Everyone runs or has run earlier in their lives. When we were kids and played in the schoolyard, we did it very naturally. Most of us also had gymnastics on the weekly schedule during the school years where we played soccer, handball, etc. However, it is not all who identify themselves as a runner. There is a type of runner that uses running as a tool and another type that identifies oneself as a runner. How to distinguish the runner type in a Marathon or just on shorter distances are what this article is about.
The Purpose of Running
If we look at runners in general, we can distinguish whether running is a means or an end in itself. Is running a part of a strategy to achieve something else, like losing weight, a better appearance, achieving social prestige, etc. or is the primary motivation that we enjoy the activity itself – about the joy of running for its own sake? Purpose and means can rarely be separated.
One Type Uses The Body As a Tool
With the running sport’s characteristics, we see that the running activity is not always enough in itself. Thus, there is a large group of runners, who identify themselves by running. In that way, running is no longer only a sport – but a lifestyle.
We could distinguish between whether you rationally with your common sense give reasons for your running habits, or you on the emotional and physical plan just cannot stop running.
In this context, it is important to emphasize that you both have your body and are your body. If you talk about having your body, you express that you use your body to e.g. maintain your current good appearance, in optimization of performance or like running for charity, where you put yourself aside for a higher purpose.
In this way, you look at the body rather as a tool, which you have to nurture and maintain to operate for you.
Another Type Uses the Body as Who You Are
When you are your body it’s an expression that all realization happens through the body. The physical being, presence, and well-being are central. It’s about physical sensations in the body, which often are personal.
But Comments like “I feel a restlessness in the body if I have not used it” or “I feel a mental well-being when I run” express body awareness. To describe body awareness and special experiences, we often use terms like “flow” or “Peak experience” as you may have heard about before.
Get Into Flow state
Flow is a mental state an optimal experience, a harmonious state that may be sought by willpower and focus. It happens after hard work with consistent training over a period of months and years.
Thus, in long-distance races, you can reach a stage where you know yourself so well, that you can adjust speed and distance in proportion to your actual level and experience the flow state. A peak experience is a very high and extraordinary state of happiness.
In long-distance running, it is common to describe this state as “runners high” where we feel a kind of euphoria. Most long-distance runners have at some point either during training or during competitions, experienced runner’s high.
It is an extraordinary experience where the runner so to speak, runs into another state of awareness the sense of space and time repeals and the body feels light and effortless even in the middle of the strongest efforts.
You feel you can run forever. It’s just as if the body is put on autopilot. You are quite relaxed but work optimally both physically and mentally. It may be a state, where there is a balance between mind and body.
While it is relatively easy to learn the flow experience during training, it is not everyone that experiences this state of runner’s high. It can be pursued consciously, but you cannot control or predict when and whether it comes. It comes to us as a gift – suddenly and unexpectedly.
How to Handle Pain as Runner
When it comes to the mental challenge in a Marathon race there are also two psychological ways to handle/Tackle pain as shows up when it gets tough. You can try to dissociate it, which means to distract it by thinking of something other than painful and negative thoughts.
If you run with a friend you can talk to him or you can focus on the music in the earbuds. However, you must be aware that pain has different levels.
If you’re untrained for a distance as a marathon or it’s your first one, it can be difficult to interpret and know the pain signals and the limit for what is justifiable about the pain and whether to continue at the same pace or just walk for a while or at least slow down the pace.
Good Shape – You Can Associate The Pain
You can also choose to associate the pain, which means going into it – be it – feeling it and coming out on the other side. Focusing on pain can often cause it to decrease or even disappear completely. But It’s necessary to be experienced and in good shape to be able to push yourself through the pain limit.
At the competition level, it is often the very small margins that separate the best runners from each other. The ability to go into the pain, take up the fight and eventually overcome it is a precondition for reaching the top. If you are in good shape, knowing your body during many years of running it doesn’t really matter that the body screams in pain.
The pain is not necessarily a sign that you have no more left in the tank. A winner doesn’t look at the pain as an enemy but as signal that it is time to connect the reserve tank. Through training, you can learn to see the pain in this way and hereby learn to know it and welcome it without anxiety or fear.
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