Defining Yourself as a Runner & 5Ks

I am a member to the Team Disney Facebook page, and last night there was a debacle about the newly announced Virtual RunDisney 5K events. This post has more to do with new runners/5Ks in general and not so much about RunDisney. However, the issue was brought to my attention, that other runners may or may not be dismissing 5Ks, or new runners goals altogether. I personally have only met encouraging people out in the running community, but after reading the Team Disney post it made me wonder if new runners feel like they aren’t a ‘real runner yet’, or feel their goals aren’t good enough.

A family member of mine just recently got back into running, and we were talking about it. I had mentioned how happy I was for her that she is now a runner. Immediately she responded that she didn’t feel she was a runner. For any of you newbies out there, I’m here to tell you if you are out there busting your butt off, you are a runner. In 2015, I got back into running, preparing for my first 5K (it’s the photo in the post lol). Even those months before my race I didn’t have an issue saying I was a runner. I kept it simple: I was running, hence I was a runner. I didn’t feel guilty calling myself one either. Identifying yourself as a runner doesn’t need to be based on how many miles a week you run, your pace, or what races you’ve completed. Please don’t let seasoned runners make you feel intimidated, because I’m sure if you talked to them, they would be very excited for you! Being a runner is simply your love and enjoyment of running. 😍

One Team Disney member stated that she has felt many other seasoned runners have the attitude ‘Oh! You are doing just a 5K?’ Most of the running community is very welcoming to new runners. But if you do feel others are trying to squash your accomplishments in running, do not listen. Everyone is on their own running journey. I did an internship in the fall at The Villages Health Community Center, implementing the Couch to 5K Training Program for older adults. I had a great group of 65-85 year olds, who all started as beginner walkers. Throughout the 9-week program, many of the participants struggled with walking/light jogging 1 mile. When they met their goal of 1 mile, 2 miles, or 3 miles, who was I to say ‘oh that’s all you walked?’ No! I was ecstatic for each of my participants when they made their goals each week. That sort of encouragement from me, and their peers helped push them to challenge theirself even more. We all go at different paces, and we all have different goals. No running goal is lesser than another. For those of you out there, and are new to the running community, I want to tell you I am rooting for you! You’ve got this!

Running a 5k is no joke for me or any new runners. I have run half marathons before, and 15Ks, but let me tell you, I feel just as exhausted completing a 5K. A 5K comes with its own set of challenges. During a 5K usually you are going for speed, and that’s hard stuff. Gosh, the heat Florida also never makes 5Ks easy. I am the runner that feels running 10 miles at a slow, steady pace is easier than running a speedy 5K. Like I Said everyone has their own running journey. Ignore negativity, and believe in yourself. 😄

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Totally agree! I’m in the same group, but didn’t see that post. Sometimes I don’t feel like a real runner because of my pace or because I do run/walk intervals. But, the facts are that I’ve completed 28 half marathons and 2 fulls. I’m horrible at distance training, but I at least work on consistency, so I’m out there running. Therefore, I am a runner. Everyone needs that reminder sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Vicki says:

    Gosh, that’s sad! Here in the UK parkrun is really popular – they’re free, organised, timed and officially measured 5k runs which take place in local parks in many, many towns at 9am every Saturday. They’re awesome ways for the running community to get together and have fun – over 5k. The one I go to is usually ‘won’ in about 18 minutes by young men who can cover 5k in about 8 strides. It’s like a mixture of cheating and natural selection. Then every week there are a bunch of Couch to 5k graduates, completing their first ‘mass’ run and proud simply to be able to complete. No participant ever comes last – the course is populated by volunteer marshals who cheer every participant along, and there is always a tail runner, to make sure nobody gets left behind and nobody is last. Then there’s often coffee and cake afterwards. It’s a wonderful way to start the weekend with a friendly, enjoyable run in your running family. And it kind of means (I hope) that there’s none of that ‘only 5k’ ethos in the running community. We all love parkrun…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sarah says:

    Great post, I have been running for 5 years now and even though it’s sometimes odd to identify myself as a runner because I don’t have the “runners build” of long lean leg, its something I should feel proud of because it has been my greatest relationship, it’s given me goals, helps me stay healthy and has shown me that I am capable of more than I ever thought possible.
    You might like this article by Lauren Fleshman-She won the 5000 at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 2006 and 2010, and she’s represented the U.S. at the World Championships three times-

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I will read it. Already the title has me intrigued!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pink Runner says:

    Thanks for the positive energy. I sometimes fall into the “am I still a runner?” if I haven’t signed up for anything recently. I’ve completed four marathons… I’m a runner, right!?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brilliant post! 🙂


  6. My mom once said to me that a 5k must seem easy now (once I told her how long it was, like I have to tell her with every race distance). I said no! A race is always hard, because you’re RACING. In some ways I think 5ks are particularly hard.


  7. liebalouisa says:

    I love the message, it’s true. As long as you’re out there running, you’re a runner. I have been criticized for saying I’m a runner even though I don’t race often, this post is uplifting. 🙂


  8. Simon says:

    It’s indeed very easy to push yourself much harder on shorter distances. If you don’t care too much about competing it’s not too hard to take a bit more time.


  9. Well said! As a new runner I doubt myself a lot. I struggle, then I ask if I’m really a runner. It’s good to read encouraging words like this.


  10. Reca says:

    Well said. Last year when I was still trying to do a 5k without a walk break I had a hard time calling myself a runner. And that was before I learned you could do intervals and run as fast (slow?) as I do. I’m just happy to see people getting moving, I don’t care what’s motivating them or how fast they are.

    Liked by 1 person

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