By now, I’m sure you’ve diligently followed all the steps in Phase 1 of how to become a real runner; you can make your pain face on command and have learned how to do your own runner’s pedicure at home to save time and money. Great! Now, it’s time for Phase 2 – learning about the glorious sport of running.
Why? The best way to become something is to be about it.
If you want to be a runner, then you simply do what a runner does (i.e. run). If that’s too simple [and yet all too complicated], then I’ll tell you how to think like a runner, behave like a runner, talk like a runner. Yes, running is much more likely to happen if you know a little something about running as a lifestyle and as a sport.
Here’s what you need to do: learn the metric system, become a historian, and start watching running events on TV. That’s it!
Be a Real Runner: Phase 2
My fellow Americans, this will hurt a little, but the truth is…
Real runners know the metric system.
Yes, listen close and you’ll hear runners use words like “kilometer” and “meters” and such. If you learn the metric system, you too can enjoy bragging about last weekend’s 25K trail race while your friends listen politely and wonder.
JUST KIDDING. While the metric system is NOT required (thank God), it does help to know common running distances. Then people will think you know the metric system and that’s just as good.
Take a look at these distances and get used to explaining them to non-runners, or citizens of the USA in general.
Real runners are historians.
Do you know who ran the first sub four minute mile? Of course you do. Do you hear the words “Grand Prix” and actually think of someone nicknamed “Pre”? Not a clue what I’m talking about? Don’t sweat it. While knowing the history of running has very little to do with BEING a runner, it can sure help. How?
RUNNING HISTORY SHOWS YOU WHAT IS POSSIBLE
It wasn’t that long ago that people all over the world genuinely believed that running a mile under 4 minutes was absolutely, scientifically, humanly impossible. Then, in 1954, someone did it. With cameras rolling. And once he proved it could be done, it wasn’t long before elite runners all over the world were running sub-four minute miles because now they knew it was possible.
The more history and background you learn about great, record-breaking runners, the more you realize how possible many of your running goals actually are. Let me share a grossly short list of good running history:
- Wilma Rudolph was crippled as a child but became USA’s first woman to win 3 gold medals at a single Olympics.
- Jesse Owens, unable to eat meals with his white teammates at a segregated Ohio State University, represented the USA at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. In front of Adolf Hitler. And he won four gold medals. Boom.
- Emil Zatopek, considered the greatest distance runner of all time, goes to the 1952 Helsinki Olympics and wins three golds, setting three new Olympic records. One included the marathon – a distance he’d never ran before or formally trained for. Dude.
- Kathrine Switzer was told she couldn’t run a marathon because her uterus would fall out and a race official tried to drag her off the course of the Boston Marathon. She not only finished but went on to create more opportunities for women to run. And still is.
- Billy Mills was a nobody orphan from a reservation in South Dakota who made the 1964 Olympic Team. All throughout the 10,000 meter race, no one pays him any mind until the last lap when Mills wins by .4 seconds. Watch it here.
- It was Roger Bannister who ran the first sub four minute mile. Wonder what he was thinking as he accomplished the “impossible” feat in 1954?
You don’t have to know the stories of previous world record holders to be a runner. However, knowing their stories can give fuel to your spirit when you need it.
Real runners watch running events!
Again, not true. Not necessarily. HOWEVER, if you’re not into numbers or history but you like watching sporting events, there are some great benefits to being a fan of competitive running:
- The “Monkey See, Monkey Do” effect is for real, people. Watch some elite running events at any distance. Notice their form. How they run forward, not up and down and sideways. Watch and mimic.
- Be encouraged by their struggle. Watch the faces of elite runners. Just because they run 5 times faster than you doesn’t mean they don’t feel pain. Running at any pace requires effort. Every runner feels it. So don’t be discouraged when running feels tough.
- Be inspired by their accomplishments. Listen to the post-race interviews. Know their stories. Find an elite runner to cheer for, and appreciate the work they put in to win and break records.
See just how FAST a 100M Sprint is when the world’s best runners do it. Dang.
Some elite runners to follow:
- Alexi Pappas is training to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in the 10,000M event.
- Ben True is set to compete in the 5,000M in the IAAF World Championships.
- Deena Kastor may be considered a Masters runner now, but she is still setting records!
- Usain Bolt. Is he the world’s fastest man? He sure is fun to watch!
- Amy Cragg is looking to gain a spot on the USA Olympic Marathon Team next year.
- Kara Goucher is a pro marathoner who has broken from tradition.
- Meb Keflezhigi is one of my all time fav marathoners.
- Allyson Felix shown above is breaking records.
Knowing what the human species is capable of can help you believe you have more to give. Check out more elite USA Marathoners who are eyeing the 2016 Olympics.
Read the books. Watch the movies.
Okay, so if you’re not into numbers, history, OR watching sports…perhaps you’ll enjoy some couch time with a good book or a movie? Again, the stories of running, weather in written form or cinematic, can motivate you. Stories can inspire. Here is a great list of books and movies, some of which I’ve read/watched. There has got to be at least one here that any book-nerd or movie-junkie would like.
This is an Amazon Associates eStore, which means if you click through and buy something, I’ll get a small percentage for the referral, which in turn supports this blog. So thanks!
All this feel too advanced?