No One Is ‘Born’ a Runner: Don’t use ‘bad’ genetics as an excuse not to try

So often I’ve heard people lament, “I’m just not a runner.” Like it’s a fact, something you’re born with like red hair or green eyes, and there’s just no point in even trying to put up a fight. Lost cause, game loss on your end.

This actually kind of bugs me because I feel as if the people saying this are a bit disillusioned; like running is actually EASY for some folks just because they popped out that way. Fun fact: even for the most genetically blessed ‘runner body type’ running is anything but easy.
running animals
Though, without going off on a wild tangent there I’ll keep it short and say this: regardless of the genetics and body type stereotypes anyone who puts in the effort WILL improve. The awesome thing about running is that, ultimately, the biggest obstacle to overcome is self-motivation. [Haha…like that’s an easy obstacle! I just mean you CAN always work on that one.]

I think a lot of people need the reality shock of ‘wow, this isn’t easy’ (and it’s not for anyone) and then to realize it comes down to YOU stepping up and gettin ‘er done. Genetics, yes, may ultimately decide just HOW fast you eventually get or how many miles you are healthfully able to put in, but the ability to improve rests in your hands…errr, legs.

Trust me, I’m the most coordinationally challenged person alive, not tall enough to dunk, not bendy like a gymnast, not graceful enough for dance…but dang it, I’m OCD and self-motivated, so running fits. With the drive and will ANYONE can be a runner.

That whole, “I’m just not a runner” thing is quite a tired excuse, don’t you think? 😉

1) What do you say to people who profess they just ‘aren’t a runner’?

2) Do you sometimes wish you could shout at them, “Ummm, what, do you think it’s just easy for some people?!” Hehe. Or, how do you react when someone says something flippantly along the lines of, “Oh, well you look like a runner” like they assume it’s something easy for you?

3) If you could pick out a genetic trait or physical attribute that you’ve OVERCOME to improve your running what would it be? As in perhaps this trait wouldn’t naturally set you up for being a ‘stereotypical’ distance runner. (ie: owl with short legs)

best running shirts

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28 thoughts on “No One Is ‘Born’ a Runner: Don’t use ‘bad’ genetics as an excuse not to try

  1. Completely agree with this!
    I had to learn first hand. There was no part of me that was athletic until I *TRIED* it. I never even attempted or thought of running in the past – I just assumed I couldn’t do it and it’d be too hard for me.

    • i was SOOO certain i’d never like running, i mean i thought i’d never run a full mile even, but somewhere along the line that thinking totally took a 180..hehe. 🙂

  2. Cool post. I am often saying “I was born to run” but I mean it in a “I found my calling” not in a “its EASY for me” way because running is so satisfying because its NOT always easy.

    As for a physical attribute I have had to overcome…I am a shorty! I would love to have another 2 -3 inches of legs but hey I’m working with I got :=)

    • u explained that very well, i think better than i did with that first part…lol. i DO feel like it was ingrained in me somehow that i’d ‘find’ running…i like the calling part. 🙂

  3. Oh, I SO relate to this – because it used to be me! I was convinced I just couldn’t do it. Sure, I am prone to injuries on account of rather demented feet, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t possible – and all those years I was prone to injuries it didn’t occur to me to visit a sports shop and get good shoes fitted 😛 No excuses, you are right 🙂

    • SOOO awesome u are!! 🙂 while it is a bugger that u had to suffer through those injuries at least now u’re all sorted out and running at full force. 🙂

  4. Great post! This drives me nuts at work. Just DO it. Bullsh**t you can’t be a runner. Have you considered putting on a pair of shoes and tying it? Or anything, for that matter?

    I feel like I’ve overcome a fear of long-distance running. Oh, and a leg that seems to love injuring itself. But I’m pretty damn lucky 🙂

  5. So true. It is amazing what any human body can do. This mushy mass of meat can improve for anybody if enough motivation is used. I think motivation is ultimately the key. Those people that say that they can’t usually translates into they don’t want to. Running is hard. Very hard. If it wasn’t, everyone would do it. Instead, people cling to infomercial promises and fad diets. Diet is great, but if you don’t put in the work on the roads, in the pool, on the bikes, or at the gym, nothing will change. Great post, Cait.

  6. You’re spot on. Certain bodies may be genetically predisposed to being WORLD CLASS ATHLETES, maybe, or having a higher threshold for mileage before injuries, but anyone with legs can run! Actually, on second thought…I’ve seen someone with just one leg in a race. So you don’t even need two.

  7. I love this post, because you are soooo right! It’s not about being a runner or not, it’s about going out there and run! When people tell me they’re not a runner, I point at myself, and tell them how I was ‘that girl’ in high school. The one who just plain awful at sports, and look at me now!

    • way to be such an awesome example of just DOING it and proving them wrong. 🙂 though don’t worry, i’m sure i have u beat in the awful at other sports dept. 😉

  8. I’m over that (and lots of other) excuse, too!!! My whole thing is – Try it, you might like it!!!
    BTW – I love my new T-shirt!!! I posted a picture on my site today!! Your talent is amazing!!!

  9. I know people that say that they can’t run because of their knees. Do you think that is an excuse or do you think their doctors would recommend that people with bad knees shouldn’t run?

    Otherwise, I agree completely. I was the girl who couldn’t run a mile in gym class and now I’ve done quite a few 5ks and am working toward a 10k for next spring!

    • now i’d like to say that YES certain bodies are going to be more ‘fragile’ and perhaps they can only tolerate a certain amount of miles. BUT wat is usually crucial is the correct type of shoes, get in the right pair with cushion/support and you’d be surprised how much that can increase how much running you can tolerate.

  10. I must say lately I am full if excuses. I love the sense of accomplishment I feel after a run. However, sometimes the mind overpowers. The important thing is that I keep trying. 🙂

  11. That’s one of the biggest things that I have learned….I used to think that I would never be able to run, but I didn’t know until I actually tried it! Once I did, I realized that I could do it…..and loved it!

  12. Thank you Cait!! Back in high school I wasn’t even considered genetically capable of surviving Physical Education class let alone being a runner.
    Only through putting in the miles, putting in my whole heart, and asking for support from others, have I been able to become a runner.
    I am genetically predisposed to being a pear shape, heavy legs aren’t exactly a boon for runner, but I am now an ‘athletic pear’ (always makes me thing of a piece of fruit wearing a sweatband 🙂 ), and I love calling myself a runner regardless of whether I look like a ‘typical’ runner or not!
    P.S. Love that little owl 🙂

    • u are way too adorable, and not only is it so wonderful for yourself that u proved wat a runner you could be but then the EXAMPLE and inspiration you have now set for your family and ur patients. talk about spreading the running love. 🙂
      PS- hehe..glad u like mr. who 😉

  13. I think that some people just don’t like running. And then they feel guilty admitting that they just don’t like it, so they say that they just aren’t a runner. Well, I’m not a cyclist. I’m not a cross-fitter. I’m not a swimmer. Not because I can’t– just because I haven’t really tried those things yet. We all just need to remember that everyone has their thing– it may be running, it may not be running. The important thing is being healthy and active.

    • EXCELLENT point and u kno wat, u called me out because i’ve probably said the very same thing in regards to cross-fitting/swimming/cycling. in the end u do have to follow wat ur passion is and REGARDLESS of wat it is i fully support being active. 🙂

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