During the my time with the Running4Real community, I sometimes lead talks about nutrition, and after I had finish the basics about nutrition, I have the question in my mind to talk about body image.
Most of the time we end up having a fantastic discussion about body image, and how most runners believe they do not “look like a runner”. We are all guilty of that right?
Yes. Me too.
I know you may not believe this, but I look at other runners as I stand on the start line, and I think to myself that I do not look as lean/ripped/fast as them. I often have those few moments where I doubt myself, and occasionally, that will slip through to my race, and mean that I do not run to my potential as I allowed those negative thoughts in.
I have other running friends who are incredibly lean, every single muscle is visible in their body. Every vein sticks out, and yet they wish they did not look like that. The grass is always greener on the other side.
I wonder why that is.
Is it the airbrushed images we see in magazines constantly? Is it the pressure we put on ourselves to look perfect? Is it the body dysmorphia we see in the mirror?
I talked to the runners about how when I look in a mirror, my eyes go right to the bottom of my stomach. The part where the 6 pack should be. Every morning or night, my eyes stray away from my face, stray away from the power in my legs, the muscle tone in my arms, and instead focus on that little belly of mine.
I talked to Sarah about this, and she could not believe I was self conscious of my belly. She admitted that her “spot” was her thighs, thinking they were too big. I was horrified to hear this. I always thought Sarah had the most beautiful, strong, legs, that allowed her to power towards that 2:30 goal she is striving for.
But it just goes to show, that everyone has something they are self conscious of, and I mean everyone.
Sometimes I wonder whether it is a specific moment during our lives that makes us focus in on that zone rather than others.
During these discussions, I want to have the runners write down all the negative thoughts that went through their mind, and then counter those thoughts with something positive about that part. It is a great exercise, and I recommend you try it. It flips your perspective around to see that you are perfect just as you are.
Like I always say, Be Brave. Be Strong. Be YOU!
What does a runner look like anyway?
There isn’t a “look”, because there isn’t one way to be. I love looking at photos of Kim Conley or Emily Sisson as they both have a similar body type to mine.
Every single body has something to celebrate. Every single runner has their own unique strengths and weaknesses, and that should be taken into account. Do not spend your life trying to look like someone else, spend your life doing what makes you happy, and the rest will follow.
For me, yes I could lose those extra few pounds, but then I risk sending myself down a dark, obsessive path, and it would mean I would not get to enjoy the cake and ice cream that does make me happy, so I would rather stay as I am, but know I am enjoying my food, and staying healthy as a runner.
My challenge to you is to share what part of your body you love the most about yourself. Too often we are too hard on ourselves, but in this post today, I want us to celebrate our bodies, and appreciate them for what they are able to do.
I would love to hear what you are proud of.
To start things off, I love my
chicken drumsticks legs. Yes, they are more muscly than the average elite marathoner, but they give me power, they give me strength, and they help me to run fast.