The best part about running as a recreational sport is that it is inclusive. That probably explains its popularity the world over. Anybody can run, it’s that simple. And the more runners I meet, I realise how therapeutic it is and how it forces you to take note of yourself. For me, it was as if I connected with myself for the first time when I started running. Even pregnancy had failed to do that for me. However, nowadays it also comes with a lot of noise and commotion. There is pressure of what races are you signing up for, your finish time, how much you are running in a week etc. It feels good initially as a new runner but slowly the pressure builds up. Of course, it’s great if you want to improve continuously and important to strength train to remain injury free but it’s not ok to constantly compare yourself with others.
The guidelines for being a runner are different for each person and there are no “shoulds” for anyone. And maybe a healthy reminder that you are still a runner even if –
1) You don’t post your runs on social media. You don’t feel the need to be validated or to motivate others or you are just plain lazy about it. It doesn’t make you any less of a runner.
2) Being a middle pack or back pack runner even if it’s for years, doesn’t make you any less.
3) You don’t have to belong to any running group to be runner. You can do your own thing and still be happy.
4) You are taking a break from running because of an injury, your kid’s exams, tough work hours or just because you don’t feel like it right now.
5) You are not participating in any running events. You don’t have to qualify or quantify your running. Doing a half or full marathon doesn’t make someone a better runner than a person who sticks to middle distances.
6) You don’t “look like a runner”. There’s nothing called a runner’s body, when you are running recreationally.
7) You run without GPS and fancy dri fits. Running in old cotton tees is just fine. I can’t say that about running shoes and sports bra unfortunately.
I know this list can be longer, do comment if you want me to add something to it.