I have heard this so many times. “I don’t have a runner’s body, I can’t be a runner.” It makes my heart hurt every time I hear it. All at once, I want to launch into a tirade and hug the person.
Here is what I have to say to that:
- Can you run? No, I’m not asking if you can run a marathon. Can you run? For a bit? Even a little? Can you try? If you answered yes to any these questions, YOU ARE A RUNNER.
- A “runner’s body” is not a thing. You have a body, and it can do stuff. Stop putting yourself in a box. Your body doesn’t have to look a certain way to be loved, successful, or good at something. It certainly does not need to look a certain way to start something new either.
Now I know what you are thinking. People who run often are lean. People who run a lot are athletically built. Yes, that is true. And yes, some people are just genetically blessed in certain ways. However, there are about a billion other exercises/sports/recreational activities in the world that are good for you exercise. Is being in good shape going to aid your speed as someone running races? Of course. So those people running races are naturally going to train hard and eat right if they want to run certain paces – which will achieve their body having higher muscle mass and less fat. BUT – let’s not ignore the fact that a boxer is going to do the same thing.
It is true, if you look at a distance runner and sprinter, we’ve got two very different body types.
These are also professional athletes. So they are going to be extreme. Their bodies are a function of what they train for. Do you think that Lauryn Williams (the sprinter) came into the world with defined muscles? No, she had to WORK for them. She exercised and ate in a way that grew those muscles.
Lauren Fleshman recently posted a pretty eye opening and amazing series of photographs. Please go read the full article here. In the same week, the two photographs below were snapped.
On the left, she is flexed and moving at a fashion show (notice the good lighting). On the right, resting and relaxed. They look like before and after pictures don’t they? But they are not. The point is – don’t trick yourself into thinking you have to look like the photo on the left to start running, or to be a good runner.
Your body has a natural happy set point. If you eat well and exercise well, your body will find that point. Like I mentioned in my National Eating Disorder Awareness week post, I think balance and moderation are one of the hardest things to master.
There has been a trend recently about body positivity, and I am 100% in support of it. I think it is fantastic that blogs like Fat Girl Running are being featured. She is a bada$$! No one should have to look a certain way to do something. Women’s Running also recently featured a plus size model on their cover. She is a gorgeous girl who successfully runs often.
I hope this trend of accepting all body types continues, and catches momentum. I know it has helped me.