Most of us here at Marx ran cross country and track in college. Between all of us, we can typically identify 3 different scenarios for post-collegiate runners. The first is the “I’m never running another step in my darn life” runner. Next, and probably the most common, is the runner who stops running for some period of time after college. They work full-time, drink beer and eat junk food. They then hit a point where they realize what a slob they’ve become and vow to start running again. The final scenario is the runner who continues putting in the mileage after college because they simply love running. (That’s the category most of us fall into 🙂 of course). We’ll take a closer look at each of these different types of runners.
The “I’m never running another step in my darn life” runner is, unfortunately, all too common. In our experience, these runners typically tend to have the most natural talent. They were standouts in high school and maybe even ran collegiately on scholarship. For whatever reason, over the course of their college running career, they come to despise running. This could be due to the enormous pressure others placed on them to live up to expectations. Perhaps their own expectations begin to take a toll. At some point, running ceases to be something they do because they truly love it. Instead it becomes a task done to satisfy coaches or parents or simply to meet the requirements of their scholarship. Injuries may also play a role in their disdain for running and begin to weigh on the psyche. The underlying lesson here: It’s just running! Keep it light and keep it fun. Don’t run to satisfy anyone but yourself.
Our next runner, the glorious comeback runner, realizes after so many years that they actually need running. This runner enjoyed running in college, probably was decent or even one of the best on the team. When they stop running after college, they attribute it to simply moving on in life. They enter the working world and start living like a typical American. Unfortunately for them, the typical American doesn’t pursue the most healthy lifestyle (to say the least). Years of working long hours, beer drinking and junk food begin to take their toll. Eventually, this runner realizes that running was once a rock in their life. It was great exercise, it encouraged them to eat well, and it was a relaxing break from everything else they had going on in their hectic life. They begin to yearn to have it back and ultimately, they pick up the running shoes. Getting back into shape is harder than they ever imagined, but it’s worth it to rediscover something that was once a daily staple in their life. For most, they never get back into the peak form that they experienced in college, but some do. Either way, running works to add balance and consistency in one’s daily routine. It’s something they realize shouldn’t be taken for granted!
The final type of post-collegiate runner, the one who never stops running, is simply the most passionate about running. This category engulfs the widest spectrum of runners. This runner may have even been one of the slowest on their team, but for them, they simply enjoyed running and the camaraderie of having others to workout with. Another common scenario in this category is the standout 5k/10k runner who wants to take advantage of the past 4 years of mileage and have a go at the marathon. For them, the marathon isn’t about crossing it off the bucket list but about being competitive and discovering if their true potential lies in 26.2 miles. Most professional runners also fall into this category. They were typically on scholarship and took advantage of the opportunity to develop athletically while gaining an academic degree. Upon their graduation, they have a shoe contract waiting for them. Most of us at Marx Running fall into this category as well. We ran in college but still have the fire to train everyday and compete in local road races. For us, and for the other runners in this category, the passion for running never faded.
If you ran in college or know someone that did, chances are they fall into one of these 3 categories. It’s always interesting to learn about the diverse backgrounds of runners and the different motivations they have for doing what they do. To continue running when you no longer have a mandatory practice everyday and a coach breathing down your neck is a matter of how passionate someone truly is about running. We hope the collegiate system can fuel this passion rather than burn it out!