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National Running Day

This Wednesday is National Running Day! You may not find it quite as exciting as National Hug Your Cat Day (June 4) or National Waffle Day (August 24), but I think National Running Day is yet another great opportunity to get out there and be active! I know I’ve blogged about running several times before (check out my previous thoughts here, here, here, and here), so I’ll try not to keep repeating myself, but running is such a great health topic that there’s always something new to talk about. Like how do you earn the right to say, “I’m a runner”?

Sometimes “real” runners can be terribly intimidating. You know who they are. The lean, leggy ones who breeze through a quick 8 mile run on their “easy days.” The ones who blow through a 10k race and could then turn around, do it all over again, and still beat you to the finish line. Even if you’ve been running for years, sometimes it can be hard to feel like you have anything in common with people like this. It’s a lot easier to not even try, to simply think, “I’ll never be a real runner.”

The truth is that overall I believe runners are an extremely supportive group. Go to any race (a 1 mile kids’ fun run, a marathon, or anything in-between), and without fail, you’ll see the crowd cheer for the winner. But if you stick around a while longer, you’ll see the crowd (and the racers who’ve already finished) continue to cheer for the middle-of-the-pack runners and the ones bringing up the rear. It doesn’t matter if you’re pulling a 5 min/mile pace or a 15 min/mile pace. You’re still out there. You’re still a part of the shared experience of running, and in that respect, we’re all the same.

One thing to remember about running, perhaps more so than other sports, is that everyone must earn their own miles. Yes, genetics play a huge part in determining how fast you’ll cover those miles, but you are the only one who will directly benefit from your hard work – or conversely, you’re the only one who will suffer if you slack off on your training. Elite marathoners have some of the best genes, coaches, equipment, and nutritional advice available, but they still put in 100-150 miles of training each week (for those keeping score, that means running roughly 14-21 miles EVERY DAY). So whether your goal is to run your first marathon or to run one mile three times this week, if you complete your goal, you can proudly say, “I earned my miles.”

How do you earn the right to call yourself a runner? It’s simple. Just get out there and run. It doesn’t matter how far you run. It doesn’t matter how long you run. Just get out there and run. And then tomorrow, get out there and run again. Keep moving, my friends!

– Alan

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