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If I I still a runner?

It's a question I hear often, 'If I walk, am I still a runner?'

I think this is an absurd question, period. End of blog post!....Just kidding! It is a very common question and of course the answer is, YES! You are still a runner!

Sometimes we start focusing too much on what other people are doing. What paces they are running at, what races they are training for, etc. I challenge you to come back and focus on yourself. Stop playing the comparison game, it will not serve you! If anything it will derail you from where you are in this moment. I find that when runners start focusing on other runners' paces, mileage, etc., the comparison game they start playing can be very detrimental to their own training.

Why does it matter if Karen is running XX:XX pace when you are running XX:XX pace? If you are running a slower pace, the only thing this will accomplish is probably promoting negative self talk...which will get you nowhere! I find runners get embarrassed when talking about the pace they run at. WHY? This is your journey, not anyone else's. Be proud of where you are at and know that there is always room for growth.

Strava has become like social media for runners and I think it is awful. I am not on Strava and never have been. It is not because I am ashamed of my running performance, I just simply don't think my performance should be a point of comparison for anyone else. I hear some crazy stories about Strava and how obsessive some people can get with it. If you are on Strava and find that you are constantly comparing your performance to others and it is making you think negatively about yourself or your training, I highly recommend you take a break from this platform! I am not trying to trash talk Strava, it can be very useful for many athletes, I'm just trying to bring awareness to a social issue that exists in the running community.

There is no shame in running slower paces. In all honesty, people who are running slower on most of their runs are actually doing it right! Research has shown that there is truth between the 80/20 rule of training. This is the idea that 80% of your training should be slow easy conversational paced runs and 20% should be hard training efforts. Your easy effort should be anywhere from 1.5 - 3 minutes slower than your 5K pace. So that means if your 5K pace is an 8:30 min/mile, then your easy pace should be anywhere from 10-11:30 min/mile. Do not be ashamed to run slower and take care of your body. Easy paced running gives your body the opportunity to properly recover so you are in the best shape to run your harder efforts.

All this being said, it is perfectly acceptable to break up your running with walking breaks! This does not make you any less of a runner. In fact, many runners use the Galloway method (walk/run/walk) to BQ! The walking recoveries allow your body to recover so it allows you to actually run a slightly faster pace than you normally would have during the running efforts. Walking reduces the impact on your body and can help delay or avoid discomfort and fatigue. Do not be ashamed if you walk during your runs, honestly what does it matter? I have always found the running community to be a very accepting and inclusive community. Be proud of your running, be proud of yourself, and don't feel ashamed to talk about slower paces or walking breaks.

Not every race has to be a PR. Not every training cycle has to be perfect. Have fun with your running. Don't compare yourself to others and be proud of where you are in your running journey. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge how strong of an athlete you are!

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