Fake or Real runner?

I sometimes feel like a fake runner. It would not surprise me if I wandered onto letsrun.com and someone started a whole thread on me not being a “real” runner not that I have falsified results or cheated during races. I find myself speaking in past tense about my running like “I ran in college” or “I ran a marathon” not “I’m training for a half marathon”. It is just that when I look in the mirror, I don’t see my runner self. This all sounds so terribly depressing.

I get frustrated with these thoughts. Every women can be a runner as along as you run. I think these negative thoughts come from some self imposed rules I had about being a “real runner”.

First, I believed if you didn’t run six days a week you, you weren’t a “real runner”. Often, I would get seven. Now, I am lucky to get five and it makes me feel like my training isn’t serious.

Second, racing is important. In college and high school, I raced almost every weekend (though racing was also free back then). Now, it takes planning to schedule a racing calendar and I am lucky to race every two months or so.

Lastly, I have a sinking feeling that I’m just not use to my post college running body. I’ve put on some weight (I look much healthier) and I actually have curves. I like my body but it isn’t what it looked like when I was training my hardest. brevard

I’m starting to adjust my outlook and starting to realize that I am a real runner. Have you ever felt like a phony?


  • ursportswear

    Love this Cara! It really makes you think.

  • Elizabeth Gross

    I completely understand what you mean about not feeling “real.” Most normal humans would look at your life, and your past experiences, and your training regimen and say, “yup! That’s a runner!” But to you, there’s been some expectation built up about what someone who is a runner is and does. For example, I haven’t been running much since I came back from the UP. I do yoga, and it’s pretty challenging, but it’s not running. How do I feel about this? At first I felt threatened– am I losing it? Is this how people stop running? What now? But I also know there’s a continuum, a season, for everything, and everything in its season. I look at you and your training, and I say yes, this person is a runner. Thank god there’s more to do, and you can amp up your training or bring it back down because it’s a more balanced part of your life. I used to know a guy who dug basements for a living– pretty rough work– and ran afterwards. He told me that he didn’t feel like he was training properly unless he could PR every training run… And I don’t think he saw the insanity of that. So there’s that extreme, and there’s people like me who “dabble” at times so that running is on the back burner for the moment. And there are folks like you, who have raced in college and have that experience to compare to. I think we are all runners– mainly because the definition of a runner to me is that you are a runner if it’s something you need in your life and can’t live without~ an internal measure, not what others might see or think. That’s my .02 🙂