Defining a Competitive Runner

Happy Tuesday!

I am enjoying a low-key morning before I have to go into work. So low-key I might not even run. (Gasp, I know.) For some reason I was really motivated to run last week, but this week I’m not. I think it has to do with the fact I really wanted to run 50 miles last week, which I did, and then going into this week my mentality was “eh, I’ll just run whatever I feel like.” This is not normally something I would do, and I am definitely using my pregnancy as the excuse. I’m okay taking a few days off here and there, but I start to feel lazy if I do it too often.

This past weekend Craig and I had a 2nd house warming party. We had our first house-warming party back in November, but then the seller’s realtor contacted us in December and offered to host a house warming party. I told them we had already done one, but they said we could do a second one. D’Ette and her team came over with Hawaiian-themed food and served a nice meal for our guests. It was so nice not to have to prepare food on top of getting the house clean and ready to show off.



When I was running with a friend last week, she told me she doesn’t classify herself as a competitive runner because she isn’t “that fast,” an elite runner, or someone who finishes in the top X percentage at races.

Yet I definitely do see her as a competitive runner. She:

– continually strives for new PRs.

– trains on a consistent and regular basis.

– follows a plan.

– gets frustrated when an injury arises yet doesn’t give up on running.

– runs year-round with minimal breaks.

– qualified for Boston in her first marathon!

In your opinion, what defines a competitive runner?

The individual who qualified for the Olympic trials in the marathon?

How about someone who qualified for Boston?

Does a competitive runner run at least so many races per year?

Is it their goal to achieve new PRs?


Of course there is a lot of “gray” to this topic, but I did think it was interesting to think about when she mentioned this during our run. Please comment below on what you think defines a competitive runner. I definitely think someone who is dedicated in their running (runs on a consistent basis), wants to (and works to) achieve PRs, and enjoys running can be someone who defines a competitive runner.


8 responses to “Defining a Competitive Runner

  1. I agree with your definitions above! I think you have to have a constant drive and ambition to maintain that competitive edge as a runner. I’ve gone through highs and lows in my several years of running marathons…and some seasons I want to really kill it and race every race and PR all the races and then sometimes I just enjoy running for the sake of running and more for my sanity. We’re all different though and also…being ‘fast’ is relative…that is why I love the running community so much…for it’s diversity.

  2. i agree with you…there’s definitely a gray area between different types of runners but it all comes down to your attitude. in many other sports we say that that people are competitive by virtue of the sport (because it’s competing against other people/teams etc.) running, especially when you aren’t on a team any longer, can be harder to think of that way but i agree with you–it’s all in your attitude and goals!

  3. It’s like the “Are you a runner?” question, if you have to ask, the answer is probably yes. You are a competitive runner even if you only compete with yourself.

  4. I love your kitchen!
    I think the term “competitive runner” is different than “being competitive” as a trait.
    I associate the term with someone being in the top of the running spectrum, not necessarily OQ but certainly at the top of most races, maybe a specific AG%, etc.

  5. I am jealous of your amazing kitchen as well!

    I think I have a similar mindset as your friend. I never consider myself competitive for the same reasons as your friend when I look at myself and then look at other runners. I think I am competitive with myself though. So, I guess personally, I am a competitive runner, but generally, I’m just a normal, average runner who loves to push herself when she can. I don’t think I am any less of a runner because I don’t compete to win races, that’s for sure. I just don’t think of myself on the level of people who finish with record-close times, if that makes any sense. A good topic though and yes, there is a lot of gray area for interpretation!

  6. To me “competitive” just means that you care about your times & performances & actively do things to improve them (train consistently, follow a plan, race semi-regularly, make a real effort to eat reasonably well, etc.), as opposed to someone I’d call a “casual” runner (runs mainly for fun/health/relaxation/social aspects/etc, unconcerned with time, rarely/never races).

    I think both are totally valid — they just have different focuses. I think “competitive” is about your personal outlook/attitude towards running, not how fast you are. I know many mid-pack/slower runners that I would still call “competitive” because of the things I mentioned above, and a couple of pretty speedy ones who I would call “casual” because they just don’t care about training/racing/time & run whatever distance they feel like, whenever they feel like it.

  7. I never come in first at races, but i’m always competitive. My heart rate increases before a race and i’m always trying to run the guy or gal in front of me down.
    So, no trophies, but i’m a competitive runner. 😉

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