Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Runners vs Joggers

"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."

One of the Undefeated Running readers emailed me this weekend to ask me, "What I had against joggers?" Even though he considered himself a runner (a Boston Qualifier and long distance runner even without a race) he felt that I shouldn't exclude joggers. He is right.

I need to clarify the Undefeated Running view of a "runner" vs. a "jogger".  To me, a runner is someone that simply loves to run no matter how fast or slow they are going. There is a difference between a runner and running; and a jogger and jogging. A runner can jog, a jogger can run, both can walk and a walker can at least jog, right? So it is about mentality when running or jogging that makes one a runner. However, this person made me realize that if someone hasn't found their running consciousness yet we should help them find it instead of excluding them from the club.

Personally, I am a pretty slow runner and I was even slower when I started running... some, most and I would even say I was jogging. For the first year of my running career mentally, I was a jogger too. I wasn't really into it and I was doing it just for health reasons. After about a year I noticed a shift in my consciousness. I started setting goals to reach longer distances (6 miles, 7 miles, 10, etc).  I became a runner in the most beat up moments when I would think to myself, "There is no way in hell I am stopping." I never stopped. After a while I started to love "the run" and the challenge it posed. That is when I became a runner. A runner loves "the run", the challenge and the struggle you must overcome. Was there always a runner inside of me or was it something that I created from jogging? I believe it was always inside. You must love the journey more than the destination to be a runner.

What about runners that are joggers in a fast disguise? It seems that when most people talk about a jogger vs a runner it is a one way debate about whether or not slower runners are considered runners. There are many fast runners out there, even Boston or NYC Qualifiers who are joggers. Are you and your emotions attached to your watch? Is it all about the finish line, the medal or the bragging rights? Let go of the timing, pacing, and heart monitoring devices, water bottles, extra gear, organized races and the ego (at least for a handful of runs a month!). Run for the sake of running. Like my new friend Sam (the one who wrote to me) said, "I can run 26.2 anytime of the week-I got it on my route."

Becoming a runner made me a better person. Undefeated Running is here to bring out the runner inside everyone.

"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."