Do you look like a runner?

Today, was Dinee’s first Park Run.  He loved it.  He doesn’t really look like a runner, he’s got short stumpy legs, and a hefty torso, and a very strange long neck, and well, he’s green.  None of the other runners gave him a second glance.  In fact, he didn’t do too much running, he was cuddled most of the way while I pushed my 3-year-old son, Eben, in the running buggy.   So, Dinee doesn’t really look like a runner – and it got me thinking about the runner’s body.  I mean, do you have a runner’s body?  Are you lean and mean, or built with powerful thighs of steel? Maybe you look at your body and think, hey I’m just not built for running.

Heel striker with thick thighs

I look at photos and videos of me running and I can easily focus on the things which I don’t like, which say, she’s not a runner.  Thighs so thick, hamstrings so tight I can’t even extend my leg properly, shoulders all the up to my ears, a ploddy gait, heel striker… but guess what, despite all these non-runner body traits, I am a runner.

Bushy Park Run is my local Park Run, and never do I feel more humbled when I see all the different types of runners.  Not just fast or slow, not just good form versus bad form… literally all ages and all sizes and all styles. I’ve been overtaken by elderly men, overweight women, young kids, and everything in between – who cares, you are all sharing your passion together on any given Saturday morning.  You don’t have to look a certain way to run, you just can.

Runners of all shapes, sizes, and ages

A few weeks ago, I was standing at the start of a 10KM race and while nervously doing the warm up and chattering with my friend, we started to size up the competition, and after a quick glance around the crowd, we just said, well you just can’t tell who’s fast and who’s not fast.

Here are somethings to think about, whether you are at the start of your running journey or well into it.

  1. Breathing heavy, sweating, turning into a beetroot, it’s all normal
    • This doesn’t mean you are not good at it, it just means your body is getting used to the additional work you are giving it. Keep going, drop your pace, take walk breaks, before you know it, it will start to get easier and you will start enjoying it, really
  2. Your mind is saying you no-way-Jose, but trust me, you can
    • “I can’t run more than 2 minutes” “5KM is my maximum” ”I could never run a marathon” “I could never run with others” – you need to smash these barriers, they are in your mind – you have an amazing body, that is capable of so much more than your mind will easily let you do.
  3. Run for health not for weight loss
    • First, you don’t have to lose weight to run, runners are all shapes and sizes, but if you want to adopt a healthier lifestyle running is a great choice. I always hear people say, you can’t outrun a bad diet, and they are right. Two-hundred calories can be ingested in the blink of an eye, but a 20-25 minute run requires significantly more effort!
  4. Running won’t hurt your knees*
    • Generally, running is good for you, your body, your joints. The compression action of running lubricates the joints, and the continuous range of motion keep you mobile into your later years.
    • If you are really worried about your joints, losing some weight will drastically reduce the pressure your joints experience each step you run
  5. You already have a runner’s body
    • Don’t feel self -conscious about not looking like what you think is a typical runner – I am in awe at your dedication and talent – If you run and have a body – you have a runner’s body

*For the most part this is true, but of course if you have any pain and you are concerned about you should get it checked out, and if you have a pain that affects the way you run, and you develop a strange running style to cope with pain… stop.

So what do you think?  Do you have a runners body?  Do you feel like a runner or an imposter?  Do you feel self conscious when you run?



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