Being a runner has a different meaning for everyone, and not everybody is good at all distances if they are classified as, a ‘good runner’. This may have been the case when we were at school, and you could get a clean slate all the way from 100m through to 1500m on sports day. I remember being on the start line for a 100m and saying to my friends, ‘I hate the 100m, I’m terrible at it’. At this all my friends looked in horror, replying, ‘Hannah you know you will win it, so you clearly aren’t terrible’. They may have thought this but the truth was I was, and am still terrible at 100m. I may have won as I was the only one who specifically trained for running, but in the wider world of running, I am an atrocious sprinter. But why is that? Quite simply, it is because I’m not built for it.
Sprinting requires power and strength. Yes, I would be extremely offended if someone told me I was weak and powerless, as I am not, but the power I possess is on a different scale to those who train to sprint. As a long-distance runner, I do not need this power. I require enough power to sustain a good speed for a long period of time, I do not however require so much power and strength that the weight of it is too heavy to carry. This would only result in me slowing down. The training of a sprinter is guided by power and strength, they wouldn’t go out for a 2-hour run as this would be pointless and extremely difficult for them. It would not build up the muscle mass they require. The training of a long-distance runner is governed by endurance and importantly speed endurance. We want to be fast, but at a sustainable pace. We are leaner athletes. Our muscle mass is considerably less, but we are not skinny. We are lean and strong. Efficiently build if you ask me! No space is wasted.
Sometimes I look at even middle-distance runners, say those who are built for 1500m, and in comparison, my legs are tiny. Personally, I feel as though I have quite muscly legs, but when standing next to a 1500m runner, I merely have twigs. This isn’t something to be ashamed of, or feel weak because of. We are all built differently, if we were all built the same there wouldn’t be the huge range of disciplines and distances that there are! I may not be the fastest going up the hills, or the quickest on the 200m reps, but I can pace myself well and keep going beyond that of others. I get up those hills in a strong manner, especially a strong manner for a long-distance runner. If you give me 1k reps, or simply a long run, I am in my element.
There is no point trying to be good at something you are not naturally built for. No one is built to be good at every distance. There is no point torturing yourself mentally through training for a distance you were never meant to be good at, when you can focus on what you can do. Enjoy what you’re made of, and don’t force yourself to be something you’re not supposed to be.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!