H – Honoring your commitment to yourself to keep coming back. Even if you had the worst possible run in the history of mankind. Lace up your shoes and getting back out there only strengthens your runner’s heart. (And let’s face it, if you already have had “the worst run of mankind” your next run should be better!)
E – Excitement about running in general. Ok, you don’t have to be excited for every. single. run. But it does mean that you need to have an overall positive spirit and mindset about running. With this type of attitude, your beliefs about running will begin to change. It’s no longer a punishment, instead, a privilege. Something you GET to do, rather than have to do. Who knows, maybe one day you too will start blogging about how much you like running… 😉
A – Aiming to constantly improve. A runner’s heart always strives to do better. Whether it’s running a 5K or a Marathon, having a runner’s heart means pushing to do better than the time before. Challenging yourself in your workouts and using different types of runs to help you make strides to where you want to be.
R – Reaching for the “Impossible”. Having a runner’s heart means believing in yourself and abilities. It means never saying that something is out of the realm of possibilities. I never thought that I would be capable of running a 10k let alone a half-marathon — And now I’ve signed up for two this year! Anything is possible with hard-work and dedication!
T – Training others along the way. That doesn’t mean that you have to be an expert runner or create training plans for other people to use. Instead, it is providing knowledge and insight of what you have learned on your own running journey. Sharing your struggles and triumphs. Celebrating a friend’s PR or cheering on someone during their first 5K adds another piece to the runner’s heart. We are all one part of this running community — we need to strengthen each other, even in competition.
So, you don’t have to have the perfect “runner’s body” in order to be a runner. If you have a runner’s heart, you’ve got everything you need! And if you don’t feel like you have a runner’s heart, just keep running! The heart, like any other muscles gets stronger with use. ♥♥
- What else do you believe makes up a runner’s heart?
- Have you always been a runner or are you late to the running game?
- Did you have any fears when you first started running?