The Phases of a Running Life

Looking in the motivation section of the Runner's World website, I came across this article by running guru Jeff Galloway. It was too cool not to share. Read and share with me where you fit in!

The Phases of a Running Life

Our running life isn't static, a single note played over and over. It is growth and movement, an evolution from our "birth" as runners to the fullest development of our potential. After those first labored steps, every runner goes through stages, enduring a few "growing pains" along the way. But if you're open to each of these phases, you can continue to benefit from the positive elements of each one as you move on to more rewarding running experiences.

The Beginner

Perched on the edge of a new, vigorous life, the beginning runner is primarily a sedentary person. He or she is impatient with the slow process of weight loss and the almost imperceptible increase of running pace. Filled with exuberance, beginners often push too hard, get injured or tired, and quit, only to restart a dozen times. Though they sometimes struggle to "just get out there," novices eventually learn to enjoy the relaxed feeling running brings. When they start to sense a clearer, more focused mental state on their running days, they're on the verge of entering the next phase. (I'm actually past this stage. Yay!)

The Jogger

Though the jogger may sometimes lack the motivation to start a run, he feels secure with the habit of running. Joggers have begun to feel like part of the running community and may enjoy identification with a particular running event. As joggers enter the next phase, some become competitive and train hard for faster times or challenging events. (I think this is where I fit in.)

The Competitor/The Athlete

There's a competitive streak, often hidden, in all of us. The negative compulsion of the competitor is an obsessive pursuit of personal records or age-group awards. If the competitor can break free from this preoccupation with ego boosts, he'll strive to bring out his best on any given day. This marks entry into the world of the athlete, who pushes through tiredness and discomfort, developing the capacity to deal with adversities in races and in other areas of life. The athlete finds success in every running experience. (I'd really like to move here!)

The Runner

It is possible to have it all. This phase balances the elements of fitness, commitment, competition and mental invigoration with the demands of career and family. Runners have a life apart from running, yet appreciate how running enhances each area of their lives.Intuitively, the runner combines strength, speed, form and endurance with motivation and willpower. The running experience itself confers so much satisfaction that each run becomes a natural expression of who the runner is and what he stands for. (Someday..... perhaps)

As a runner, you can relive the enjoyment of each stage--the beginner's excitement and the jogger's glow of fitness; moments of the competitor's ambition, balanced by the athlete's quest for personal excellence. And for the runner, it's possible, on parts of every run, to transcend the physical experience, letting your mind soar.

If you are running, what stage are you in?


Emily Doss said…
Definitely a beginner...I've started half a dozen times. :)
Yay, Emily. I'm glad you're still trying. Starting is further than some people ever get!

If you can stand it for about six or seven weeks straight, it starts to get better and better. And you might start to love it.
Hmmm...maybe somewhere between jogger and competitor? Though I DO hesitate to call myself an "athlete"! Maybe I'll just skip that stage and go right to the "runner". I do sometimes have that transcendent moments running that make it an incredibly joyous experience. But mostly it just hurts. ;-)
I'm with you reluctant runner. I hate to call myself a "jogger," but I can't say I'm a "competitor" yet. I compete (or at least participate) in races, but if I actually started pulling in some age group 2nd or 3rd places, I might say I'm a competitor. I got first once, but only because I was the only 35-39 year old. Guess that doesn't count!
katieo said…
Well I'm definitely a jogger, but I don't think I'll ever be a competitor (not because of the dealing with adversities part- I just don't seem to care if I'm faster than anyone else). When I do go to the next level, (if ever) I think it'll be runner. (?)