Does Speed Make A Runner?

Hi friends!  How’s it going?  I appreciate all of your input on my last post regarding the after effects of my half-marathon.  I think Lily hit the nail on the head when she said that I was likely also very sore because during a race, you tend to go all out.  Very true.  My race pace was significantly faster than my long run pace (ie, almost a full minute faster, which is a lot in running-speak!) 

So, what have I been up to?  Well, aside from running, yoga and attending a conference in the most expensive city ever Boston, I went on a super fun trip with some other bloggers to two foodie meccas:  Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods! 

Thanks for the photo, Heather! 🙂  

It was a fun trip and I got a lot of essentials, including sea salt brownies (amaze) and peanut butter filled pretzels.  I FORGOT to pick up pumpkin cream cheese.  Boo.  TJ’s and Whole Foods is only 98 miles from downtown Albany, and I’m seriously considering making a monthly pilgrimage over there to stock up on goodies.  Who’s with me? 😉  For a recap of our trip, check out Courtney or Jen’s posts- you may get some ideas as to what to purchase at your next TJ’s trip!

I’ve been thinking  about running a lot lately, probably because I haven’t been putting in nearly as many miles as I was during training.  The only race I have coming up is a trail run this weekend with Jen (yippee!) and a Turkey Trot with my dad (go dad!!!).   Anyway, back in September Nicki was the first runner featured in my “Many Faces of Running Series.”  One of my fave bloggers and commenters left an interesting comment on Nicki’s post that really had me thinking.  Basically, she said that she although she ran, she wasn’t sure if she considered herself a runner because she wasn’t that fast.  Which then begs the question- does speed make a runner?

To me, the answer is quite easy: no, of course not.  In my opinion, if you are out there trudging along, be it at a 13:00/mile pace or an 8:00/mile pace, you are still running.  This ties into my last post a bit, being that you cannot compare yourself to other runners.  Heck, if we were to judge running based solely on speed, wouldn’t only Olympians and professional runners qualify as actual runners?  You are not less of a runner because you maintain an 11:00/mile pace.  You are not a “jogger” (gosh, what an annoying term) because you can’t maintain an 8:00/mile pace- you are still a runner.  You are a runner if you RUN. 

In responding to the comment, Nicki indicated that she had recently read the speed is a personal thing, similar to one’s height- just like your height is right for you, so is your speed.  I couldn’t agree more, Nicki!    What do you think?  Do you feel like less of a runner if you can’t maintain a certain speed?  Let me know what your thoughts are! 

See you soon with a fun race recap!



Filed under Blends, I'm random, Running

36 responses to “Does Speed Make A Runner?

  1. Jen

    Hmm…I didn’t consider myself a real runner until I hit running 20 miles a week…which was back in April when I decided to run the Boilermaker. Strange right?! It was then when I also started really CARING about running. I never considered the speed aspect though!!!

    And yes, I’m with you on the monthly trip to TJ’s. We must! I’m addicted to the food we got there.

  2. Oh I love this! I absolutely think your speed is just right for you. I mean, I think you are able to improve upon your own speed, but there is really no way to compare to someone else. We all have different body make-ups, height, enurdance…etc… so I think there is really just no way to say that a certain time makes you not a runner. I feel like if you are moving faster than a walk you are running – therefor considered a runner.

  3. I don’t think speed makes a runner at all. But I do think you must run with a bit of consistency in order to call yourself a runner. Say, at least twice a month. (That’s my arbitrary opinion.)

    You have such a fun blogger bunch in your area! It’s nice to live in an area with a great community of bloggers.

  4. I agree with you Katie. Speed does not make you a runner. It may make you a faster runner 😉 There is always hot debate about what qualifies as running and the growing amount of slower runners signing up for marathons. I don’t think mileage or speed makes you a runner… I’m not sure where the line gets drawn, but I think the person most qualified to draw the line is yourself. Do YOU consider yourself a runner?

    A very popular writer/runner, John Bingham, was talking to an elite (Kenyan?) runner, and John said something like, “Wow, how can you run a marathon so fast?” and the elite runner responded (in sincere admiration) – “How can you run for so long?”

    • lol, so true- speed just makes you a faster runner! That whole debate about slower runners participating in marathons is very interesting and also elitist.

      That is really cool that the elite runner said that! Thanks for sharing 😀

  5. i think we all go through this…it’s sort of the tipping point where we decide that our workouts are tough enough to call ourselves runners. It took me a long time to decide that I wasn’t just a jogger

  6. I don’t think speed makes a runner at all. It’s definitely a personal thing, what’s speedy for me is a snail’s pace for someone else and what’s slow for me might be fast for someone else. I think everyone who runs is a runner. Although, within ourselves, I think we all have that moment where we decide ‘I am a runner’. We’re all going through the same triumphs and struggles regardless of pace.

  7. I try not to feel like I’m not a runner because I’m not fast, and most of the time I feel like my pace doesn’t matter so long as I’m out there. However, it can be a little upsetting when I read those kinds of comparisons on the blogs of some other runners.

    • Getting out there is half the battle! I can see how it could be upsetting (ie, why am I not the fast/why can’t I run that far/etc) but you really can’t compare yourself!

  8. Nicole

    I like Linzi’s comment, with that said, I run 15 miles per week at a 14:00/mile. I really don’t consider myself a runner because I have to walk for a minute in between. I am striving for a 1/2 hour run without stopping and then maybe I will call myself a runner. I must get my endurance up, but at least I am moving. Luv Mom 🙂

  9. I am not a fast runner, but I call myself a runner. I think that if you are consistently running, no matter the speed, you are a runner. Jogger shmogger!

    I would be happy to send you some Trader Joe’s goodies if you’d like. Email me if you are interested.

  10. Sara

    I don’t know when I started considering myself a runner. Probably when I started running in 10 degree weather. A “jogger” or “non runner” wouldn’t do that in my mind. So there I was, in 10 degree weather running 12 minute miles. Still, I felt like a runner 🙂

  11. J

    I agree that speed is a personal thing but I think that distance is as well. I think that each person has a pace and amount of distance they can keep that pace. Some people are just built to run marathons while others are not. I think it takes time to find what is right for each individual.

    • That is a really good point Joanna. I don’t consider myself to be less of a runner because I haven’t run a full marathon, nor did I prior to running the half. Excellent point!

  12. lowandbhold

    I totally agree with you. I don’t even think about speed when I’m running and it really annoys me when people ask about my running and I tell them how far I ran or something and they immediately ask my speed. It doesn’t matter to me, so why should it matter to them?! I like a slow and steady pace and I don’t really even want to become a speed demon. But the people who are super fast are cool too, power to them!

    Great post!

  13. Whaaa I left a comment and it disappeared 😦 Anyways- I was just saying that I completely agree that speed is going to be different for everyone. We are all built differently (different muscles, lung capacities…) and some people are going to be faster than others no matter HOW much you improve. In the end…all that matters is that you’re moving and enjoying it 🙂

  14. Deanna

    I had the hardest time getting it into my head that while I am not fast, I am still a runner (9:30 min/miles after many years in the 10’s) when one of my good friends is a RUNNER (7 min/miles) and trains year round for marathons for fun.
    It was a coach a couple years ago who told me when when I was struggling on a long run that I was not a runner, he said, “What are you doing right now? You are a runner.”
    A good guy to follow is the Penguin.

  15. Boo – I left a comnment and it disappeared – i am trying again. Are you going to be running the Troy Turkey Trot?! I am!!

    As far as speed goes, NO I do not think that speed defines whether you are a runner or not. No matter how fast you’re going, if you are out there running, you are a runner. Then comes my personal dilemma in that deep down I’d like to set a PR in every race. I try not to let this become a goal, but I find that it usually creeps it’s way in. I think it’s partly because of my high school track and XCountry background – it was kind of ingrained in us. But then it’s also that I like to have goals. So I guess it means that personally, I’m always trying to run faster, but I don’t think that my times (or anyone’s) should define if they are a runner or not.

  16. Melissa G

    I would love to go to trader joes with ya! We should do a holiday trip. I can drive!!!

    I will have to agree w/ everyone that posted. I don’t think speed, distance, number of races or fancy gear make you a runner. You have to believe it within yourself. If you feel you are a runner, than you are a runner. 🙂

  17. I think that if you have a passion for running, your a runner. It defines you no matter how fast you are!
    I’d do the monthly TJ’s visit in a heart beat!

  18. I feel like if you’re out there moving, who cares how fast you are. Running is good for the body and soul, and if you enjoy it, then you’re a runner.

    I would suggest a field trip to Wegmans, ’cause I know you love it, but two+ hours would be too much of a trek for you!

  19. Hi there –

    I’m a lawyer runner too, also tried to incorporate the running and lawyering thing into my blog title! Love your blog.

    I don’t think speed makes a person a runner. Echoing what others have said, I personally think running somewhat regularly AND loving it makes someone a runner. In college and after, I would occasionally run a couple miles with my roommate or neighbor to lose weight. I didn’t consider myself a runner. In 2006 I started running alot and did my first 5k. It was sloooow, but even back then, I considered myself a runner because I was doing it regularly and I loved it. If I had to pick just one thing, I’d say it’s having a passion for it that makes one a runner. People who run, but don’t like it, don’t consider themselves runners. Right?

  20. Julie

    Hi Katie,
    We are all different and move at different speeds. I don’t care if someone runs at a 11 minute mile pace or a 6 minute mile pace….we are all running. I personally have those runs where I move slower than others:) I might be moving at a turtle’s pace but will always call myself a runner.

    Take care Katie and Happy Halloween!

  21. TJ’s and WF 98 miles away? Thats very depressing. Maybe I think that b/c I’m spoiled with TJ’s down the block from me.

    Add another one to the list who thinks if you’re out there running, you’re a runner. I’m slow as hell and I know that but I still do it and it’s better than sitting on the couch!

  22. I don’t think speed makes you a runner. I’ve discussed on my blog that I believe anyone who loves to run is a runner, even though it might not feel like it. I think some people just have that gift that they are able to run fast, and it’s not for everyone – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t run!

  23. I definitely think that speed DOES NOT make the runner. I just think if you get out there and are doing it, you’re a runner! But, I think I think this way because I have gone through a few injuries that prevented me from running. So if I am out there and feel like I am shuffling, I am happy just to be out there.

    Great post!

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