So many people shy away from slapping the "runner" label on themselves. (Especially if they think they're slow.) Truth is, you don't need to have run a marathon or be in a monogamous relationship with running to use the "R" word to describe yourself. It's simple: If you run at all—20 steps or 20 miles—you are indeed a runner. (Still not convinced? Here's the real definition of being a runner.)
That being said, there are some interesting things that happen when running becomes a solid part of your routine. If you've witnessed just one (or all 13) of these sneaking their way into your life, welcome, friend. You're officially part of the running club—whether you like it or not.
1. You've sacrificed at least one toenail to the running gods.
RIP, little piggies. Bye, open-toed shoes.
2. Your new religion is praying to the #ChurchoftheSundayLongRun.
Shit gets real spiritual once you hit those back-half miles.
3. You've stopped buying sneakers for how they look.
Oh, these clunkers? Yeah, they keep my feet really happy. (Good thing some of the best running shoes are actually cute.)
4. You've stopped thinking it's weird to pee outside.
The great outdoors is just one giant bathroom, after all.
5. You start putting "just" or "only" in front of your lower-mileage runs.
"I only ran three miles this morning before work." Uh... remember six months ago when three miles made you want to die?!
6. You have an elaborate go-to watch/phone/headphone/belt setup.
Once you've found a gear Tetris that works, don't change a thing. (Try these wireless workout headphones to make your life a little bit easier.)
7. You have more of a sports bra + watch + sock tan line going on than a bikini tan line.
8. One of the reasons you get excited about vacation? New places to run.
So many new roads, paths, and trails, so little time!
9. Super-long races no longer seem utterly insane.
...Now they seem just the right amount of insane. (If you're still scared of the 26.2, don't worry. There are still plenty of reasons not to run a marathon.)
10. In fact, you've realized that the hardest part of running is just getting to the "high."
After that, it's just zoning out on autopilot until you're done. (ICYMI, that runner's high is basically as strong as a drug.)
11. You've realized that an AM run might actually be even better than coffee at waking you up.
Thank goodness for endorphins.
12. You've realized that all your best ideas come to you during a good run.
Need inspo for your latest Instagram caption? Lace up.
13. The thought of not being able to go for a run makes you feel really, really horrible.
And restless. And depressed. And like a worthless human being. (Which makes enjoying your rest days actually kinda hard.)