Yes. You can be a runner.

Do you keep your eye out for runners?  At the gym?  In your neighborhood?

Sure there’s the 6-day-a-week superstar up the street with the iPod and the sports bra.  But there’s also the decades-ago college athlete who’s decided to get his butt back in shape 30 pounds later.  And don’t forget the never-trained-in-my-life couch potatoes working their way towards their first 5k.

A runner used to mean a superfit twig with expensive shoes and a sunglass tan.  Today’s runners come in all shapes and sizes.

There’s plenty of competition available if you’re racing to win.  But for a lot of us out there pounding the pavement week after week, running is simply about getting stronger and feeling better.  Racing is about finishing and a personal best is just that.

Do you know how many people finished marathons in the U.S. last year?  That’s a top-of-the-heap accomplishment for many amateur runners – the kind of thing worthy of a “26.2” bumper sticker on the back of the car.  In 2010, the marathon finish line was crossed by more than half a million.

Clearly something has changed since 1975 when that number was closer to 25,000.

We aren’t part of a new generation of superathletes that lives on sports drinks and cranks out marathons like they’re a walk in the park.  We’ve just realized that running isn’t just for “runners” anymore.  A runner is the person that puts one foot in front of the other until the workout is complete: no specialty gear, corporate sponsorships, or body type required.

So get out there, runners.  Whatever your shape, size, or fitness level…have fun.

6 responses to “Yes. You can be a runner.

  1. I started C25K on May 3rd, 11lbs heavier than I am now (I’m still 46lbs overweight). Even when I was slim and fit, I was never a runner; however, the enthusiasm of other people who had completed the programme was infectious, so I suggested it to my partner and we began as soon as I bought myself some running shoes (a couple of days later). We got up to the beginning of W5 but then dropped back to W3 so that our friend, who had recently started, could run with us. Now the three of us go out every other morning at 7.30, and we’re back up to W5D1 (as of tomorrow).

    When we first started, it was really difficult for me. I didn’t quite think I was going to die but I was close! W2 wasn’t much better, and in some ways was worse because my quads hurt so much that one day I actually ended up in tears. By W3, I had fallen in love with running! My thighs were fine, my chest had stopped hurting, and I found that running for longer periods of time was easier than short bursts! I’m still not convinced I’ll be able to do the 20 minute run at the end of W5 but I do know I will attempt it, and it’s nowhere near as scary a prospect as running for three minutes was all those weeks ago!

    I say to anyone to just give it a go; there is no time limit, no rush, do what you can but push a little farther each time, and you *will* reap the rewards! Kind of like life, really!

    • Nicole,

      Thanks for taking the time to post your experiences with getting through the weeks/days of the C25K plan. I know for myself as well as many others that hearing personal testimony about ones journey to becoming a runner is truly motivating and inspiring. I love the fact that you have running buddies and that you even went back to week 3 to welcome your other friend. Keep up the good work!

  2. But what if I am very, very overweight, where do I start? How do I maintain the motivation? I need to lose 163 pounds or 76kg, and once upon a time I loved running. How do I get back there?

    • Hi Amy,

      You can be a runner again! You’ve already taken your first step in contacting me. First I would recommend that you go see your healthcare provider and get the go ahead to start the program. Second, I would get as many friends and family you can get, including us, to help get you motivated. Lastly, when you begin the program you can start the first couple of weeks by walking during the walking segments and then briskly walking during the running intervals. You can build up your stamina that way. When you think you are ready to try some running you can just go back to week 1 day 1 and start over. Slowly you will see that you can do this and what once was a love for running, will become a reality. I hope you give it a try. We are always here: blog, FB, and twitter to help you get through. Good luck.

  3. Jennifer O'Callaghan

    I just started on Saturday. About to start day 2 in 20 minutes! Feel better already! Thank you so much!

    • Hi Jennifer,

      How did day two go? I trust it went as well as the Saturday run. If so, keep up the good work. You’ll be running 30 minutes straight in no time.

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