Running Impostor Syndrome: Why So Many People Who Run Don’t Consider Themselves “Runners”

By Microsoft 5 Min Read
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What makes someone a runner?

Do you need to participate in organized races like 5Ks, half marathons and marathons? Do you have to run at a specific pace? Is it necessary to travel a certain number of kilometers per week? The answers to these race the questions vary depending on who you ask.

By definition, a runner is someone who runs, regardless of speed, frequency, or distance. However, there are plenty of people who run but don’t feel like they’ve “earned” the label. Experts have dubbed the phenomenon impostor syndrome.

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Impostor syndrome is all too real, but why does it happen?

Chris Bennetta Nike running coach, said Women’s health that impostor syndrome occurs in running, perhaps, “more than any other sport. You never hear someone who plays basketball say, “Well, I’m not a real basketball player” when you ask them.

He added: “When people introduce themselves to me, it’s their name and they suck at running. It’s fascinating to me [running] it’s one of the few things in life that people are immediately negative about, especially something they do that takes courage and commitment.

The tendency to compare oneself to others may contribute to running impostor syndrome, combined with the way running is portrayed in the media (non-strenuous, sweat-free, often glamorous) and the fact that it is often a form of punishment for other sports (along with other negatives). associations).

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OK, but how do you overcome impostor syndrome?

So you’ve acknowledged that you’re dealing with impostor syndrome. And now?

1. Think back to what makes someone a runner.

“I talk a lot about words, and if you look up the definition of raceit says ‘the activity of a runner,’” Bennett said Women’s health. “So, by simple definition, if you run, you are technically a runner.”

And even if you take a break from running or slow down, you’re still a runner!

2. Show up to run as the most confident version of you.

This is a mental exercise that can help you overcome impostor syndrome. Start by imagining the most confident version of yourself and then channel this energy every time you run. It may seem awkward or fake at first, but over time it can help keep those thoughts of self-doubt at bay.

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3. Be aware when running.

Just as you listen to your body by drinking water, monitoring your breathing, or taking an energy gel while running, it’s important to control the “conversation in your head,” Bennett noted.

4. Celebrate the ride.

“Most people don’t move for a variety of different reasons,” Bennett told Women’s Health. “Honor the simple fact that you are out there and moving, much less running.”

So pat yourself on the back for buckling up. You are doing it.

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5. Be kind to yourself.

If you think the “you” in your head means you’re a bully, pretend to encourage a friend. Give yourself some grace if you’re struggling with your running performance after a long day or if you’re tired. Be your own cheerleader instead of an idiot.

6. Focus on the positives.

It’s easy to overanalyze why a run went badly. But making a conscious effort to recognize when you feel good while running or unexpectedly flying down the street can go a long way

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7. Know that you are not alone.

“Running is still super, super challenging for everyone,” Lennie Waite, PhD, sports and performance psychology consultant and former Olympian. “It’s just that people’s limits and thresholds are different, and it can be strangely comforting to tell yourself that.”

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