How to class someone, either as Runner or Jogger is an age old problem with no solution that is satisfactory to all. Its a Problem that Ive read about in the past, and at the time the solution that i liked the best was 'I am a runner because I say I am'. So I wanted to look at what lead me to start seeing myself as a Runner instead of a Jogger.
I started Jogging in 2010 to get fit, to give myself time to think, to burn off frustration and nervous energy... and it worked really well, You can read about how i got started jogging here. I had entered a few races and was enjoying myself, but i didnt consider myself a Runner. Even after i bettered my 10k PB, or when I ran the Cologne Half Marathon in an injured friends bib i still though of myself as a Jogger.
For me the feeling came in the begining of 2011, I was training for the Vienna Marathon, doing lots of Aerobic training, and my pace at a comfortable effort was improving rapidly. I guess for me the feeling of being a Runner rather than a Jogger is linked to pace. Both the ability to run at what i consider a fast pace, and the desire to continue to improve it.
Those initial reasons I had for jogging have now become secondary. It doesnt mean that I dont still need them, just that now ive come to accept them as what seems like a guaranteed side effect of running. So why have they become secondary? Well basically running has helped me get my life sorted out, its helped me become someone i actually like being rather than that sad, angry, depressed guy i was before.
I guess i could have decided to just continue jogging and use my spare time in some other activity, if it wasnt for that interesting aspect about running. Ultimately your allways competing against yourself, which really appeals to my personality. Now the primary driver for my training is to improve my current performance. To achieve the performance goals that I am setting for myself. Basically most of my running now is running for runnings sake.
But what exactly was it that got me to start to feel like a Runner? When i think about it there was one standout training run during my training. It was an Out and Back 20km route that id started using for Marathon Pace training runs. I Remember one day being about 15km in, looking at my Garmin and seeing that i was cruising along comfortably at a pace under 5:00/km. I remember thinking to myself. 'Wow, now your running Paul.' That was the moment that started me on seeing myself in a different light. Seeing myself as a Runner.
And at the end of the day, how you see yourself is the most important thing, and thats why i like that definition of Runner. 'I am a Runner because I say i am!' If you see yourself as a runner then you are one, at least in my books.