What Kind of Runner Are You?

Is this prime running weather or what? Which begs the question: are you a casual, fairweather runner or do you lace up those shoes as part of a something bigger—a way of life? Find out here

I don't know why you started running. Maybe to lose weight, to compensate for eating fried food and beer, to de-stress, to meet a goal, to escape a rabid animal? They're all great reasons to start, and I’m of the mindset that if you ever run—no matter how long or how far—you are a runner. BUT... there is a distinction. There are casual runners and those who continue to run year after year, race after race, for one reason: they caught the bug.


If you’ve ever heard a runner give their running testimony (yes, they are prone to do that), they likely mentioned how and why they started running and when they caught the bug. Catching the bug is that moment when some internal switch is flipped, and running is no longer just a form of exercise, but a way of life. The fact that running as a sport is on the rise—Running USA found the number of road race finishers has nearly tripled in the last decade—may prove that the bug is spreading.... 


How do you know which kind of runner you are? Check it out: I've noted some classic symptoms—if any apply to you, beware, you may be infected with the running bug:


  • * You strategically plan your runs, like a non-negotiable work schedule, and track the results (miles logged, distance, time, etc.)
  • When you’re not running, you like to talk about running… a lot. (Beware: this may annoy and alienate non-running friends)
  • You go to extreme measures to fit in your run. You run before the sun comes up, after the sun goes down, in the rain, in the heat, it doesn’t matter.
  • You skip or rearrange social engagements because you need to run.
  • You have in your home a stockpile of gu, gel, chews, or some other form of your go-to “fuel.”
  • You own a foam roller.
  • Your loads of laundry are at least 85 percent running clothes, 15 percent regular clothes.
  • You own a running watch.
  • You’re always training for some upcoming race, be it a 5K or a marathon, always chasing that elusive PR.
  • You say things like “PR” (personal record).
  • You go on a weekly long run.
  • * "Rest" (as in you’ve hurt yourself and need to take some time off to rest) is the worst kind of four-letter word. For you, not running is the hardest thing.
  • You have a subscription to Runners World magazine—aka the runner’s bible.
  • Somewhere in your garage or closet, you have a pile of old running shoes.
  • You have a running blog (ummmmm...).


Negative side effects? Sure, there are a few. Excessive running can lead to blisters, shin splints, knee injuries, and loss of toenails. But it usually comes with a healthier lifestyle overall—for instance, you will likely drink a lot of water and watch what you eat because after all, you have that race you’re training for…


If you haven’t yet caught the running bug and are looking to avoid it, here’s my advice: avoid races. Lots of contagious, bug-infected runners at those things and once you have that post-finish line high, you become highly susceptible.


So what do you think? Are you infected? Got any symptoms not listed here?