Health Well-being

If You Run, You Are A Runner

August 14, 2020

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If you run, you are a runner

I can’t remember where I first saw this quote, but I’ve seen it several times on social media over the last few months. I’m sure many people have said it, but I think American marathon runner John Bingham, may have been one of the first. Please don’t quote me on that!

It’s such a simple statement, but for me, a significant one. Because it’s taken me 25 years, a pandemic, and a debilitating injury to feel comfortable with calling myself a runner. I’ve uttered the words many times over the years, and used them in social media posts, but I’ve always felt like a fraud as the words tumbled out of my mouth. My running journey started when I was 16-years old. I’m now 42. But I only recently changed the profile description on my Instagram account, because it’s only recently I’ve allowed myself to believe: Hell yeah, I’m a runner.

Woman in running gear

Injury

Without going into too many details and divulging the entire contents of my medical records, I have several injuries and medical conditions to navigate. But over the years, I’ve learnt how to deal the hand I’ve been given. A month before lockdown came into force, I’d just rediscovered my running mojo. I’d found my stride and was happily hitting the pavement regularly – and then injury hit. I strained my hip flexor and my running came to an abrupt halt. I already have a hip labral tear that causes me some issues, so adding a strained hip flexor into the mix really threw me. With no physios available, I used the skills I’d learnt over the past 20-years to self-diagnose the injury, then had a call with my physio just to confirm. We talked through the physio exercises I’d been doing, and he added some more to the list, to help aid my recovery.

Woman in running gear

7-Weeks Later

7-weeks later, after weeks of painful home rehab and gradually building up my daily walks, I was finally up and running again. 20-minutes of walk-run-walk intervals soon became 5km, then 4-mile runs and then finally a return to running 10k – my favourite distance. At one point during my recovery, I was in so much pain, I thought I might have actually torn something and started to question whether I would be able to walk properly again, let alone run.

But lockdown and injury made me slow down. They made me take the break I knew I needed but hadn’t been allowing myself to have. They forced me to step back and take stock of things – something I struggle with massively. They taught me how much I rely on running for my mental well-being. How I rely on it to clear my head, to get myself outdoors and more recently, spend regular time with Ian.

I’ve been running for over 25-years, but for some reason, it was only during lockdown, I allowed myself to believe I was a runner. Up until then I didn’t consider myself good enough to wear the label. I told myself that real runners enter races, run long distances, are part of a running club, and a whole host of other half-baked statements as to why I wasn’t a real runner.

Woman in running gear

I am a Runner

My job as a fitness instructor is to include, encourage and cheerlead people into fitness. Yet here I was, excluding myself from something that I didn’t feel good enough for. But as I developed a regular running practice, learnt how to run for enjoyment, increased my sessions and headed out into torrential rain and strong winds without a second thought – I realised something.

I was a runner.

I’ve seen the statement if you run, you are a runner, more and more throughout lockdown, and it’s true. Runners come in all shapes and sizes. They run for a myriad of different reasons, different distances, and speeds; they run along roads and over fells, in groups, in pairs and alone.

When it comes to running, one size doesn’t fit all, and it’s taken me 25-years, a pandemic, and an injury to finally realise.

I am a runner.

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