Thursday, September 1, 2011

Running Body Image

You all know I just did my big 10 miler this past weekend.  While trying to recruit friends to run it with me, one of my friends told me she “is to fat to run with all those skinny, in shape people.  That statement made me really sad and I began to think—I hope this does not hold a lot of other runners back from entering events. 
While saying that, I can understand the feeling.  When I first joined my gym, Strictly Fitness, I felt very out of place.  I would look around and see the skinny girls trotting away on the treadmills and ellipticals and see the buff guys on the weight machines.  I felt very out of place!  Once I went a few times I started to feel more comfortable.  No one there cared how out of shape I was or how over weight I was—they cared about getting their own workouts in.  The people I have met at the gym are always encouraging and congratulating me on my successes. 
The same thing goes for the races I have entered.  Runners, as a group, are usually very supportive of each other.  For example, in my 10 miler on Saturday, I was in the very back of the pack.  I was not last…but close to it.  Even though I am not as fast as them, there were lots of other runners cheering me on at the finish line.  The same goes for my very first race ever, the Baltimore Women’s Classic.  They made the last person who crossed the finish line feel just as great as the first. 
I still have my insecure moments, but running gives me a really positive body image.  For one thing, I have seen some positive changes in my body.  I have lost some weight, but I can also see where I have added muscle, especially in my quads.  When I am having a particularly insecure moment, I think of what my body can do.  I can run 10 miles too, just like the skinnies.  My 10 miles may not be as fast as them, but what matters is that I can do it!  
There is always going to be someone skinnier and faster.  I try hard not to compare myself to other runners.  I try not to compare my body to them.  I do compare myself now to myself in the past.  That is what running is all about for me—not beating other people—but betting myself! 
How has running affected your body image?  Do you hold yourself back by insecure thoughts?  How do you overcome them? 
A dream is a wish…

You all know how much I love Clif and Luna.  Here is a link to a cool (free) program they have, and they will send you free samples! 


  1. Originally, I didn't like running at times when there were a lot of people out. I would run early in the morning so that way there weren't so many people out to see me running. Even though they were perfect strangers, I still didn't want to see them.

    Keeping a steady workout schedule and diet has helped me because as my body's changed, so has my perception of it. Yes, I'll never be size 0, but nor will I ever want to be.

    Plus, it's not your size or how fast you run that makes you a runner... it's the effort you put in. If you go out and run... you're a runner.

  2. I have to admit, I used to have the same mentality as your friend. I always thought I was too out of shape to do anything athletic. So, when i finally decided to start running, it was a HUGE deal. After running my first 5k, I never thought I would have the endurance or ability to run anything longer- I mean, that 3.1 miles nearly killed me. And then something happened, I started liking running. And I decided to do 13.1 miles. Crazy!

    I am a bigger girl and I do run. I may not be fast, and I may not even be able to run the entire 13.1 miles, but I will still finish. And that's the important part. Running has helped my body image SO much- not just because of the weight loss but because I know I'm doing something I never expected I could and that gives me so much strength and confidence. Tell your friend to try and run anyway- she might surprise herself!

  3. So true! I still battle issues with body images since I am and always will be a bigger girl. But that gives me more reason to be proud of myself since I am able to go to the gym and go out and do my runs with more poundage than the average person. Running is running, and it is not prejudice.

  4. I agree. There will always be someone better, faster, stronger. It's the desire and passion, to be a better person.