1. Do you have a body? Do you run? Then you have a “runner’s body.”
It may sound like a stereotype, but some runners struggle with their body. Based on the number of elite athletes who have come out over the past few years to share their struggles with eating disorders, RED-S syndrome or body dysmorphia, it’s now become more acceptable to acknowledge that, for various reasons, running can be either a symptom or a cause of body image issues for some athletes.
My own experience struggling with my body began when I joined the cross-country team in high school. I’d look to Runner’s World feature stories on tall, lean, white runners and feel disgust at my body for not being the same--which then led to overtraining, restrictive eating and a misunderstanding of my body’s unique strengths and beauty. While I’ve evolved and moved past the majority of these challenges, I still have moments where, when scrolling through Instagram, I see bodies that make my own feel like an imposter.
I wish I could tell my younger self that having a body that stays healthy and can run consistently is all you need to be a REAL runner, and that the media’s decision to highlight one body type over others is an issue with the media and not with me.