Move It Monday: Own Your Distance

by tinareale on September 9, 2013

***Fall session of Best Body Bootcamp starts TODAY!
Registration still open through the week!***

As you may know, I will be heading to Nashville this month to participate in the Women’s Running Series race weekend in partnership with FitFluential. The original plan was to aim for my sixth half marathon along the many hills of the Nashville course, sight seeing along the way, amid a fun community of women.

As you also may know based on blog posts or my Instagram feed, I’m not running near as much as I used to run and certainly not near enough to have adequately trained for a half marathon. Well, that makes sense considering I have chosen to drop to the 5K option.

Distance running is no longer for me. For many reasons.

own your distance

I can’t keep battling a recurring injury. It just won’t quit and at a certain point that tell tale ache in my ankle always reappears. No matter the amount of sports therapist visits, sports massage sessions, or KT tape purchases I have had. That’s not worth it to me.

I can’t have something that interferes with other workouts…workouts which are my job. My body needs to function well to perform workout video demos for my BBB participants and to run through the workouts to make sure they are as quality as possible.

I like too many types of fitness. Variety in my workout routine makes me feel so good. I was getting tired of having to plan my workouts around a race training schedule. I do enjoy running, but I finally realized I don’t love it at the sacrifice of the many other things I also want to regularly do.

I would rather use my time differently. Training for distance races is a huge time commitment. I know it’s doable and have done it before, even during a more loaded schedule. Yet right now I like not spending a large chunk of my kids’ school time running, then having to cram other tasks in while they are at home. Or using precious weekends for long training runs. I’m seriously impressed by the people who train and balance it all, but it was adding unnecessary stress to my life right now.

Sadly, even though I know the decision is best for me, I have let it rob some of the joy and anticipation of this upcoming race weekend. I felt anxiety that I wasn’t enough of a “runner” anymore. I feared judgment of “only” doing the 5K and still taking part in such an experience. I got stubborn about thinking I should still do long distances.

I know I’ve heard it before and likely even said it before – if you run, you ARE a runner. Yet somehow I couldn’t believe that of myself. Until I decided to own my distance.

I AM a runner.


I am a runner who honors my body. I am a runner who knows my limits.I am a runner who also strength trains, does yoga, and loves my workout DVDs. I am a runner whose goals have changed. I am a runner with no goals and just a desire to do purely fun races. I am a runner who will smile along those 3.1 miles of hills in Nashville a few weeks from now.

I AM a runner. I own my distance. I own my style. For me, that’s shorter distances, less training, and if I do a race it’s just for the low-key fun of it. For you that may be multiple races (even half or full marathons) a year and serious PR goals. Or anywhere in between. After all, if there is one thing I have learned since becoming a runner…we’re a pretty supportive community, wouldn’t you agree? Power to each of us.

Now you tell me…what’s YOUR distance? Or do you own not enjoying running at all? Because that’s cool too.

For more info, tips, inspiration, and discounts for other races from Women’s Running Series, be sure to follow WRS on Twitter or follow WRS on Facebook! You can join me September 28 in Nashville TN by using code FITTNTINA for $10 off your registration. Or check out any of these great options from WRS!


1 Linz @ Itz Linz September 9, 2013 at 6:52 am

great post (& great jacket! hehe). i love how you OWNED the fact that you ARE a runner! runners don’t have to run certain distances or certain speeds… as i started my running journey, it took me awhile to actually consider myself a “runner.” i thought i wasn’t fast enough or wasn’t running long enough, but once i embraced the fact that i was a true runner, i felt insanely more confident… even on days i only ran one measly mile at a slow (for me) pace!

2 Heather @fitncookies September 9, 2013 at 7:11 am

Such a great post, as always. I love that you are listening to your body and decided to switch, though you never had to defend it to us! I completely agree with you! I feel the same way as I train for something. I love doing more than just running, and sometimes can’t fit in all the training. Love this <3 I'd say my running is more like 5 miles. I feel great with that :)

3 tinareale September 10, 2013 at 7:10 am

Thanks, heather! And I didn’t really feel like I needed to defend it. Just wanted to share the thought process I had in case anyone else was still struggling with it themselves. We’re all too hard on ourselves sometimes, huh? ;)

4 Miz September 9, 2013 at 7:15 am

I love to run.
if my child and a game of FREEZE TAG is involved.
and I now know that is JUST FINE TOO.


5 tinareale September 10, 2013 at 7:10 am

Definitely. I hated when I had any pain and felt like I couldn’t just run around pain free with my kids. Knew i needed to let it go then.

6 Dana @momrunshalf September 9, 2013 at 7:17 am

I needed this post today. I did a half on Saturday and was feeling the same way after. I hadn’t trained as much as I should and was hurting after. I am thinking that I will be done with half’s after this fall and just start running again for the fun of running.

7 lindsay September 9, 2013 at 7:40 am

you ENJOY running you are a runner. And you appreciate running a minute or 60. It’s about the passion. Great post friend and keep listening to that heart of yours!

8 Coco September 9, 2013 at 8:04 am

Really great post! My distance is 10 milers, and I feel so much pressure to do the popular half marathons. But, I’ve never finished a 10 miler and wished I had another 5k to go! Now I’m having similar issues as I am biking and spinning more — running is taking a back seat although I am maintaining my base. You are such an inspiration in all you do, and having seen your BBB demo videos, I know you are incredibly fit and strong, so whatever you are doing is working for you! ;-)

9 [email protected] September 9, 2013 at 8:09 am

I’ve got Morton’s Neuroma 3 weeks ago today. It’s much better, I’ve no pain now when I workout and walk which is great but I’m still off running. I would have said 10k was my gold distance and I had my sights on half marathon having run a few 10milers without too much bother and then I got injured. This post is so pertinent to me right now is kind of scary! Having a lot of the same thoughts. Is it your Achilles that is at you in your ankle?

10 tinareale September 10, 2013 at 7:12 am

It’s peroneal tendonitis (inside ankle/lower calf area) that always get me. Due to hips out of alignment that won’t go away (probably from kids since its the same side I had issues with sciatica and stuff bad).

11 Brittany @ Read, Run, Repeat September 9, 2013 at 9:14 am

I am so excited that today starts BBB!! I have missed it so :)

I needed this post today. Sometimes I definitely feel like less of a runner since I don’t put in long runs or run long distances! I also have injuries that have plagued me since I ran in HS, and sometimes the pain just isn’t worth it!! Right now, I’m a 5K runner too– and I’m totally cool with that :)

12 Kim September 9, 2013 at 9:21 am

I’m so glad that you were able to make peace with your decision!!!
I love the idea of owning your distance. I love to run but years ago, I made the decision to quit racing (for the most part) in order to just run – it was the best thing ever for me! When I first started blogging, I struggled with that for a bit – I didn’t feel like a runner since I wasn’t training for a half or a marathon. Then I remembered, I run for me and not training keeps me healthier than training ever did!!!

13 Beckett @ Birchwood Pie September 9, 2013 at 9:28 am

I loved this post! Right now because of my schedule, I can only do 3 mi runs, and recently I’ve had to cut down to 3x/wk to make room for strength training. There is never a reason to push it to the point of injury.

14 Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food September 9, 2013 at 9:29 am

You are definitely still a runner! I struggle with the same thing sometimes…I like to do so many other things that it is hard for me to solely work on my running all the time!

15 Georgie Morley (@init4thelngrun) September 9, 2013 at 9:43 am

Your honesty and self awareness are so awesome and admirable. You put this perfectly – that because you love other kinds of working out why rob yourself of other joys just to do something that you aren’t loving.
It just goes to show that once size does NOT fit all and there’s no reason not to love every second of your workout/life.
Plus 5ks are awesome! (oh and they’re a much further distance than sleeping in)


16 tinareale September 10, 2013 at 7:13 am

Love that last line – further distance than sleeping in. Ha! And so true. :)

17 Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers September 9, 2013 at 9:59 am

I hear ya! Running isn’t for everyone. And even if you’re able to run, distance running isn’t for every runner. You’ve gotta take care of your body – it’s the only one you’ve got. Sounds like a wise choice to me!

18 Rachel @RunningRachel September 9, 2013 at 10:05 am

My happy distance is the half marathon. It is doable to train with kids… yet challenging enough to work hard for. :)

19 Erin G. @ Treats and Sneaks September 9, 2013 at 11:24 am

I actually recently posted something similar to this! I HATE running, but I kept trying to be like “everyone else” in the blogging world and set my goals as if I loved to run. Doing so made me feel discouraged because I wasn’t meeting “my” goals. Finally, I took step back and said, “it’s okay if I hate to run so long as I exercise!” Now I’m doing things I enjoy (like strength training via Bodypump and your Best Body Bootcamp – yay today is the first day!!!) and I’m happier than I’ve been in months.

20 Laura @ Mommy Run Fast September 9, 2013 at 11:43 am

Aww, love this! You are a runner- absolutely. It’s definitely hard to accept that your body isn’t going to do what you wanted it to, but you’ve found ways to have both- a whole variety of fitness, and a runner as well.

21 Stephanie @ My Freckled Life September 9, 2013 at 1:35 pm

How do you always manage to take my tangled bits of thought and put them into words?? I’ve totally been struggling with this same thing lately. I am running this half marathon next weekend and people keep commenting on me being a runner and I ALWAYS respond “no, I’m not a runner at all.” I dont know why I keep doing that, because I AM a runner. I may not be the fastest or run the farthest, but I am a runner. Great post.

22 Heather @ Better With Veggies September 9, 2013 at 1:56 pm

I think one of the toughest things is figuring out what you want to do. Isn’t that weird?! I was talking with Kirk about this over the weekend, since I feel odd not wanting to do long distance endurance stuff right now. I’m enjoying my 30 minute cardio sessions. I miss the places you can go running further, but not the actual running further part. And that’s okay!! :)

23 tinareale September 10, 2013 at 7:14 am

I think that’s me too. I miss being out on the greenway or running through parts of pretty areas…but not the running. Just the peace and scenery and such. I love that we’re both on the same page with this so suddenly this year.

24 Janice September 9, 2013 at 2:26 pm

I totally understand where you’re coming from. As our lives change, so do our priorities and the things that bring us enjoyment. Over 10 years ago I defined myself as a marathoner, then after kids I defined myself as a half marathoner, but even my enjoyment of a long 90+ min has fizzled out and lately I’ve been more of a spring triathloner. Next year I’ll go for the Olympic distance with a few half marathons and a few sprint tri’s thrown in the mix. After that I think I’ll spend some time focussing on functional strength: TRX and Cross-fit. I’m getting kinda bored with the long distance stuff and truthfully, as I age all it does is make me too hungry to control my appetite ;)

25 Marla-Deen September 9, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Love it! I so know where you are coming from! Running just doesn’t help my body these days and can keep me from other workouts I need and love. Maybe it’s a Season and things will change. It used to make me feel like “not a runner” or a bit of a failure since fitness is my “job” but I think we all figure it out. Glad you have!

26 Vanessa September 9, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Thank you for this post. I’m getting ready to start training for my second half marathon, but I’m really not sure I like running. It hurts. And I am super slow. But maybe I do like running, because when I can’t (due to pain/injury etc.) I find myself wanting to be out there. The only reason I started running was for my daughter. She can’t run, so I run. (I will post a link if anyone wants to read more.) Anyway, I still hesitate to call myself a runner because I still do a whole lot of walking. I’m sometimes embarrassed to tell people I “ran” a half marathon when I honestly can’t do a 5k without doing some walking. After all this rambling, this is really the only thing I know – the feeling I had when I crossed the finish line of the Disney Princess Half (with a sad time of 3:20) was incredible because I had just done something amazing for my daughter.

27 tinareale September 10, 2013 at 7:16 am

Oh, Vanessa, you ARE a runner and an inspiration! And the story of running for your daughter is so incredibly touching. Of course, still do what fulfills YOU. That may or may not be running. And for what it’s worth…even if running really is something you love it’s not always a happy thing either. When running was a big part of workouts I loved, there were still plenty of runs I hated. ;)

28 rachel September 9, 2013 at 6:39 pm

I’ve been struggling with the decision of whether to drop out of a half marathon I’m registered but not trained for and I really needed to hear this – thanks for sharing!!

29 Caroline September 9, 2013 at 6:48 pm

I’m starting to wonder if long distances aren’t for me either. By mile 6 my IT band gets all angry and for the rest of the training cycle I battle that pain. UGH. You are just as much of a runner if you are “only running 5ks”- hard to remember when we’re around people online who talk about training for marathons and ultras though. I’m so excited to start BBB!

30 Marni G September 9, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Thank you for this post Tina. I have put running on the back burner as I have been having back issues and a lingering foot injury that just won’t seem to go away. I trained for my first half marathon last year and ended up not being able to run it because I came down with the plague (what I called my major 2 week sickies!). I was planning to train and try again this year but just don’ t know if my body can take it…however, a 5k might be more likely. Still a runner…just currently focusing on other forms of fitness that my body can handle!

31 Megan (The Lyons' Share) September 9, 2013 at 10:40 pm

This is such an awesome post! After running 4 marathons and never being happy with my times, I’ve decided I’m more of a half marathon girl – I distance I LOVE. Sometimes I feel “guilty” about not running another marathon yet (which is SO silly … guilty to who?!?), so this is a great reminder! I think that “being a runner” is a mentality – if you enjoy running (no matter what distance or frequency) and it’s important part of helping you feel strong and confident, you’re a runner!

32 [email protected] September 9, 2013 at 10:40 pm

This a great reminder! When I first started running I didn’t consider myself a runner because I was only running in short bursts. The first time I realized I was a runner was when I went home to visit my parents and the first thing I did was put on my running shoes and go for a quick run. Shorter distances are what I run currently but I would love to run the Chicago Half Marathon someday.

33 MCM Mama September 9, 2013 at 10:52 pm

Great post! My body keeps suggesting that perhaps I should run shorter distances, but I’m addicted to the bling LOL. Hoping to do a better job of balancing cross training and running this fall.

Have a great time this weekend!

34 Aclement September 10, 2013 at 12:45 am

I could’ve written this word for word myself. After missing the Nashville WHM last year because I discovered I had Lyme’s Disease, training this time has been an emotional roller coaster and just plain hard. I am not ready where I wanted to be for the race and I am almost at peace with that. I am going to finish and I will be happy to just cross that finish line. I am so lucky that I will have my sis by my side cheering me on. After I cross that line I too am going to have to learn to own my distance and see the joy in a 5k. Maybe I will get back to where I was before, but I will love getting back more time with my kids, time for yoga, and everything else I love to do. I will find the joy for running again after I cross that line:)
Good luck to you! Thanks for this! I needed it.

35 STUFT Mama September 10, 2013 at 1:23 am

Love this Tina. I have no idea what my distance is at the moment, but I sure am thankful for every new day that I can run pain free. :) I miss you! Where was that beautiful picture taken. Ha ha.

36 Meghan Hasson September 10, 2013 at 5:42 am

I love the idea of being runner but this is a tough one for me. Last year I started “training” as a mile was hard for me. Since I have done 2 5Ks. Nothing great, and i thought I wold be doing more, but I do not love it like I thought I would. I do plan to pick it back up again, but looks like 5Ks will be my limit.
Maybe one day I will do a 8K or a 10K…. we shall see

37 Audrey September 10, 2013 at 10:47 am

I’m a steady 5k-er, but lately have been managing 5 miles on my long runs (which makes me supper pumped). If i never get pass that mile maker i’m still psyched that I can run that consistently. This weekend I’m doing my first run– a fun obstacle run with mud– lots of mud. Looking forward to see how/if the BBB program changes my running. I hope all the other runners or aspiring runners keep positive about what they have accomplished, rather than what we haven’t.

38 Maggie September 10, 2013 at 11:54 am

Thanks for sharing. I recently had the same experience, switching from an upcoming marathon to the 10k and I’ve gone through a lot of the same emotions about not feeling like as much of a runner. I really enjoyed reading your post as it made me feel a lot better. Thank you!

39 jobo September 10, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I LOVE this Tina!! I shared it with our b9 ‘barre to 5k’ group on Facebook, as we are all at different stages of running, some couch to 5K, some training for their first 10K or half marathons, and I think the message is powerful on many levels!! I have formerly fallen into the camp of letting distance ruin my runs. I didn’t run XX miles, I didn’t run longer or faster or whatever, and honestly? Who cares. I am not training for anything. I run 3-4 days a week because I LOVE it and how I feel after and what it does for my body. the number – like anything else – doesn’t matter. (and PS so glad you are continuing to listen to your body and do what is right for you with running. I hope your foot is ok!) XO

40 JJ September 10, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Thanks for the great and honest post, Tina – - a reason I keep coming back to your blog! I’ve had to deal with this very same struggle and I can’t say I’ve owned it as well as you have. I still feel some shame and actually get a little emotional as friends and coworkers share their running stories! But, it is what it is, and I’d rather be walking when I’m 80 than running through my 30′s in pain :) Congrats on the tough decision and thanks for sharing the struggle so openly.

41 Annie September 13, 2013 at 8:47 am

Yes! I’m actually going through something similar right now – I’m starting my last year at uni in october which will be more demanding than the previous ones plus I have a part time job. Over the summer I was running 3 times a week and my long run was between 10 and 13 miles but I’ve realized that I won’t be able to continue this way during the academic year. Yes I like running but I don’t want it to feel like a chore – yesterday I went out and did 3 miles but first I had to convince myself that “just” 3 miles was still ok, that it didn’t mean I was any less of a runner than before. In fact, because the run was so short I really enjoyed it. Part of me keeps thinking that because I’ve done 13.1 miles now I always should keep to that distance or a close one. That’s NOT true and those voices need to shut up.

42 Christine @ Love, Life, Surf September 13, 2013 at 9:02 pm

I’m really glad that you posted this Tina. I’ve been going through something similar, particularly with regard to the injury issue and I’m questioning how much more I should put up with it. I also love too many different kinds of fitness activities. I do love running but I also know that I’m not going to be one of those people who runs a race every weekend and I’ve often wondered if that made me “less” of a runner. But it’s important to make the decisions that are best for you, your body, your family and your life.

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