ImageCoach Jenny Hadfield is a published author, writer, coach, public speaker and endurance athlete. To find out more, visit our Meet Our Writers page or visit Coach Jenny’s website.
How did you know when you had truly become a runner? I’m working on running but I’m wondering what it will take to feel like I am a real runner? ~ Tiffany The moment I became a runner in my mind was the moment I finished my first 5K. Up until that point, I felt like a poser trying to accomplish something I never thought I could. I grew up playing team sports and running was always used as a form of punishment. If a volleyball serve was missed, we would run five laps. If we missed a lay up, we would run suicide sprints (sounds lovely, right)? The first step was in getting over the negative messages I told myself about running. “I wasn’t meant to be a runner. I’m not as fast as those runners. I’m not a real runner.” Those messages faded away with every mile I ran. The next step was to believe that I could be a runner. And for me, that meant setting a goal and reaching it. Once I crossed the finish line of that 5K, I knew I would continue to run because I fell in love with it along the way and it became as habitual in my life as brushing my teeth. Runners come in all shapes and speeds and the greatest part is that all it truly takes to be a runner is the courage to get started, the tenacity to stick with it and the ability to allow yourself to enjoy it. Everyone taps into their inner runner along different paths. For some, it may be about being able to run for a certain amount of time. For others, it may come to them along a quiet run on a course they once were able to walk but not run. Although the finish line defined my runner for me, the truth is, I became a runner with the very first step. I often hear runners describing running routines and races with pure joy and then apologetically deny their runnerhood by saying, “but I’m not a real runner.” I understand this because I used to say it myself. The route to becoming a runner isn’t about how fast you can run, the number of miles you cover, or even the amount of time you’ve spent running. Being a runner is about the journey you make on your own two feet. It is in the effort to move forward with each stride where the essence of a runner is born. Take a moment to reflect on your journey and you’ll soon see the runner in yourself blossoming like the flowers in springtime.