So, whenever I am out running I am always checking out the other runners I pass. Okay, maybe that doesn’t sound right… for my husband’s sake I will say that I am not drooling over the handsome men who run past me with their shirts off. By “checking out” I mean that I am assessing their running gear, form & pace. I kind of feel bad doing so because my best friend recently told me that she doesn’t like running outside because she thinks people are judging her. I would like to think that I am not being judgmental when I assess other runners… I view it more as a learning process and comparison checker. Hey, I have admitted many times that I do not have the best form so I will not break down in tears if someone mentions this fact (actually, it has been mentioned by others on more than one occasion so I just roll with the punches). Best of all, “checking out” other runners keeps me entertained.
Anyway, the other day I was thinking about my observations in terms of serious runners versus recreational runners. Since I was not making any judgements, I had no way of knowing whether a runner I passed by was a serious runner or a recreational runner. However, if I could hand them a checklist then I would know.
You might be serious runner if you: 1. Are carrying some form of hydration and nutrition (usually when I am out running around my neighborhood I am the only one carrying water… therefore, I have to assume that I am running farther than the other runners I encounter, but some people just don’t need a lot of water so who really knows?). 2. Have no issues running in any weather conditions because you would rather fight mother nature than run on a stupid treadmill. 3. Are training for a long-ish distance run. I am sure I might get complaints over this, but I do not consider a 5k a long-ish run. You can be solely a recreational runner and accomplish this feat (but I will say that you could be on your way to becoming a serious runner). Additionally, you always have some upcoming event marked on your calendar. 4. On most of your running days you run farther than 3 miles. 5. Kick yourself in the rear and drown in disappointment if you do not run a set number of miles per week. 6. Go for a run when you are feeling a bit crabby, depressed, sick, stressed, disheartened, irritated (okay, you catch my drift) and end the run feeling a whole lot better than when you started. 7. Are asked by random people if you are a runner because you just look like one (and you are on top of the world when this happens… more so than if someone told you that you should be a model or that you are smokin’ hot). 8. Wear the proper attire. Hmm, not quite sure about this one because I see older folks running around in cotton shirts/shorts and they have been running for 50 years. Maybe I will put it like this: you do all of your other athletic activities (strength training, elliptical machines, spinning, yoga) in your running attire because you really don’t see the reason to own any of those stylish gym clothes. 9. Run through the pain because you know that it will eventually go away (or get so bad that you finally have to seek medical attention). 10. Have no issues waking up at 5:00 am on a weekend in order to go for a nice, long run.
Now, on to the recreational runner. Basically, most of the above list does not really apply to them (one or two items might). Recreational runners primarily run to stay fit or lose weight (and running is fabulous for both!). They will most likely walk into the gym and decide to run on the treadmill because they did the elliptical the day before. They really have no interest in training for a racing event and don’t feel the need to log mileage in some type of computer program.
As long as people are doing my favorite sport, I could care less if they are just running to run or actually running with a goal in mind because it all comes down to the simple fact that running is running. Now, it can get a bit off the wall when you become obsessive… (but hey, I always say it is better to be addicted to running than addicted to drugs).