There’s something romantic almost about being a runner, well the idea of it at least. When we think about runners we imagine them to be ridiculously fit, motivated, dedicated and energetic people. That can be true for some runners at least some of the time but not always. Lots of people want to start running because they want a slice of those things in their lives. Lots of runners even want to have a bit more of that. That brings us to our next point which is that this is a post and a thought experiment for runners too. Lots of us (me included right now) want to be running more than we are and take our sport to the next level. One thing that I think new and old runners alike should do is make a list of why we want to be a runner. I even give the advice to do that from time to time but guess what I’ve never done it myself. So today I’ll be doing just that and sharing a printable for you to make your own list of why you want to be a runner. And… I’ll be filling it out to! I think it’s a good thing to have in a drawer or posted on a cupboard somewhere for when you’re lacking motivation.
Health, fitness and weight goals
Most of us get into running just for these reasons. For me I wanted a lifelong hobby that would protect my health particularly cardiovascular health since I lost my Dad to heart issues. I also wanted an activity that would help me stay thin without making me spend a whole lot of time or money and definitely not make me go to the gym! You might have a specific goal weight or weight loss goal in mind or you might just want to tone up. Goals here can be way less specific though and just as important. Maybe you have your own family now and you just want to take care of yourself as much as you possibly can. After you’ve been running for a while those goals might change but let’s be as specific as possible here. I would like to run at least three days a week most of the year. Even during COVID! Long term I’d like to run a sub one hour 10k and a full marathon. So those are my running goals.
There are tonnes of great activities out there. Many of them you might actually like. So why do you want to be a runner then? The reasons here can vary widely from classically good reasons to those that are more silly. Be honest with yourself because if running does end up being the perfect fit for you these are going to be some of the reasons that will help you stay with it. Plus if it isn’t the perfect fit honest answers might help you find the thing that is. If it’s your reason then it’s a good reason! Try to think of a few things that are specific to running.
When I started (and now) I love how efficient running is for time spent to rewards reaped. I also loved the idea of being a runner because they seemed to be super cute, thin and fit, the outfits rocked and the intensity really pulled me in too. Some of those things have changed for me now and some haven’t. I still love how efficiently I can get in a great workout in even when I’m busy. But now I love it for the mental clarity and mood boost it brings me and the fact that it’s a solo sport for me. I also love races and especially that it brought me into participating in endurance challenges. Running has made me love my body for the things it can do rather than the way it looks. And of course the outfits are still super cute!
Define success as a runner
When we race we often have three time goals for ourselves. We might only tell you about one or two or even that we just want to finish that day but usually we do have specific (if personal) goals for the day. Working towards a goal is a great thing because it keeps you motivated, makes you consistent and when you achieve it you feel amazing. Accomplishing a specific goal or two can even be what hooks you for the long term. If we don’t define what success is beforehand why might never feel like we’ve achieved it. Then you’d be missing out on something big. So let’s go ahead and take stock of where you are before you start running or as a runner where you are right now. We’re going to pick three things a small success, your ‘real’ goal and one that you’d like to do but you’re not sure you’ve ever can. This one should seem kinda, sorta, maybe possible right now but still a stretch. That way when you can do those things you’ll know that you’ve made it! If you want to add a reward to yourself to each goal.
For now I’d like to get back into the habit of waking up early at least twice a week to run. For now that’s about it. Supposedly my big race from May is maybe going ahead in November and it’s a 15k so I should start thinking about that soon. For now I’d like to find a way to fall back into love with running just for running’s sake.
How are you going to make it work?
Starting running or making changes to push your running further means that you make to make some space in your life and a plan. If you don’t, you won’t make it. For some it might be literally adding a run to your physical schedule for the next three months. Look at your goals and figure out what has to change to make that work. You could identify time in your day to get a run in, set money aside for gear or talk to your partner (or maybe boss) about supporting you in that. Whether you’re extremely busy or not we all actually have really full lives. No matter your situation if you don’t make time to run you won’t. No one says you have to change your job, entire diet, give up all your hobbies or skip every happy hour to run. But some little tweaks might be necessary.
Looking for inspiration
Running isn’t always easy to add to your everyday life but if you want to start or make it a bigger part of your life chances are you’ve already found a source of inspiration. That could be a real life runner you look up to, a documentary or movie (hello, Brittany runs a marathon) or even a random instagram account. Who or what has inspired you? Make a note of those sources of inspiration so that you can remind yourself and refer back to them in the future.
What excuses am I likely to use?
We all know ourselves very well and we also know what excuses we are willing to use to wiggle out of our way out of stuff. List yours now so you can see what you’re doing later. Mine are the big three too busy, too cold and too tiered!
There’s a common sentiment among runners you’ll often hear and that is runners start for the physical benefits and stay for the mental ones. For most of us at first we are 100% focused on the physical changes (and challenges) of running but once those are realized why will you stick with it and keep pushing yourself? In other words what are the mental reasons you see yourself running. If you’ve been a runner and since lapsed you are likely itching to get back to it because you know it will do good for your soul over the body. You might be craving the metal good more than the physical. If you’re looking to start running the mental benefits might largely be news to you. Go read some articles about running and mental health and think about what aspects you most need in your own life.
I’m not necessarily an introvert but I like some alone time. Lately I’ve been missing that quality daylight alone time. I also feel like running evens out my mood and who doesn’t need a bit more of that? Also some of my best thinking is done while running and so it makes me more creative. I’d like a little more of that too!
It will be worth it because
So now you’ve taken a long hard look at your running or why you want to be a runner. At this point you’re ready to sum up the big picture for you personally. Taking all of these things into account why will it all be worth it. Give yourself one overarching reason why running regularly will be potentially life changing for you. You’ll have to check out my printable for that one!
Why running printable download link
This list might be something you want to revisit in your running career from time to time as you evolve. I think it’s a good experience for every runner and potential runner to do. There is something about putting pen to paper that helps cement things in your mind and help you define your priorities. Did this exercise help you? Did you learn anything about your running? Leave it in the comments below!