While chasing after personal records can be fun, not all runners run to race. There are runners that don't typically follow a training schedule and enjoy runs of a variety of distances, for the simple love of running or just to stay in shape. Occasionally they may run a race for fun, or even to push themselves a little that day, but the time on the clock isn't the end goal. Training for life is.
Whether you are a runner depends on how you want to define yourself. It isn't a set amount of miles, it isn't a time on the clock, it's not whether you race or not, or if you even have the desire to improve over time.
Maybe you find yourself wondering - am I a runner?
Do you like to run? Do you hate to run but do it daily anyways? Maybe you are a speed demon naturally and do it for the calorie burn or maybe you just do it because you believe it will make you healthier overall. Whatever you particular reason is for running, it doesn't matter. If you run, you are a runner. That's the beauty of running, we don't all have to be the same to commit to calling ourselves a runner. Running is an inclusive sport that can be started at almost any point in your life. It is a title or a description that can come and go as we choose.
Here's my logic:
If you play basketball regularly to stay in shape are you a basketball player? If you want to be you are. It doesn't matter if you are good at it, or if you hate it. If you play and want to consider yourself that then I believe you are a basketball player. If you decide one day that you don't want to play basketball anymore, you can be a former basketball player, or someone who use to play basketball or you can consider yourself a basketball player, though you haven't played recently. It's all up to you!
I from time to time walk instead of run as my workout for the day. Am I walker? Technically speaking, I guess I am, however I do not define myself as such. In my eyes, I'm a runner because that is where my passion lies and how I have decided to define myself.
My daughter plays soccer. She enjoys it and it is her most frequent form of exercise. She plays soccer and considers herself soccer player, so she is one. There is no set of criteria she has to meet to consider herself that.
I consider myself a marathoner, I've run 29 of them. If a time comes when I decide to hang up my marathon shoes and run races of shorter distances, I still will consider myself a marathoner. I've decided that's a title like runner that's sticking with me for life. I love running, but some days I don't particularly like it. Some years I run for personal records and other years I run to keep my fitness up. It took running a marathon for me to consider myself a runner, though I'm sure I could have defined myself as such long before that.
Do you consider yourself a runner? Why or why not? If so what did it take for you to consider yourself a runner?