To many, running as an activity, seems daunting. You see dogs (as in the picture above) who seem to make it looks so easy. And then you see people (who have likely been at it a very long time) also making it look easy. It can be great to watch- but also hard. If you do not consider yourself a runner you may think the idea of being a runner sounds wonderful but also unattainable. It may sound so difficult that it is difficult to even start the journey. I am here to tell you though, it is a journey and you and your body can do more than you might think you can.
Now this is not a post about the how to of starting out. I am not going to tell you about the simple truth that your body will adapt to the forces and loads you do or do not expose it to. If you have questions about how to mix running and walking to slowly increase your capacity to run longer distances there are plenty of resources available. There are great local and online coaches who can use high level technical language (much more appropriately and consistently than me) and there are also easy for beginner books and apps on the subject of “couch to 5K” plans and the like. No, this is where I want to tell you about starting.
“I’m not a runner.” is a phrase I hear just about every day. It means so many different things to different people who say it. It’s often thrown up as some sort of shield to protect against an attack that was never going to come from me. People attach a lot of significance to the phrase and although they do it for a number of different reasons I would like to focus on a narrower set. What I really want to say is to the new people who have really never run. It’s OK that you are “not a runner.” Don’t let that stop you. As soon as you start run, however, you are a runner.
The way we see ourselves does affect what we are willing to start. Beginning a running plan for the first time (and I do generally recommend getting a plan for most people) will be difficult. That is not wrong. But assuming that just because you have never “been a runner” in the past means you cannot become one now in the present is just not true. You do not have to look a certain way to be a runner. You do not have to run a marathon to be a runner. You do not have to compete in a race to be a runner either. You just have to go for a run- and those early runs may include a lot more walking than running- don’t worry about that. You can start. It does matter how you see yourself- and sometimes that is the hardest obstacle to becoming a runner. You can start a running journey. You can be a runner.