Are You Really a Runner?

Meditations in Motion

I have seen the debates on social media and running websites: what minimum level of fitness must be achieved in order to formally consider yourself a runner? Some believe that you have to race or maintain a certain pace to be considered a runner. Some believe it depends on the length of time you have been running. Others agree with Merriam-Webster and maintain that if you “go steadily by springing steps so that both feet leave the ground for an instant in each step“, you are a runner.

I humbly present my own test. If you answer “yes” to the items listed below, you may officially consider yourself “a runner“.

Meditations in Motion

  • Have you ever bragged to your friends about your healthy diet? You espouse a low-fat, vegan, gluten-free wellness plan, but during a race, do you put all kinds of chemical crap in your pie hole? You call it “calorie replacement” when you ingest substances with names like “gu”, “gel”, and “chews”, concoctions of dubious textures and brilliant artificial colors, many of which contain caffeine, and are not actually even food.

Meditations in Motion

  • Would you never be caught dead wearing the race shirt for the race you are currently running? (True story: I once motivated my son to run faster at the end of the race by telling him “Come on, we are not letting a man with the race shirt from this race beat us!”)



  • Do you know what the acronyms ITBS, LSD, DNS, DNF, BQ, PR (or PB for Brits) mean? (Look them up if you don’t.)

Meditation in Motion

  • At social events, do acquaintances who have run out of things to say make small talk with you by asking about your training and/or race schedule? This has the potential to keep the conversation going for hours.

Meditations in Motion

  • Do you obsessively check the weather to see how it will affect your upcoming run? Have you run even though it is raining/sleeting/hailing/gale force winds? A former student who was on the track and cross country teams once asked me suspiciously, “you are not a fair weather runner, are you?”

Meditations in Motion

  • If you are a man, have you ever put Band Aids on your nipples? A real runner understands why.

Meditations in Motion

  • Have you ever peed, um, outside? Maybe behind a tree, bush, or even a really large dandelion? After mile five in a long race, all societal norms break down. I have seen lots of men (and some women) who have pulled over to the side of the road for a potty break without the potty.

Meditations in Motion

  • Do you have more running shoes than regular shoes? And do you want to buy more running shoes? This is a picture of part of my husband’s running shoe collection.

Meditations in Motion

  • Have you planned a vacation destination based on the availability of good running venues? I get Pittsburgh, PA and Denver, CO mixed up sometimes, even though they have completely different geography, because they both boast awesome paved paths to run on next to a river that flows through downtown. Both of these destinations are therefore acceptable for vacations.

Meditations in Motion

  • Did you ever discuss “fartleking” with another runner without giggling?

Only a true runner would answer “yes“!

I am linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness. If you like running and fitness blogs, check them out here!

Friday 5

I am joining Running on Happy, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs  for the Coaches’ Corner linkup!

I am also linking up with Nicole and Annmarie for Wild Workout Wednesday.coaches cornerWild Wed


  1. Truth.

    The first race of my 2018 season is now 14 days away (what this really means is, to my delight it is officially on the weather forecast, finally!).

    My race partner now recognizes this as the window where she receives screen shots of The Weather Network every other day from now until race day.

    Today: 18 degrees Celsius and partly cloudy. A runners dream!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love it! So true. I do not get much caffeine, but caffeine works for me in races so I have these caffeinated m&m type things I take before races. 🙂

    And basically all my vacations are racecations.

    Yet I am still way BOTP for many races . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really depends on your size and gait. I recommend that you go to a local running store and talk to an employee who knows what they are doing. I use Nike Pegasus, and have worn them for years!


  3. I can definitely relate to so many of these! People I don’t see often are always asking about my running. And all the acronyms! Sometimes I forget that most people don’t know what they mean!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, the race shirt thing is a pet peeve of mine. When I started playing soccer, my dad said players don’t practice wearing their jerseys. That’s stuck, and made its way over to the race shirt. I keep it tucked away until after the race. Plus, I haven’t trained in it, and some of my race shirts are in a pile because they chafe!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this. It really made me laugh, but it’s also a really serious thing.. why do we feel like that?! I didn’t feel like a “real runner” for ages. But we’ve had some amazing women’s sports campaigns in the uk – I don’t know if you have similar over there. It feels like there has been a huge surge of confidence from women to get out there, and get active, we all have incredible bodies and we can all do amazing things. #thisgirlcan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I did the post half in jest. Girls especially need encouragement to be active. We have a program to get girls running called “Girls on the Run”. Young girls are paired up with a mentor, and given positive body image lessons along with running outings. At the end of each season, they run a 5k together. It’s an awesome organization.


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