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What Type of Runner Are You?

May 7, 2014

I’ve been running since the start of this blog, over three years now, and like every runner, I went through various stages. Note, the below descriptions represent my opinions and are based solemnly on my experiences and observations.

Non-Runners

Some of us spend our entire lives completely content, never knowing the thrill of lacing up running shoes (take my mother for example). They cringe when someone mentions running “oh, I don’t run!” Others start running as toddlers and just never stop, but regardless of the type of runner we are today, we all start off as Non-Runners.

Hate Runners

At a certain point, something triggers one to try running – a friend, a family member, a trainer, a co-worker, some random person on the nearby treadmill, a large angry dog. In my case, it was my pre-wedding personal trainer who made me run a mile before each workout as a warmup. It burned! I hated it! There is a large number of people that dislike running after trying it a few times. I refer to them as Hate Runners.

Joggers

The initial discomforts of running are a great sieving mechanism and only a few hate runners will grow to embrace jogging. Joggers are easy to spot. For starters, they refer to themselves as joggers and use words like “going for a jog” or “I was jogging the other day.” They mostly stick to sidewalks to keep “safe”. They go at a leisurely pace, wearing general athletic clothing (or in some cases casual clothes like jeans, cargo shorts or golf shirts). They are like butterflies and can be seen more often on warm sunny days. 

Fitness Runners

As some joggers become more serious about fitness, they start increasing duration, frequency, and distance of their jogs. That leads them to experience running pains, so they are forced to stretch more, invest in better gear, and improve their form. Fitness runners will sign up for races as the means to push their competitive nature, test their fitness level, and add motivation. But at the root of it all, they view running as a great exercise to stay in shape and burn calories.

Endurance Runners

Once you catch the running bug, there is nothing that will hold you back. Endurance runners are out there in rain, sleet, hail, and frost. They focus on weekly mileage, average pace and cover longer and harder courses. They work on running form and preventing injuries. They incorporate hills, intervals and cross training. Most do half and full marathons to break the monotony of the weekly exercise routines and as a checkpoint for their running progress.

Emotional Runners

After awhile, running becomes more than a carb-loading excuse. It’s an escape. It’s a release. It brings inner peace and tranquility. The Runner’s High is addictive. Before getting pregnant, I spent a fair amount of time as an emotional runner. I’d run to get away from stress, from boredom, from fear, from anxiety, from frustration and anger. No matter how much I ran I wanted to run more. Emotional runners are an interesting group. They can spend years at this level without realizing why they are so driven to run so much and one day they will wake up and either stop running as they resolve their underlying issues or they fill the void with something else and running returns to being just a form of exercise.

Hardcore Runners

Only a few runners make it to this level. Hardcore runners have been running for years, decades actually. They have bins of race medals tucked away in their garages, basements, closets. They are not about showing off their achievements. For them, running is living.  Racing becomes a part of  a family routine. They have experienced victorious runs and DNFs. They need much bigger challenges than regular fulls, so they sign up for ultras, Iron Man, or complete 50 marathons to cover every state. I met a few of these seasoned runners, and their stories are a great inspiration.

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RunJaneRunBefore Noah, I worked my way up to an Endurance/Emotional Runner. I completed two full marathons and three halfs. But despite all the hard work and hundreds of miles covered, after a few months away from running, I had to start from ground zero. I turned into a Not Runner in my second and third trimester of pregnancy. On my first run postpartum, I was definitely a hate runner. A couple of months later, Noah and I were jogging around the neighborhood. This time around as I progress from each running level, I realize that fitness running fits my current lifestyle best. I no longer have the time to train for full marathons and go for 3hr long runs, nor do I have any emotional or physical need to do so. I run to be healthy, to feel the wind on my face, to hear the air escape my lungs at a steady rate. I like feeling my muscles burn, tense and strengthen with each step. I love spacing out to a good song while my feet hit the pavement in even strokes and I taste beads of sweat on my lips. Like a cup of morning joe, I need running for extra energy. It’s my time to think, to relax, to settle my mind, or at least to come up with blog content Winking smile. I run because how good I feel afterwards and how my legs look in shorts. But these days, I mostly run to hear a delightful giggle from the jogging stroller as we reach a slight downhill… Weeee!!!

 

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