After Anna guest posted for me about being a non-runner, I was at dinner with some friends and one of the guys there said, “Can we talk about your friend’s guest post? How does this this girl not think she is a real runner? She’s run multiple 10Ks. I’ve never run a race, and never more than 4 miles or so, but I run every morning. Am I not a runner?”

Another person commented on the post and called out Anna’s comment about “plodding” along at a 9 minute pace and the readers said that she runs 10 minute miles, and still considers herself a runner.

The label “runner” is something I’ve often thought about over the years of my running life (17 years and running! heh, couldn’t resist). I’ve never struggled with the label “runner” even when I was running 2-3 minutes per mile slower than I do now.

However, I don’t consider myself a Yogi since I don’t practice consistently. And for a long time I didn’t consider myself CrossFitter since I didn’t Rx all the workouts. (Rx means doing the weight prescribed in the workout; I typically do less.) But I’ve always considered myself a Runner.

I think this raises two questions:

  1. Why haven’t I struggled with the label runner?
  2. Why do we need to label ourselves at all?

I think the answer to #1 is probably because it’s been a part of me for so long, and for so long, it’s all I knew. My mom has run for nearly 50 years and I started running when I was 14 or 15 because she ran. Being a runner is as ingrained in me as the other values she instilled in me. (Love you Mom!) I didn’t run on any teams in high school or college, but I still always considered myself a runner.

I’ve run to challenge myself. I’ve run to clear my head. I’ve run to heal heartbreak. I’ve run for the pure joy of running. I’ve run to manage stress. I’ve run to feel like myself. 

Yoga and CrossFit are things I do because I enjoy them and they’re good for my overall fitness and they make me a better runner. But they don’t necessarily fit the checkbox of “I do this to feel more like myself.” And maybe that’s where the labeling — or not — comes from. Does it make you feel more like yourself, regardless of how “good at it” you are? 

But why do we need a label at all? I think it’s a way we identify ourselves and how we organize ourselves into communities, and those can be great things.What I don’t like is when people withhold labels from others… “She’s not a real runner because X.” or “He’s not really a CrossFitter because X.” If you want to call yourself something, you should! You don’t need to meet anyone else’s standards but your own. (Unless you’re headed to the Olympics, but pretty sure we all missed the boat on that one. Unless you happen to be an Olympian reading this, and then HEYO!)

When friends or blog readers have told me over the years that they’re not a “real runner” for whatever reason, my response has always been the same:

“If you run, you’re a runner.”

If you run, you're a runner. (1)

What are your thoughts on this? What workout do you most identify with? Do you label yourself as anything? Is there something you struggle to label yourself as?

2 comments // by Teri [a foodie stays fit]

M – CrossFit

  • Front Squats: 5×3 at 135#
    • My quads were soooo sore by Tuesday night!


  • MetCon for time. I finished in 15:14. 
    • 800m run
    • 21-15-9
      • Pull-ups
      • Shoulder to Overhead (RX 95#, I did 55#)
    • 800m run

T – 7.5 mile run, solo (8:05 pace)

  • I ran my last mile in my new Newtons! I needed a new pair of shoes to rotate in with my Brooks PureConnects and Adidas Adizero Bostons; I’ve wanted to try Newtons for years, so I bit the bullet, even though they’re kind of pricey. They recommended that I ease into them since the running style is a bit different. I loooove how bright they are. 🙂 I got the Newton Motion V in my usual running shoe size. I’ll do a full review of them once I put in some more miles. Initial reaction is very good!


W – 4.5 mile run with Ali (8:45 pace)

Th – 3 mile run, solo, in Raleigh (8:45 pace)


S – 4.2 mile run with Alise (8:25 pace)

Su – 8 mile run with Allison (8:15 pace)

Total miles: 27.2 miles

How I’m feeling: My legs actually feel pretty good. Thursday’s run was AWFUL, but it could have been the fact that it was super hot (I ran about an hour later than normal), that I hadn’t slept well, and that I was running a hilly, new-to-me route while I was in Raleigh (more on that later!).

I also feel like I might be getting plantar fasciitis. I finally bought some birkenstocks (the Mayari style) to wear around the house and while walking Maizey so I have more support. My floors are concrete and I’m typically barefoot or in my Jack Rogers…not the best!

I’ve also been trying to focus on recovery a bit more. I’m wearing compression socks after long runs and I foam rolled Tuesday night. It was so dang uncomfortable, but I ended up doing it for 30 minutes because it’s strangely addicting once I start. I’ve never had full compression socks (only calves sleeves), but I really like these full socks from Swiftwick. And the price point is way better than some other brands I’ve seen.


On another note, I’m so grateful that I suddenly have a number of running friends to meet up with during the week. I love that they get me out the door earlier than I would on my own (or oftentimes I’d just skip running altogether without them). Plus, I’ve seen some amazing sunrises lately!



Your turn to share: Do you wear compression socks? I’d love to hear your experience with them or any other recovery methods you swear by.

5 comments // by Teri [a foodie stays fit]

Hey guys! I’m handing over the blog today to Anna from Curious and Curiouser. She and I met about 5 years ago through a mutual friend – Anna went to college in Alabama with a girl I went to high school with in Utah, and Anna and I both ended up living in Winston-Salem and our friend Olga connected us. Such a small world! I hope you enjoy this post from Anna who is a casual runner and isn’t even sure if she calls herself a “runner.” I think the term “runner” is something many of us have thought about and wondered we fit that title, and her perspective on how perfectionism plays into this is super insightful. I loved this post!


Well, hello, lovely readers of A Foodie Stays Fit! I’m so excited to be posting on this awesome blog today. (Thanks for inviting me to be a guest blogger, Teri!) When I got a text from Teri asking me if I’d contribute a running post to her blog, I’d actually just finished a run. Or, rather, a “run.” You see, I have a hard time calling myself a runner. I’d like to be able to confidently name myself among the committed and inspiring runners out there, but I just don’t feel like I’m one of them.


Here are three of the main reasons I don’t feel like I qualify for the title of runner:

I don’t run regularly.

I enjoy running (sometimes – more frequently now than in earlier years), but it’s not my main form of exercise. I’m a Pure Barre addict-turned-instructor, so most of my workout hours are spent either getting my #ltb on at the barre, or helping other people get their workouts. I love everything about Pure Barre (more on that here), but do like to supplement my barre time with other forms of exercise. Most regularly, that means incorporating spin classes, the occasional yoga flow, and – from time to time – running.

I don’t run fast.

I know I don’t have to be a fast runner to be a runner. And I also know that part of the issue stems from my infrequent running (as mentioned in the first point). But regardless, it’s not always fun to plod along at a nine-minute-per-mile pace.

I don’t have a running community.

Having a group of people to run with and to keep you accountable to running is, of course, not a necessity to being a runner, but I feel like most of the legit runners I know surround themselves with others who love to run, at least in some context. I feel pretty insecure about my running “skills,” and so I haven’t pursued a group atmosphere.

That said, I did run five 10K races last year, between last spring and this spring. That felt good (and, truth be told, those are the five ONLY times in my life I’ve run six miles). My times were even sort of respectable (all of them were under an hour, which was my goal).


And I have been running more recently, now that the sun’s coming up earlier. It’s not uncommon for me to come back home after a 6 a.m. Pure Barre class (as either a client or teacher), throw on my running shoes, leash up my dog, and hit the sidewalk for a (not-so-quick) two to three miles. That has felt good, too.

The thing is, I like to be good at things. I have a tendency toward perfectionism for sure, and, if I’m not careful, it’s easy for me to fall into the rabbit hole of negative talk when I feel I’m not at my best. And I’m NOT great at running. For a long time, that meant I wanted to stay away from it altogether.

More recently, I’ve started to let myself try to enjoy running, even without being awesome at it. I’ve focused on how energizing the time with my thoughts can be. How it’s a wonderful way to include my pup in my exercise. How it’s something that sometimes feels like torture but other times – when I take the pressure off – is actually quite enjoyable. How it’s something that’s different – and that’s good – from the other things I do.

So, am I a runner? I don’t know. And these days, I’m okay with not knowing. My slightly ambiguous relationship with running is one that’s working for me. I plan on running more races in the future (the 10K is feeling like a good race length, but maybe there’s a half marathon in the cards for me eventually), because they make me feel motivated and accomplished and part of an inspiring group. I’m going to keep lacing up my Nikes, putting in my ear buds, and seeing where the road takes me. Call it whatever you want.06E773C6-8B2C-4252-B613-BEC2410D64B5

See? Such a great post! 🙂 (And I love Anna’s writing style.) I would love to hear from you guys on this topic – do you struggle with calling yourself a “runner”?

5 comments // by Teri [a foodie stays fit]

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After my post about my body before and after CrossFit, a few of you commented that you’d like to see how I how I fuel for workouts while eating gluten free but not Paleo. I’ll do a post dedicated to the topic in the future (hopefully soon!), but in the meantime, I’ll start sharing some of […]

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