Am I a runner?
August 14, 2010 12:44 PM   Subscribe

Would you consider me a "runner?"

Just for curiousity's sake, how far does one have to run to be considered a "runner?" I'd like to know your subjective thoughts on how far one has to run in a year to be considered a runner. I've put down 325 miles this year and hope to do at least another 250. So, am I a runner?
posted by gocubbies to Health & Fitness (20 answers total)
I'd say yes. To me, a runner is a person that likes to and actively tries to get out there and run, even if it's only once a week. The very fact that you've logged how many miles you've run this year and have a goal on how many more you want to do by year's end says a lot.
posted by coupdefoudre at 12:46 PM on August 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

You're averaging 10 miles/week? Yeah, you're a runner.
posted by The Michael The at 12:50 PM on August 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I frequent the site "" (which is 50% awesome, 50% asshat). According to them you aren't a runner unless you put in at least 80mpw at 6 min/mile or better. If your marathon time isn't under 2:40 you are a hobby jogger. If you run 2:30 in the marathon you are expected to say "I'm not that fast".

Yeah, they rock.

Anyway, it's hard to tell. What does "a runner" mean? Is it someone who runs for fitness? Runs regularly? Races a lot? Takes particular steps to get as good as they can get?

To me, saying that you are "An X" means that X is a major focus in your lfe. It's a serious hobby, a profession, or something at which you have achieved some level of excellence. I don't think you qualify as a runner under those rules. I wouldn't sweat it, however.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 12:52 PM on August 14, 2010

If you go outside and run on purpose and not just because you missed the bus, you're a runner.
posted by advicepig at 1:07 PM on August 14, 2010 [39 favorites]

Do you, with malice aforethought, ever run to the exact same place you started from? Then you're a runner, regardless of how often you do it or how big the circle is.
posted by Etrigan at 1:16 PM on August 14, 2010 [8 favorites]

I think you are a runner. Let'sRun sucks. The Runner's World Beginner forum is much better.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:33 PM on August 14, 2010

what we think is unimportant - there is no objective criteria, and there is no independent validation of the term. like an artist, you are one if you feel like one - you don't have to be good at it, you don't have to run x number of times per week, you don't have to be all sinew and bones, you don't have to subscribe to the magazines or buy the most expensive shoes.

you are one if you feel like one.
posted by wayward vagabond at 1:37 PM on August 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I just learned how to run/jog/shuffle a mile. A whole fat mile. Hells yeah, I'm a runner.
posted by Sassyfras at 1:42 PM on August 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

Yes, you're a runner.
posted by ellenaim at 1:52 PM on August 14, 2010

i read an opinion once to the effect: you are not a runner until you can run an hour straight without stopping -(with dignity)
posted by mrmarley at 2:20 PM on August 14, 2010

The most talented and dedicated runners I've met also happened to be the most supportive and encouraging of other people running. There was no BS about sub-6 minute miles or marathon times or comparing weekly mileage or anything except 'do you like getting out there and running? do you enjoy talking about running with others? do you have favorite routes, or races, etc?' Then--in their eyes--you're a runner.

I find that in an any given activity there are people who are there mainly because they like the activity, and people who are there because they like feeling superior to other people with regard to that particular activity. Part of their enjoyment comes from making sure other people can't/don't enjoy it as much as they do--or at least comes from pretending that they can ensure that other people won't enjoy it and will feel excluded and inferior.

This latter group of people--like the asshat demographic at ''--who want to make the sport nothing but a hierarchy are the same people who think that there is a huge world of 'practicing' an instrument and 'playing it.' No. You have to play the instrument in order to practice. Now, there's a difference in facility and probably amount of inborn talent between a beginner on the cello and Yo-yo Ma. But they're both playing the cello because it's what they want to do.

I have always been a slow runner. I will always be a slow runner. I am proud of an 8:30 pace. Five years ago, I found out I had epilepsy by having a generalized tonic-clonic seizure 100m from the finish line of my very first 5K. That is an extremely aversive stimulus. You know what? I still run. I've just started training for my first half-marathon. I geek out about shoes. So I call myself what I am: a runner. No group of people scrabbling to be the Kings or Queens of the Running Hill can take that away from me. Don't let their pettiness take it away from you, either. Don't be bound by their nonsense. Life is not the Olympics--there's no 'qualifying time' required to participate. You want to run Boston? I was about to say, well, then you need a QT. But you actually don't...if you run for charity. Which must just burn the hierarchy-obsessed asshats up. There's this small group of slow, lower mileage people 'cheating' their way in by raising funds for charity. (Again, this opinion is not true of most people I've known who have qualified for/run Boston. They recognize the effort and achievement involved in running AND managing to raise a lot of money for others.)

You're not bound by other people's definitions, and you don't have to prove yourself. My definition is that if you run because it's what you enjoy and running is one of the things you come back to--enough that you think 'I would call myself a runner'--then you are a runner. But my definition isn't what counts. You decide for yourself what it means to 'be a runner,' and if it's part of who you are, then you be that.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 2:34 PM on August 14, 2010 [10 favorites]

'huge world of difference between' not 'huge world of'
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 2:35 PM on August 14, 2010

If you run, you are a runner. How many miles? how fast? how often? only you can decide if you "qualify." Sort of like the distinction between a runner and a jogger: if you run as fast or faster than me, you are a runner. If you run slower, you are a jogger.
posted by Postroad at 2:41 PM on August 14, 2010

Can you outrun the zombies chasing you down? If you can, you're a runner. If you can't, you're dinner.
posted by zennish at 3:59 PM on August 14, 2010 [5 favorites]

"The difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry blank." - George Sheehan
posted by djb at 5:53 PM on August 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

Uniformitarianism Now!: "This latter group of people--like the asshat demographic at ''--who want to make the sport nothing but a hierarchy are the same people who think that there is a huge world of 'practicing' an instrument and 'playing it.' No. You have to play the instrument in order to practice. "

That practice/play analogy just blew my mind. It's almost Confucian. Why can't more people have this attitude? The world would be so much cooler.

To the OP, yes, you are a runner, IMHO, and a pretty darn hard core one at that.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 12:08 AM on August 15, 2010

I think there is a difference between jogging and running. They are after all different words with different clear meanings. However to arbitrarily define a single pace as the dividing point between the two different activities is seriously foolhardy. The dividing line between running and jogging should be set for each individual as a percentage of their current maximum pace.

Oh and the let's run people sound like total asshats.
posted by mmascolino at 11:55 AM on August 15, 2010

I like Uniformitarianism Now!'s answer, and I would add that people way slower than 8:30 min miles are runners. I've run into some snotty runners who think they are better because they run under 7 or 8 or 9 minute miles or whatever (and they are usually the scary intense folks anyway) but for the most part I think trunning people are welcoming of anyone who wants to run/jog/shuffle/run-walk...etc.

I think "runner" is more a distinction of regularity. That is, do you make a habit of jogging/running? Once a week? Yay!

(I'm touchy-feely today, on an exercise high from my teeny tiny triathlon. There were several women there that weighed considerably over 200lbs and they rocked (not that this was a weight question, just an "in-club" kind of question)).
posted by Pax at 1:58 PM on August 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Nthing previous comments - do you run for sport and not just as a method of transportation? If yes, then you are a runner, regardless of distance, frequency, or speed.
posted by smistephen at 10:31 AM on August 16, 2010

I consider myself to be a runner, and I run less than you do.
posted by Vorteks at 12:48 PM on August 18, 2010

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