In the world of the media portraying the perfect body, 6-minute miles and chiselled, mid-20s torsos, what does it really mean to be a runner? The label ‘runner’ really is real-identifying so how do you get feel like a runner when in your head, you may be thinking that you’re too slow, too big or too old?

To put it bluntly, if you run, you’re a runner. 

Running can be a really great therapy for people - that moment when you feel that runner’s high or cross the finish line after a year of training. Whatever your reason for running, there’s always some motivation behind treading the pavements and trails.

The beauty of running slowly

One of my favourite facts is that your starting speed is always someone’s PB pace. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr:

“If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

On a scientific level, running slowly actually increases your oxygen creation by aiding in the growth of your capillaries. This allows for the oxygen in your blood to move to the cells or your muscles much quicker, making you an efficient human machine!

Running slowly also jump starts those power stations in your cells - the mitochondria. Powering these up allows the glycogen and fat in your body to be turned into energy, allowing you to run further and faster in the future.

By staying at a lower pace, it will also allow your body to use fat instead of your glycogen as fuel, which will mean that you’ll be more comfortable on those longer runs!

Try not to get too hyped up in your pace and don’t allow yourself to compare against others in your running community. We all go for runs for different reasons, different goals and different types of training. Focus on yourself, your goals and what you want to achieve.


The slower you run, the more opportunities you have to explore the world around you. I remember my first Marathon - it took me just over 6 hours and I appreciate how slow that is compared to the majority of runners but I loved it. I loved being able to stop, talk to people, really soak up the atmosphere and get the most out of the day. Not only did I get great value for money, I still completed exactly the same millage as everyone else on that day. 26.2 miles is still 26.2 miles, however long it takes.

Big girls (and boys), you are beautiful!

When I first thought about the title of this blog, I only included ‘too big’ as I feel that it’s something I hear a lot, not because it’s something I believe in at all. Running is for anybody, irrespective of size!

To put it bluntly, if you run, you’re a runner.

I love the way that fellow ASICS Frontrunner (@mrs_ led_ runs) put it - having a few extra wobbly bits isn’t a barrier to being active. As always, it’s so important to make sure that you get some kit that really works for you: Do you feel confident? Do you feel able to get out there and smash your goals? ……….great! Now get out there and explore the world of running!

In line with kit, invest in a good sports bra and if don’t be afraid to use balms or creams on any bits that might chafe - it’s not nice!

If you’re new to running or haven’t bought new trainers recently, make sure that you find the right type of shoe. To help with this, you can have your gait analysed, to look how you run and whether you need any additional support.

Running can feel really scary sometimes and it can feel as though people are watching you and potentially judging your ability to run, especially if you have a larger frame. This can be really tricky if you’ve just started and haven’t quite fallen in complete love with running but trust me, it will come. Stay focused on your goals and don’t allow the wandering eyes of others to put you off. You’ll inspire the next generation of runners, showing them that anything is possible…..and you might just enjoy it on the way!

With age, comes experience

Perhaps you may not have the most experience in running if you’ve just started but studies show that runners over 40 are actually the fastest-growing group for running. If you’re a bit older, you (probably) have a bit more maturity in you and you’re able to listen to your body, which is great news for injuries. You’ve got the life experience behind you to know when you’ve pushed things a tad too far and (hopefully) the sensibility to plan your training according to your ability.

Age is simply just a number and I love nothing more, when racing, to look around and see people in their 60s, 70s and even 80+ just enjoying themselves. In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt:

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Of course, take things slowly, as anyone would. Take your time, enjoy the moment and enjoy running for running’s sake.

written by

Jamie Gane

Teacher of Mathematics from Basingstoke

Age group: 25-29

track & field trail obstacle race