Over the past decade I've trained for and completed three half marathons but I still feel uncomfortable calling myself a runner. I want to identify as a runner partially because I love the sport but also because runners are generally lean and athletic looking and I want to look like that. I have run several half marathons over the past few years but even while I'm in the middle of those races I still don't feel like I can get away with calling myself a runner and it's mostly because I don't fit a runner's mold that I've defined.
When I think of what a runner looks like, this is the image that comes to mind:
However, here is what I look like when I'm done running:
Real runners don't get bright red after a short jog!
But running has been one of my just keep swimming goals for years now. So, I decided to start a 30 day running and strength training program because if I complete a running program then I'm a runner, right?
I'm about two weeks into it now and I think I'm finally finding the mental strength to call myself a runner even though my body hasn't changed much in just a week. I also have decided that if I run, I'm a runner and that's it. That's how I'm going to define being a runner. It's not related to a certain weight or if I can flex to show off muscles. It's based off a mentality that I want to run and I do. Period.
Now, I wouldn't go calling myself a doctor without the right degree and boards but I do think there are certain titles that we can use on ourselves even if nobody else would agree with us. Calling myself a runner makes me think, "I'm a runner so I need to get out and run today." It inspires me. I like it. It motivates me. I'm going to keep doing it.
What titles do you want to give yourself that you feel like you can't until you reach some magical threshold? A healthy eater? A gym rat? A yogi? Just food for thought.
Just keep swimming towards your goals.