The Run Around: A Non-Runner’s Thoughts on Being a “Runner”

Hey guys! I’m handing over the blog today to Anna from Curious and Curiouser. She and I met about 5 years ago through a mutual friend – Anna went to college in Alabama with a girl I went to high school with in Utah, and Anna and I both ended up living in Winston-Salem and our friend Olga connected us. Such a small world! I hope you enjoy this post from Anna who is a casual runner and isn’t even sure if she calls herself a “runner.” I think the term “runner” is something many of us have thought about and wondered we fit that title, and her perspective on how perfectionism plays into this is super insightful. I loved this post!


Well, hello, lovely readers of A Foodie Stays Fit! I’m so excited to be posting on this awesome blog today. (Thanks for inviting me to be a guest blogger, Teri!) When I got a text from Teri asking me if I’d contribute a running post to her blog, I’d actually just finished a run. Or, rather, a “run.” You see, I have a hard time calling myself a runner. I’d like to be able to confidently name myself among the committed and inspiring runners out there, but I just don’t feel like I’m one of them.


Here are three of the main reasons I don’t feel like I qualify for the title of runner:

I don’t run regularly.

I enjoy running (sometimes – more frequently now than in earlier years), but it’s not my main form of exercise. I’m a Pure Barre addict-turned-instructor, so most of my workout hours are spent either getting my #ltb on at the barre, or helping other people get their workouts. I love everything about Pure Barre (more on that here), but do like to supplement my barre time with other forms of exercise. Most regularly, that means incorporating spin classes, the occasional yoga flow, and – from time to time – running.

I don’t run fast.

I know I don’t have to be a fast runner to be a runner. And I also know that part of the issue stems from my infrequent running (as mentioned in the first point). But regardless, it’s not always fun to plod along at a nine-minute-per-mile pace.

I don’t have a running community.

Having a group of people to run with and to keep you accountable to running is, of course, not a necessity to being a runner, but I feel like most of the legit runners I know surround themselves with others who love to run, at least in some context. I feel pretty insecure about my running “skills,” and so I haven’t pursued a group atmosphere.

That said, I did run five 10K races last year, between last spring and this spring. That felt good (and, truth be told, those are the five ONLY times in my life I’ve run six miles). My times were even sort of respectable (all of them were under an hour, which was my goal).


And I have been running more recently, now that the sun’s coming up earlier. It’s not uncommon for me to come back home after a 6 a.m. Pure Barre class (as either a client or teacher), throw on my running shoes, leash up my dog, and hit the sidewalk for a (not-so-quick) two to three miles. That has felt good, too.

The thing is, I like to be good at things. I have a tendency toward perfectionism for sure, and, if I’m not careful, it’s easy for me to fall into the rabbit hole of negative talk when I feel I’m not at my best. And I’m NOT great at running. For a long time, that meant I wanted to stay away from it altogether.

More recently, I’ve started to let myself try to enjoy running, even without being awesome at it. I’ve focused on how energizing the time with my thoughts can be. How it’s a wonderful way to include my pup in my exercise. How it’s something that sometimes feels like torture but other times – when I take the pressure off – is actually quite enjoyable. How it’s something that’s different – and that’s good – from the other things I do.

So, am I a runner? I don’t know. And these days, I’m okay with not knowing. My slightly ambiguous relationship with running is one that’s working for me. I plan on running more races in the future (the 10K is feeling like a good race length, but maybe there’s a half marathon in the cards for me eventually), because they make me feel motivated and accomplished and part of an inspiring group. I’m going to keep lacing up my Nikes, putting in my ear buds, and seeing where the road takes me. Call it whatever you want.06E773C6-8B2C-4252-B613-BEC2410D64B5

See? Such a great post! 🙂 (And I love Anna’s writing style.) I would love to hear from you guys on this topic – do you struggle with calling yourself a “runner”?

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  • Reply

    Yes, I always find myself clarifying when someone calls me a runner… “well, I’m not REALLY a ‘runner’ runner”. For all the same reasons Anna listed above. I don’t run very far, certainly not very fast, pretty irregularly, & I prefer BodyPump & BodyFlow for my main forms of exercise. Running is def a supplement, & I just keep it up b/c I don’t want to lose the cardio I’ve built up, (I just started running 3 yrs ago.) & I feel so accomplished & amazed that my body is able to do it. When someone tells me they saw me out running, it’s all I can do not to ask, “Did I look like a REAL runner?!?!” 😛

  • Reply
    Olga G.

    you guys! love that you’ve connected but SO jealous I don’t get to live by and see you both! ?

  • Reply

    Definitely wouldn’t call myself a “runner” right now! But there have been lots of times in the past that I would have…the cycle of having kids can be kind of brutal that way. Just when you start getting in a groove something (morning sickness, being super pregnant, birth recovery…you name it!) throws you off!! It’s obviously a choice I’ve made knowing this will happen, but it sure does make it hard to get back on the band wagon after not running for a few months at a time. The thing is, I know it will always be there for me when I’m ready to be a “runner” again someday! Great post!!

  • Reply

    PLOD along at a 9 minute mile? Haahahaha.
    I definitely call myself a runner and I’m do not consistently run that pace. In fact, I consider that a fast pace.
    I think “running” and yoga can both have the same traps…
    I can’t do a backbend/handstand/king pigeon…I can’t run a 7 minute mile so I’m not a yogi…runner

    granted some running is actually about racing, but unless you are out for money, it’s all relative.

    I’m a runner (5:29:30 marathon and currently averaging 10 minute miles) and a yogi (no splits, wheels, or legs behind my head).

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