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Within the context of running marathons, I consider myself a runner, but I often wonder what makes a runnner a runner (as opposed to a jogger or something else). I've seen some articles and discussion on this in Runners World and other places that try to put a running time on this as a determinant. And I'm slooow. I can break a 5-hour marathon, and am working on breaking 4:30, but I doubt I will ever break 4:00. Forget Boston (until I'm too old to care maybe). On the other hand, I run 30-35 miles every week. I participate with a training group (someone has to tag along at the end!). Am I not a runner? Maybe not.
What separates a runner from a jogger, to me, is a sense of improvement. I am betting you track your mileage in a training log and note improvement, whereas a jogger goes out and runs and just does it to stay in shape. They get in their thirty minute jog and they are good. A runner has a plan. They are going to do this workout today, and they are getting ready for "X" race. George Sheehan said, "The only thing that separates a runner from a jogger is an entry form". I have nothing against joggin, but I prefer to be a runner. I don't think you have to put a time requirement on it. Being a runner is a mentality.
Act like a horse. Be dumb. Just run.
- Jumbo Elliot
Smile, it confuses people.
I've noticed this seems to be coming up more and more. Personally, I think it is up to the person to define what they are/aren't. I run because I love it - no training plan involved. To me having a training plan would make running more like work (I have to run "X" miles today/this week; I have to cross train "X" days; etc.). I run where, when and how I feel like. To many that makes me a jogger which is fine by me. When I line up (at the back of the pack) for a race, I know I will have fun. It's all good.
Joggers run for fitness, run the same course, and do not strive to improve. A runner runs competitivally, against themselves, their abilities and their fastest times. A runner always strives for improvement and is up for new challenges, such as new courses. A runner also runs for the sake of running not for fitness, to lose weight, attension, or anything else.
Pearl Izumi has an interesting (and rather polarizing) take on the subject: http://www.wearenotjoggers.com/home
I happen to think that being a runner isn't a speed issue, it's about being willing to put in the effort and time needed to prepare your body to perform at a high level. Being a runner means having a purposed-based training plan (utilizing a variety of different types of runs) for achieving your goals. Being a runner means heading out the door on days when your body is tired and the weather is poor. Being a runner means rehabbing through injuries and setbacks, not giving up. Being a runner is about pushing your body and seeking continued improvement. Steve, it sounds like you are a runner.
My dictionary agrees with you; "to move swiftly on foot so that both feet leave the groundfor an instant during each stride"; and it has this to say under jog; "to run in such a way for sport or exercise"- clear as mud. I guess I'm both.
Heading out the door when tired/weather is poor - check
Rehabbing through injuries; two knee surgeries, one vascular surgery - check
Pushing my body - kind of check
Training plan - Whoops!
I would add; runs because he/she likes to - check. There is something about that little extra you give at the end of a race or tough training run that I can't describe to my non-running friends and family. Hey, I may not be a runner to some but I agree with Jay. Steve, sounds like you are a runner to me.
Wow -- read the Pearl Izumi bit -- running at the speed of chit-chat? I'll never by their shoes! (just kidding). Very polarizing. So as I read it, I have a plan with a mix of tempo, interval and distance runs (marathon training) which increase over time, I often run when I don't feel like it, I never take enough time off to let injuries heal, and, my feet do indeed both leave the ground occasionally during a run! I guess I'm a runner, though I absolutely do chit-chat during my long runs. Otherwise I would be bored to tears. And I'm slow as molases. Sometimes I feel like a runner; sometimes I don't.