Training for Real Life

This post was actually inspired by Shannon.  Shannon is by far one of my favorite bloggers and I’m not ashamed in the slightest to say that.  Her blog posts nearly always hit home to me.  The particular post that inspired me today talked about how people/bloggers tend to always be training for something. 

I personally could not agree more with this.  Some people are training for a collegiate race…some are training for a marathon…it seems if someone were to say “I’m training for a 5k” there were would be judgment there.  There shouldn’t be, but I can guarantee you there would be.  I’ve said countless times, nothing really on my radar and instead I get…so why are you running now.

Training to be bffers
Training to be bffers (that’s the Father LOLZ)

One of my biggest pet peeves is that once some decides for themselves that they are indeed a “serious” runner they begin training for a marathon. On the internet (and real life really) you are either a runner training for a marathon or not a runner.  Nothing in between without judgment.  I’ve gotten so much rude commentary and crap for saying I have absolutely no interest in running a marathon.  None.  I don’t need to explain myself, but right now I don’t feel pressured or the least bit excited to run a marathon.  So I’m not going to…maybe some day but not now. 

What is a marathon?
What is a marathon?

Yet it seems like that is not normal in the running community.  Everyone is training for something (as Shannon said).  Here is the thing: you are a runner whether you are training for a 5k, 10k, half, full, college, ultras, tr’s…nothing…gym class…whatever.  If you are running, you are a runner.

As someone who is logging over 70 miles, something that always bothers me is when people say “well I’m not nearly the runner because I’m only logging 5 miles a week…ect”


adubs and I finishing her first road race.   My best friend is also a runner.  Did I mention I miss her?
adubs and I finishing her first road race. My best friend is also a runner. Did I mention I miss her?

It doesn’t matter your pace, mileage or anything.  You don’t need to be training for anything to be considered a runner.

Finally if you are training for something and a very intense and rigorously scheduled person that’s great-but just remember that does not mean everyone else is.  We all have our own jives of running, fast or slow, long or show..rundies or basketball shorts…but the thing is…we are all running…training for the Olympics or training for life.

Matt told me real runners don't come to races in Juicy Valour ready to run. I'm once again a fake runner.  I warmed up in this jacket once with my hood up.
Matt told me real runners don’t come to races in Juicy Valour ready to run. I’m once again a fake runner. I warmed up in this jacket once with my hood up.
Seemed like a good photo to post when talking about what you run in…

Question for you: Are you training? 

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  1. I am training always! I usually have no idea exactly what for either. This does NOT correspond ONLY to running either. I ski, I climb, I run, I cycle, I kayak and I do physically demanding work…. and then…. I live.

    Without training, to keep my body strong, healthy, flexible and aware I feel the effects of age and deterioration set in. When I’m presented with stairs, I climb them with conscious awareness of effects.

    Thanks for throwing that out there today Hollie, everything you said is so true and it goes to the heart of attempting to lift oneself up by knocking others down.

  2. I agree! I ran my second ever race at the weekend but before then I hadn’t ran a race for two years. But I still considered myself a runner. It’s a lifestyle, it’s a perception and for me it’s definitely a way of life. I’m really loving races at the moment and hope to do many more, but I don’t need to run races to prove I love running or that I’m a runner!

  3. Love love love this post. Now I do run marathons and am currently training for a plethora of things…BUT I can still relate to this post.

    There’s a chunk of my mothers family that are runners, my aunt, uncle and their children and spouses run, and have done quite a few marathons. I used to SWEAR up and down that I WOULD NEVER DO A MARATHON, because at the time it was not what I wanted, and not something I thought I would consider. In December of 2010 when I registered for my first marathon for the following March, I posted on FB about it. My relatives decided to ask why I was doing it when I said I never would. Because I changed my mind DUH, and I proceeded to say that they were not the only runners in the family (this caused a feud!). For years I was a runner, high school and college, but they never talked to me about running things because I had not done a marathon. It used to royally piss me off, I was a “lesser runner” because of it.

    Whether I am training for something or not, I like to think I treat all runners with the same respect….as in… YOU RUN..SO I RESPECT YOU. I don’t care if you run 3 miles or 50 or you run 6 minute pace or 12… I just don’t care, if you are going out there logging some miles or even one mile, you’re a runner and you’re making healthy decisions.

    It just so happens that for the most part I am always training for something (usually a few months I’m not), but that’s because that’s how I like to be, that’s how I roll and not everyone is like that.

    I admire that you run double the miles a week as me, and you aren’t training for anything specific like I am. You are a rockstar. Duh.

  4. I was/am totally training fir a 5K- I’m a shitty runner and slow as molasses but, you’re right, I’m still a runner! I’m guilty of not feeling like a runner unless I have all my race countdowns on the side of my blog… which I’m sure is annoying to everyone else, but eff them because they make me excited to run!

  5. Nice post… I agree.

    It is also so frustrating when you don’t have an upcoming race and are ‘just’ running and people act so puzzled. More so though, the if you are not training for a marathon you are just not hard core enough. HATE when others say “JUST” a 5k… “JUST” a 10k… I don’t think people really someone running a speedy shorter race can actually be more impressive than finishing a marathon.

    Oh well. Not going to convenience most people otherwise so we will just run on… 🙂

    1. YES! I do not care for that either. For you it might be “just” but for someone else it might be something they have been working hard to complete!

  6. Good post! Honestly I run to run and if I find a race to do great! If not you can still find me running. Whenever I have a race I don’t really change up my running routine, I run 2 during the week and usually go for a long run on the weekends. If I don’t fee like running I don’t. Oh and don’t even get me started on ppl wanting me to run a marathon. Its not for me, back off it what I would like to say to them!

  7. I actually am training for something right now (it’s a special race that I want to PR, I used my last 10K as a benchmark for how to train), but you make a great point.

    I honestly believe this is a blogger thing. In my real life running club with real life runners who don’t blog, we have plenty of people who aren’t training for anything. It’s just people who show up 3x a week to work out with other ladies or guys they are friends with, sometimes we do take 6-8 weeks to dedicate and “train” for a specific race, sometimes we just jump into a random 5K because we like running. Most of us in the running club I’m in just run when we can and race when we want to. Sometimes people run 10 miles a week or take 5 days off running, the next week that person might run 25-30 miles. That’s life.

    It bugs me when someone says just a 5K. I know someone who routinely does this… every distance has its challenges. If you’re like me and fast-twitch muscle less, a 5K is pretty freaking hard to be “just” anything.

  8. I agree with you. Sometimes, I get intimidated with all their posts. Their training for a race after race. Makes me feel like I’m not doing something to have the right to call myself a runner. Thanks for this post. Made me realize that every runner is different. We have our own ways. I love to run but I don’t need to sign up for races after races to prove that. I felt better now.

    Thanks so much!!! 🙂

  9. Great post! I am training for a marathon but that doesn’t make me better than anyone. I applaud any person who gets off their ass and does any kind of activity- running or not simply because they want to or like to. A race shouldn’tsn’t give someone entitlement. There is always someone better faster stronger than them… unless they are an Olympic athlete. Even then there prob is.

  10. I WISH I was just running to run. I’m not a fan of racing at all. I know that’s not the norm but I enjoy logging the high mileage and just running when I feel like it without worrying about speedwork or hills or pacing. I just want to run. It does drive me crazy when people say they aren’t runners because they are only training for a 5K. Maybe they only want to run a 5K! I “only” run a 5 or 10k for track and I still consider myself a runner. My roommate always asks me if I run marathons during races. Um no. That would really suck doing I don’t even want to know how many laps around a 400m circle. I’ll save that for when I am bored of the half marathon distance.

  11. you’re so right about people who are judging and people who are “training” for something, I also love your perspective on it all 🙂 great attitude

  12. Great post! I have never run a marathon. I used to work at a running shoe store and when I told customers, they would look at me like, how could you possibly work here without marathon experience? How can you give advice if you are only training for a 5k? Running a fast 5k is just as hard as running a 10k, mile, marathon, etc. and everyone competing in all those events is equally a runner.

  13. Oh yes! Thanks for saying this. Makes me feel pretty good to read a high-mileage gal (to me) say this. I do feel not so legit as a runner because of my lame self getting injured right before my 1st half and still not bouncing back to any sort of mileage that I’m proud of. You rock my socks today Ms. Hollie.

    1. Girl please! You could be running 1 mile every other month and I’d consider you a runner ;)! I can relate to injury plague but I know you’ll make it through! 🙂

  14. I think this is so true, people immediately ask me if I have run a marathon or plan to when I say I am a runner. Like you, I kind of don’t have a marathon on my radar right now. We all do what feels right for us

  15. It took me a long time to see and consider myself a ‘runner’. And I have run a marathon! But I’ve finally accepted that I am a runner cause I ENJOY it. I do it when I can, if I can’t-so be it.

    I am ‘training’ for a half right now. But realistically-the mileage is real low right now and I might be injured. But I’m still a runner 🙂

  16. I’m really baffled that people are being so rude to you for not running a marathon – most of the people I come across (including other runners who favour shorter distances) tell me to stop running them (because they’re bad for my knees and will ultimately give me a heart attack, apparrently :P)!

    Distance is not a measure of running worth. I like longer distances, and I am motivated to train for races because I am an inherently competitive person. Running without a chance to compete would be no fun for me at all…same with running slowly, but I can’t do much about my poor pace (or ‘won’t’. Same difference :/) I’ll state if I think a certain pace is slow or fast (and people who get all precious and butthurt about it really need to grow up) but I’d never criticise someone for not running a marathon.

    Running, say, a sub-19 5K is infinitely more praiseworthy than just plodding through a marathon just to say you’ve done one (I think lots of bloggers are guilty of this), for example. Running a 1:25 half like you have? That’s worth a dozen mediocre marathons. Screw anyone that thinks otherwise.

    Incidentally, I know if you wanted to you could get a 3:00 marathon (if not a 2:xx), for sure. But I totally respect you for not wanting to do that right now.


    1. And incidentally, Olympic sprinters are runners and technically they have to only run 100m 😛 If only it were that easy!

    2. The problem with some bloggers is that they get offended of what may be an easy pace for some is not an easy pace for others. I do agree though, a shorter explosive 5k is much more of an accomplishment (in my opinion) then say a nearly dead, injury plagued marathon.

  17. Love this post. I also think that some, if not most, bloggers write to the story they want people to read. It seems they’re all the time training for something or another, but it might not all be true. Yes, I’m cynical.

    I’m not training for anything right now, but it will start picking up soon as the Dumbo Double Challenge looms closer.

  18. I was vigorously nodding my head as I read this – there can be so many snobby attitudes out there and I just don’t get it. I don’t give a fig how many miles you run in training or what distance race you’re training for or if you’re not training for anything at all – if you run, you’re a runner.

    Maybe I’ll take a lot of flack for saying this, but I think any reasonably fit person can finish a marathon. So I guess I don’t get why it’s this holy grail of running status or whatever. IMO it’s way harder to run a “fast” anything than to just finish a marathon – regardless of what pace “fast” means for you.

    Anyway, a friend of my mom’s runs like 100 mile weeks and never races. Never. No 5Ks, no 10Ks, no marathons, no ultras. He does it because he just loves running. To me, that’s beautiful – that’s who I want to become as a runner.

    1. I agree with that statement (though not doing one, I can’t really agree I guess). Anyways I could finish a marathon right now but I’d rather train and finish it correctly and good for me personally.

      Wow your moms friend is seriously awesome!

  19. I am training for something (well two somethings at the moment): a marathon and a half Ironman, but I DEFINITELY do not think I am better than anyone else who is training, or not training, for something. I do like a structured plan, but even I have become more flexible with my own training (triathlon training helps with that too).

    My mom is a runner as well and she has only run one race (and she’ll do it again this year with us): the Seneca7 relay. She isn’t the kind of runner that “trains” for things (although she does say she has races, but with her own times and not in an organized fashion, haha) and I still consider her a runner, actually a very good and fast runner (faster than me). My MIL bothers me because she is the kind of runner that feels you have to be training for something, or at the very least racing. She would probably be snobby about training for a 5K, which Mike and I did do when we first started running. (She even said a snotty comment about my mom and her ONLY race, which resulted in a fight).

    “If you run, you are a runner…” – John Bingham

  20. I just started reading your blog and I really appreciate this post. I’m certainly not the fastest runner. My fiancé who runs less than me still runs faster than me but my speed or mileage doesn’t define me. What defines me is the actual act of getting out there and running. Thank you for reminding me of this. : )

    1. I’m really glad and thank you. Speed and mileage doesn’t define anyone. I know some people that can run a 20 minute 5k on 10 miles a week….while others need to run a whole heck of a lot more. One of the reason I like running so much is that it is different for everyone!

  21. I’m so with you on the marathon page! Maybe one day I’ll tackle 26.2, but I have no interest or desire to for a longgg time. I am training for some triathlons now (I really need to sign up for some road races!), and I’ve noticed this race preparation has spilled over to other areas of my life–I’m so much happier, more outgoing, and generally more fun to be around when I’m swimming, biking, and running regularly. 🙂

    1. With all that you do right now, I can’t even think of wanting to do a marathon really. We aren’t forced to do anything being out of college so it only makes sense to train for what interests you. 🙂

  22. I totally agree with you on this post! I felt like a “true” runner whenever I began running–not when I started training for a race. I do want to run a marathon… and an ultra… but that’s because I actually love long distances. I respect other’s need for speed in shorter races. As long as people are happy, who is to judge?!

  23. I freaking love this. Sometimes I feel bad about myself because my daily mile only says I run like 7-10 miles a week. But then I think about it, and first off, I’m like, well I also swam twice, and road at least 2 hours on my bike, and I lifted twice, too. And then, I’m also like, well it’s my life and I do what I want. And then I’m like, it’s better than watching the movies I watched while sitting on the couch and eating ice cream. At least I can watch movies and ride bikes. Multitasking my way to weight loss. (What the heck am I even saying. Someone needs to control my mind).

  24. I am not training for anything and rarely ever am. But I still consider myself a runner! I, like you, don’t have a lot of interest in running a marathon. Something about running for four hours and feeling like crap just isn’t appealing. I’d rather run for two hours or less and still be enjoying myself and feeling good! Ten miles is my favorite distance and its what I like to run!

  25. Training for a fast 5k is way more complex and demanding than training to finish a marathon. Hell, a 5k, raced hard, hurts way more than a marathon, when all you do is go and go until the finish line shows up. Race the distances you want to race and ignore everybody.

  26. I’ve noticed this trend as well. I’m not a runner, and even back in the day when I was doing some running, I was always hesitant to call myself a runner because I wasn’t quick and I wasn’t logging any sort of impressive mileage… or at least I THOUGHT I wasn’t because of all the “real” runners I read about on blogs. I struggled with running a lot, and constantly reading about how easily it seemed to come for others just discouraged me and I gave up on it. Now the only running I do is when I’m jaywalking and cars are coming 😉 But in all seriousness, sometimes I think about taking it up again.

  27. Interesting post.
    I’ve never “trained” for a race in my life even though I’ve been running for years. Halfs are the perfect long-run distance for me right now. I don’t train for them because, well, at this point in time, I’d rather just join a half a few days before on a whim.
    That’s why I think running is so cool!
    If someone thinks that means I don’t qualify as a “runner” I don’t give a rats patootie.
    Sucks for them 😉

  28. Aaaah I totally agree! I personally think that the difference between being a runner and not being a runner – just running does not make you a runner. training for races does not make you a runner. If your’e a runner, that implies that you define yourself (partially of course) by running – it’s a meaningful part of your life, and it shapes how you go about your day. Heck – I haven’t run a step in two years, but I am still a runner. If I weren’t a runner, I wouldn’t have bothered with surgery. If I weren’t a runner, I wouldn’t be monitoring my nutrition and trying to sleep and doing silly-looking physical therapy things every day. If I weren’t a runner, I’d just be exercising – not living my current life in a way that sets me up to return to running healthily.

    And like you, even when I was healthy and running (which contrary to popular belief was most of the time – this is my first injury lol. go big or go home I guess) I raced very infrequently. I didn’t run in order to race a certain distance or a certain time – I ran because I loved it, because it’s part of me. Sure, I ran collegiate track and cross-country, sure I did a couple half-marathons – but I never trained for them, I just did them because it was fun to go away for a weekend with my best friend and run a race. But that time on the team, those races – they aren’t what make me a runner. My desire to get out there every day, the passion I have for just the simple act of running – that’s what makes me a runner. That’s what makes anyone a runner – not your pace, not your mileage, not how much or whether you race.

    Anywho. Sorry for the novel, but I totally feel this post. I think we see this a lot in the blog world because so many people decide to tackle a goal – a race distance or a certain qualifying time – and want to document the journey in a blog. Which is awesome! And it’s actually why I started my blog in the first place (and then….FAIL lol)! But racing alone does not make someone any more of a runner – in fact, running a race doesn’t make you a runner at all – it’s the passion behind it that makes you a runner. Like, if you could never race, would you still want to get out there every day?

  29. This post hits pretty close to home for me because after mid-April I’m taking some much needed time away from training “for” something. I’ll do enough to keep my base mileage at a decent level to train for a fall half, but otherwise my mode of training will be completely different this summer than the past few years. And if I decide to go for a PR in a 5k this summer, I’ll gladly shout that I’m training for a 5k!

  30. I am so honored that you think highly of me! Thank you for this post because I hope it hit people and made them think. I just started running, I am not planning any races in my future (my school’s 5K yes but that is just another run and I will be doing it for a different reason- remembering those lost). You don’t have to run a race to enjoy running. If I get one run in in a two week period I will be just as happy if I got 14. Training seems to add stress that I don’t want or need. I like being a relaxed runner.

    p.s. I love all of your race day outfit planning, so fun!

    p.s.s. all of your pictures in Texas on instagram are making me so jealous!

    1. AWE! To this entire comment. I’m glad you enjoyed it and I hope so too. Like I said at one point when we were chatting, it took me a long way of injury to come to this point but it was necessary I think.

      Wish you could come to Texas! 🙂

  31. I deal with this ALL. THE. TIME. I run almost all on trails – I participate in trail series – I direct a trail series – and people cant understand the difference – Last night – ran the hilliest park in Rochester – all ice or mud – tons of elevation – it took over an hour to go 5.5 miles… people call that slow….When we hit the road and headed back to the car from the park we were running just under a 7 min pace…. but yeah…5k, marathon, road race, trail race.. running is running to me!

    1. Exactly. I could write a whole post on trails versus roads but there is a certain percentage of people that probably still would not understand. I also know those Rochester trails are no joke…as to why I never come that way to run LOL. 😉

  32. Great post, Hollie! We all have different aspirations and what I want to accomplish as a runner doesn’t diminish what you as a runner want to accomplish (and vice versa). I think that’s something we tend to forget. A lot of times when we get around other runners it turns into a pissing contest. Fabulous, you’ve ran x-y-z or you’re training for x-y-z, but don’t make others feel less than adequate because they don’t want to do what you’re doing. I do tend to say I’m training only when I have an event coming up, the rest of the time I’m just running…..because I want to. 🙂

  33. Great post! Last week, I introduced myself and mentioned that I do triathlon, but in fact, I haven’t raced a triathlon yet. But I am swimming, cycling and running, and I do a lot of this with a group of triathletes that have raced everything from a sprint triathlon to the ironman hawaii. I love training, and I love triathon. The only reason why I haven’t raced yet is that I just started in the fall. Does this mean I am not a triathlete? And why on earth do I need a race to define myself as one. However, the question I received is if I did an Ironman, and when I said no, the next question was “did you at least do a marathon”. Nope, I haven’t. I would love to do one, but I don’t want to rush. The reason I am doing this is because I love the training, and I don’t see the need of ruin it with rushing into these races.

  34. AWESOME post Hollie! I couldn’t agree more, and I can’t believe people are so ignorant! A lot of professional runners have periods when they just “run” and aren’t specifically training for a race! And I personally think that running a fast mile or 5k hurts more than a half marathon! Although I do say that having only run one half… 😉 Right now, I’m training obviously, but not for a specific race and THAT’S COOL cos I’m a runner and that’s just what I do 🙂

    Hope you’re having a fab time in Texas!! <3

  35. Great post as always, I am “loosely” training for a 5K. I say loosely, because I’ve never ran in my life and this is all brand new to me. I have totally fallen in love with running and even if there isn’t a race on the horizon, I hope to continue to run for many more years!

  36. I’m always training – and I’m crazy intense and structured, ad I o dumb things like marathons. But I also train for 10km, and whatever else I feel like. AND when I call a gym member who hasn’t been in for a month and was working out twice a week in hoped to lose a bit of fat, we still call that training. My idea of ‘training’ is working towards something – whether it be a 5km, running your first km, getting out of a wheel-chair, or even, shock horror, child birth.

    I trained doing body attack. I wasn’t a runner until I started, you know, running, but I still trained when I went to the gym.

    Great post, and I’ll take it on board and try to be less intense at the world 😉

  37. Ahhh you are so right! I’ve never really thought about it before, though… But, yeah, it often seems like the only way you can count as legit in the blogging world is if you have a marathon on the horizon. YOu have to be talking about those 20 milers and what you’re going to eat for your taper time and when you think you’ll be able to BQ. Ugh. I have to admit though, I guess I’m not as thick skinned as you… I’ve let it creep into my brain that I should tackle the 26.2. Reading this really helps, though! Thanks for helping me get my perspective back!

  38. My body just does not seem to tolerate training. I def wouldn’t be considered a true runner if training for/completing a marathon is the criteria. OH WELL.

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