It’s time for an old-fashioned DTR. That’s Define The Relationship. Every runner has a relationship with running, but they aren’t all the same. Here are a few of the most common running relationships.
Flirting: You’re a casual runner who occasionally pulls an old pair of shoes from the closet and takes them for a spin. If it feels good, or you lose a couple of pounds, you do it again, but you’re paying attention to what running is doing for you. If there isn’t an obvious payoff with every run, you won’t keep it up. As soon as you get sick, sore or bored, the shoes get tossed to the back of the closet. In Spokane you might be known as a Bloomie – someone who trains for a few days, weeks, or even a few months before running Bloomsday. Or, you’ve bought a trendy new running outfit and shoes to jump-start an exercise routine, but after realizing running can hurt, you wear your sporty new clothes while doing other things, like grocery shopping.
Dating: You’ve gone running enough times to know you like it. Or you at least you enjoy some of the benefits, like eating that big bowl of ice cream because you ran 3 miles. You try to schedule runs but it isn’t consistent. Some weeks you run several times but life tends to get in the way. If you’re sick, sleepy, grumpy, or just plain busy you’ll miss a run without guilt. You don’t refer to yourself as a “runner” and may even say things like, “I’d never run a marathon.”
Two-Timing: You are committed to fitness but not specifically to running. It’s a means to an end – getting or staying in shape or helping you excel at another sport. You hit the treadmill or road regularly but sometimes think about other sports while you’re running.
Engaged: You call yourself a runner and make time to run every week. It’s a relationship that’s important enough to you that you’ve sacrificed other things in your life to become the runner you are today. You keep track of your mileage and pace and make sure to purchase new shoes when the old ones wear out. You sign up for an occasional race but you often compare yourself to “real” runners, who are faster than you, thinner than you, or have been running longer than you. Someday you want to be like them.
Married: Not only do you have a commitment to running, you probably have more race t-shirts than dress shirts. You love to run so much that you’ll run when you don’t feel like it and you feel guilty if you skip more than a day for rest or cross training. In fact, cross training may give you twinges of guilt, as if you were cheating on your true love.
Divorced: You used to run but injury, illness or a major life change caused you to quit. When other runners talk about the sport, you usually chime in with your old experience.
Remarried: You used to run but stopped for a while. Now you’re running again and have renewed your vows to make this relationship last longer.
Till Death Do Us Part: You run so much sometimes your friends complain that it’s the only thing you talk about. Rest days equal an easy 5 or 8 miler but you don’t take many of those. You get a surge of excitement each time you sign up for a new race and have several on the calendar at any given time. You run in all weather types – rain, snow, heat and humidity and have enough running wear and gear to outfit a high school cross country team.
So, what kind of relationship do you have with running? Are you ready to take it to the next level?