You’ve probably learned to push through the pain when your legs hurt. You’ve learned to ignore the voices in your head telling you to quit. You keep moving forward beyond mile 6, 7, and 8 and don’t think twice about runs that exceed 10 miles.
You want to run in a 5k? Go ahead, but you’ll probably do a 3 mile warm-up, race the 5k, and then finish the race off with a 3+ mile cool down.
Because you are a long-distance runner, you know how to handle stress. You see stress as something that will always be there. You’ve learned to embrace it rather than complain about it. You can’t change something that you don’t have control over. It’s just like in a long run when you hit mile 8, or 9, or maybe even mile 18, and you feel tired, defeated, and thirsty and you still have 4 or 5 or 6 more miles to go before you can even consider sitting down. You can’t just stop yourself mid-run because your body is stressed. You don’t have control over your fatigue but you need to keep going to get back to your home so you embrace it and become a stronger runner because you didn’t quit.
You are a long-distance runner because you’ve surrounded yourself with other long-distance runners. You have friends that have goals just like yours. You probably even have friends that have bigger goals than yours – farther race distances than you can ever imagine. But because you’ve surrounded yourself with go-getters, over-ambitious people, and a lot of positive vibes, you’ve become a better person yourself. You’ve become a better runner. You’ve learned that once you achieve one goal you have to set another one that will test your limits even further. Why stop at normal or average when you can run faster or farther? And even if you fail, you’ll be surrounded by people that have also probably once failed. They’ll pick you up, brush the dirt of your knees, and tell you to keep going until you reach that goal you so ambitiously set.
You are a long-distance runner because you learned to ignore fatigue. Naps? You’re not going to get anything done if you nap all day. Yes, sleep is a very important part of the recovery process but you probably don’t allot 2 hours out of your day to nap. You’ll just go to bed earlier if you’re tired. And most likely you have to wake up when the sun does anyways to get in a morning run before half the world has even thought about pushing that snooze button on their alarm clock. Plus, you can’t take a nap mid-run. That’s counterproductive. Maybe you feel tired on your run. Maybe you think about how nice it would be to lay in bed all day. But that’s not how you’ve been trained to think. You can’t stop on the side of the road or in the middle of the woods to sleep. So you ignore the fatigue and push through the exhaustion. No matter how many miles you still have to run or the huge hill that you still have to conquer, you can’t let fatigue get to you. So you keep going.
As a runner, you probably try to make conscious decisions about what you’re fueling your body with. You’re not going to eat ice cream before you run. And you’re not going to immediately eat a tub of ice cream even AFTER you run. You probably make food choices that you know will help you achieve your ultimate goal. This may mean sacrificing a few of your favorite snacks. But if it doesn’t fuel you right, you’re probably not going to eat it. As a long-distance runner you make food choices that will get you closer to your goal NOT foods that will set you back, because there’s no better feeling than celebrating a good race with some brownies after a long few months of training and sacrifice.
So you’re a long-distance runner because you love to run, you love spending time with other long-distance runners, and you love that feeling of accomplishment. Don’t let others take that love away from you. Surround yourself with like-minded people that will encourage you when you’re feeling down. Meet new runners, be friends with other runners, and maybe even marry a runner. Whichever you choose, choose because you love to run. You are a long distance runner finding life in the most challenging and stressful times. You find yourself mid-stride and every footstep thereafter.
I am a long-distance runner.