Saturday, January 19, 2013

Running Pyramid: Wannabe Runners

Pyramids are popular. Image Credit.
After spending a solid 14 seconds debating whether or not the title of the bottom tier of the pyramid sounded too negative, I decided to just run with it. I don't think there's anything wrong with being a wannabe runner. I don't think there's anything wrong with being a wannabe anything. I'm a wannabe writer and will probably continue to think of myself as a wannabe writer until I have something significant published. Wannabe runners often consider themselves to be wannabe runners until they, "run a race," or, "run without stopping," or, "take the running shoes they bought out of the box."

My pyramid's much uglier than Stephan Pastis's pyramid.

OK, so if you bought a pair of running shoes on a champagne-hangover-charged New Year's resolution shopping binge, you might be a wannabe runner, but most "wannabe" runners are not actually wannabes. They're usually in the invisible section of the running pyramid between "Wannabe Runners" and "Runners Who Want to Improve."

A lot of people I've met will say something like, "I'm not really a runner--I just run three miles a few times a week."

"Really?" I reply. "I think by definition that would make you a runner. You run, don't you?"

Then I start hearing the yeah buts.

"Yeah but:

"I can't run more than a few minutes before I have to walk."

"I've never run a race before--I just run for fun."

"I only run 5ks, so I'm not really a runner."

I think that if you get out the door a few times a week or climb on a treadmill and run, then you're a runner. Even people who consider themselves "Wannabe Runners," are actually "Runners Who Want to Improve." Although they say things like, "I'm not really a runner," often I find out they're training for their first 5k, or trying to work themselves up to running a mile without stopping.

Unfortunately, as is the human condition, they compare themselves to people who run everyday, or run marathons, or have a full array of cute running attire while they're left with just "running for fun," or, "only running 5ks," or, "having to run in basketball shorts."

I think if you just run for fun, you're most definitely a runner--even if you call your running the awful "j" word. And, if you're satisfied with your running, there's no need to push yourself to the next tier of the pyramid.

"What?" you may ask. "How can you write this blasphemy? Every runner should want to improve." Here's the problem with that attitude: "Runners Who Want to Improve" sometimes fall off the pyramid altogether. But I'll talk about those guys next time.

Happy Running!

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