Runner Ramblings: What Makes Someone a “Runner?”

Running is a natural movement. We were literally “born to run.” (And eat pizza).

Did you know that:

“Most mammals can sprint faster than humans — having four legs gives them the
advantage. But when it comes to long distances, humans can outrun almost any
animal. Because we cool by sweating rather than panting, we can stay cool at speeds
and distances that would overheat other animals. On a hot day, the two scientists
wrote, a human could even outrun a horse in a 26.2-mile marathon.” (New York Times, full article here)

So, as a human being built to outrun anything, I was wondering why it seems that many of us have a hard time labeling ourselves as “a runner.”

Is it because (almost) everyone has the ABILITY to run? Yes, we are not all Shalane Flanagan or Mo Farah, but running is a functional movement that we are born with just like sitting, eating, and jumping. There are always people that are “better” at one thing than the other, but, aside from special circumstances, we all CAN.

So, does this create a huge grey area of when someone is *magically* converted from “human” to “runner?”

MY final answer is that anyone who runs, is a runner.

What does NOT matter: time, pace, distance, size, weight, resources, background…

What MATTERS: you run.

BONUS if you love it! But not required!

I think this is what I love most about running. It is so INCLUSIVE. It brings all sorts of amazing humans together and I am so beyond thankful for this. I have made the best friends and had the best experiences of my life thanks to running and being a runner.

Thank you, running, and thank you, runners.

What makes YOU consider someone “a runner?”

Two (Simple!) Routines That Have Improved my Running

Hi run fam! Happy Monday! What better day to regain focus on your goals! As hard as it is to wake up, I love getting my Monday workout (run) done early. I feel like it’s the kick-off to my whole week.

Before jumping in to the two things that have improved – or shall I say SAVED – my running, I want to thank Lifelong Endurance for coaching me through every step of my running journey and bringing the importance of these things to light. Having a coach has truly been the backbone of my running since the beginning. THANK YOU!

So. Let’s get to it.

#1: The Warm-Up

Warming up. Like, actually warming up. Not just lifting a cup of coffee to the lips and bending over a little weird to put on my shoes.

As soon as I started having this piriformis “issue” that I’ve slowly overcome, Coach actually added a “Dynamic Warm-Up” into my training plan. It was always assumed that I did some sort of warm up, but having it written down, step-by.step, next to my run (in my mind) meant that I actually had to do it. I guess I could only get away with running out the door (literally) for so long.

I used what my coach gave me along with some videos from The Run Experience (great, helpful YouTube videos with running tips!) and curated my own routine for warming up. I make the time to do this before EVERY. SINGLE. RUN. Easy run, speed, work, long run, everything. If I don’t do it, I can tell a difference – even after just one run.

The Warm-Up

Total time < 10 minutes. Picture this happening up and down a driveway distance

  • Little skips down and back
  • 20 high knees down, walk
  • 20 butt kickers down, walk
  • 20 lunges, walk
  • 10 air squats
  • 8-12 leg swings forward and across body, each leg
  • runner’s lunge – circle hips a few times each direction

That’s it! So, really not even stretching but just warming up the legs, body, and mind (especially on those 5 am runs). I truly think this is/has been/will be a HUGE KEY in staying injury-free for me. If I don’t do any movement other than the repetitive one-leg-in-front-of-the-other movement, my legs get stiff and cranky.

#2: One Exercise Other Than Running

Yep. ONE. One exercise (per week) OTHER than running. Getting out of the “running plane” just once a week can greatly improve your mobility and running!

This could be any sort of cross-training – cycling, swimming, kickboxing… or what seems to help ME even more is a NON-CARDIO-based workout. So, that dreaded workout… dun dun dun… strength. Yes, I’m still learning to love it and get comfortable with it, but functional STRENGTH workouts seem to really be helping me. I’m a newbie but just know that if I keep it up, I will only get stronger and faster.

So, I’ve been specifically doing a leg routine prescribed by Lifelong Endurance once a week. It looks like A LOT but the sets go by really quick. An hour (max) is about all you need in the gym for this.


Start with warm-up (leg openers: lunges, step ups on a bench, split squat)

Set 1 – 3 sets of 8 reps each

  1. Walking lunge with weight
  2. Weighted calf raise
  3. Step ups on a bench, weighted with leg raise
  4. Reverse lunge
  5. Single leg cable kick back
  6. Leg curls (hamstring)
  7. Seated leg curl (quad)
  8. Full squat

Set 2 – 3 sets of 8 reps each

  1. Narrow stance leg press
  2. Walking lunge with twist
  3. Hip abductors
  4. Hip adductors
  5. Piston kicks/knee-drivers
  6. Mountain climbers (x30)
  7. Barbell deadlift
  8. Leg curl with yoga ball

I told you – it looks like a lot. My recommendation is to do what I did – just go to the gym (or most can be done even in your living room) and just go through this list and DO WHAT YOU CAN. YouTube it if you need to. Just doing SOMETHING is going to be significant. If you do half this list one day, the other half another day, or just pick and choose from the list.

Obligatory “gym selfie”

Another tip: even if I have a spare 10 minutes in the morning (and the energy!) I will knock out a few that I know I can do at home, knowing I’ll spend less time in the gym later!

THANK you again to Lifelong Endurance for sharing these amazing tips and workouts and for keeping me strong. Thank YOU for all your support!!! Run happy, friends!

What is your favorite non-running workout?

What routine/habit do you “swear by” in your workouts?

Running Little Canada

Hello, runfam!

I just wanted to check in after a lovely week in Minnesota! I got to spend time with family and (of course) get some great running in!

I rounded out the week with 44.4 (AMAZING!) miles and it couldn’t have been a better week.

I ran my first few runs this week in downtown Minneapolis. It was really fun exploring such a unique, beautiful, and surprisingly clean downtown. I am beyond impressed with downtown MPLS!!!

I got to see lots of neat restaurants, the Mississippi River, and gorgeous old buildings and bridges.

The later part of the week I stayed with my sweet aunt in Maplewood, near Little Canada, MN. This is one of my favorite places. Ever.

Everything is so green, lots of little lakes and paths, docks with cute patios, boats, ducks, and friendly faces.

My runs felt great and effortless. When the views are this beautiful and the weather this perfect, it’s just a recipe for feeling unstoppable.

Speaking of weather – it was between 50 and 60 (maybe up to the 70s/80s) while I was there! This Texas gal didn’t even bother with packing a sweater or long pants! Thank goodness for Target.

Thank you to you all for your encouragement throughout my ups and downs, and to Lifelong Endurance for always keeping run fun yet challenging.

What are your goals for the week?

Do you set weekly goals? Monthly? Daily?