On the path to running greatness, it’s inevitable that you’ll encounter ‘loser runners.’ In this article, I’ll explain what a ‘loser runner’ is and why you should stay away from them.
A loser runner is not somebody who genuinely fails at their running goals
I want to first of all make it absolutely clear that, when I refer to a ‘loser runner’, I’m not talking about someone who genuinely tries and unfortunately fails. Not at all. I refer to these types of runners as ‘genuine runners.’
We all set ambitious running goals and, for whatever reason, sometimes fail at achieving them despite having invested an enormous amount of effort.
Whether it’s running a sub-25-minute 5K, a sub-3-hour 20-minute marathon or completing our first ultra-marathon, as humans were sometimes prone to failure despite all the efforts we’ve made. As genuine runners, we believe in putting in effort to achieve our goals and take personal responsibility for our failures when they arise and take them as an opportunity to learn.
In this article, I want to talk about a different type of runner known as a ‘loser runner.’ You should learn how to spot them and stay away from them at all costs.
What is a loser runner?
A loser runner is somebody that blames external forces for their failures, brings those around them down, and constantly behaves in a way not consistent with being a runner.
We’ll now look at each of these three characteristics of loser runners in more detail.
Blaming external forces for their failures
You know those runner friends who regularly fail at their goals, yet they’re never the reason for the failure? These are loser runners.
I’m talking about that friend who aims to run off 10 pounds before a set date but blames McDonalds and KCF for being so tasty. This is that friend who routinely skips training to watch Stranger Things or Breaking Bad on Netflix, so they don’t get the marathon time they had in mind. The person that blames the ‘bad weather’ for not being able to train and achieve their goals.
Rather than being humble about their own personal shortcomings and the role they played in their running failure; they blame the outside world for their failures. This really is a pathetic attitude as it hinders and blocks self-improvement, removing the loser runner from any notion of accountability.
Genuine runners know when they have played a role in their own failure and own it. They learn what they did wrong, set a new training, and diet plan, and tackle the goal with this new approach until they win.
Bringing those around them down
Ever communicated your running goal to someone and have them try to talk you down from the idea? It’s happened to me on numerous occasions. You know who the type of person is that will be doing the talking down, right? Loser runners.
When I announced that I was doing the 4/4/48 challenge to raise money for Parkinson’s UK, a couple of runners in my circle tried to talk me out of it saying ‘oh, that’s cool but I don’t think you’ll succeed’ or ‘sounds like a lot of work. Are you sure you can manage it?’ Rather than listening to this nonsense from the limited mindset of these loser runners, I ploughed ahead with my challenge and raised almost £500 for the charity.
Loser runners try to talk genuine runners out of their running goals, aspirations, and ambitions because they are scared and living in fear. Because the loser runner is afraid to take risks and set ambitious targets in their own running life, they try to enforce these limiting standards to those around them to make themselves feel better. After all, there’s no easier way of making someone’s achievements and abilities seem insignificant than by achieving something massive in comparison.
Rather than being encouraging and genuinely happy for your running goals and aspirations, loser runners will take you out of your plans to keep you on their level. Don’t fall for their nonsense. You are the one person in your entire life who can set limits on what you are capable of. Don’t let a runner loser try to apply their fear driven standards onto you.
Behaves in a way not consistent of being a runner
When I say the word ‘runner’, what image do you conjure up in your head? If you’re like me, you’ll think of someone relatively slim in a decent set of sports gear.
You may even think about the lifestyle that goes with being a runner like eating healthily, getting enough sleep, prioritizing workouts, following a training plan, limiting the consumption of alcohol, and not smoking cigarettes.
Why do we conjure up such images when we think of the word ‘runner?’ Because our mind subconsciously knows what behaviours are required from someone who wishes to become a successful runner.
Genuine runners have a habit of applying these healthy behaviours because they know they’re necessary for achieving their running goals. It doesn’t matter if they’re not successful all of the time because, deep down, they know they are being consistent with what is required to succeed.
The loser runner, on the other hand, has the habit of behaving in the opposite way required for running success. Despite publicly announcing that they are a runner, and they have X, Y and Z goals like losing weight or achieving a certain 10K time, their actions contradict their supposed intentions.
They might stay up late partying 24/7, regularly skip workouts for scrolling through Instagram or watching Netflix, smoke cigarettes and drink abundant amounts of alcohol, have a diet of twinkies and fast food, and won’t bother to follow a training plan.
It’s these inappropriate behaviours that will often lead to their running failures and, as described in point one above, the loser runner will blame such failures on the external world rather than themselves. We all know runners like this. Don’t be one of them.
Why should you stay away from loser runners?
So, we’ve established what loser runners are and the characteristics that they will embody. Why am I writing this post and warning you to stay away from loser runners? Because they will drag you down.
Loser runners, no matter how genuine or ‘nice’ they may appear on the exterior, will always try to bring you down to their level. If you tell them about a goal or grand running plan you have, regardless of whether it’s a reasonable goal and possible for you to achieve, they will try and talk you out of it. They’ll try to persuade you that the goal isn’t worth striving for, that it will be too hard, and that you shouldn’t even try.
Most of the time, it won’t be totally obvious what loser runners are doing. Usually, they will chip away at your goals and aspirations a little bit at a time and under the radar with the aim of gradually trying to get you to give up on your running goal.
What happens if you fail in your running goal? The loser runner will be the first person to turn around with their fists stretched towards the sun and shout ‘I told you so!’
Loser runners can’t stand the idea of someone in their close circle making a great achievement in their running career because it will highlight their lack of achievement by example.
Rather than being genuinely happy for you having the will, determination, and grit to go after your running goals and achieve them, loser runners will try dragging you down to their gloomy and miserable rock bottom. Don’t let loser runners do this to you.
This running blog is a great example of highlighting some of the loser friends I had in my circle before I realized how they were trying to bring me down.
When I started Runners First in 2018, a couple of my ‘runner friends’ immediately discouraged me saying ‘are you sure you can launch a running blog? That’s not for you, you don’t have the writing expertise or the knowledge about running.’ This was just one example. There were countless others after it in the weeks and months that followed as I started to write blog posts and provide value for the running community.
After a year and more than 100 blog posts, many of which were receiving lots of traffic and decent reviews (with valuable feedback for improvement peppered in which I was grateful for), these so called ‘runner friends’ continued to relent that I just wasn’t cut out for running a blog. I realized that these runners weren’t my friends, and they were loser runners. They were trying to bring me down to their level because they were insecure that by launching a blog and the possibility of it doing well, highlighted their shortcomings and failures. I cut them out and now associate only with genuine runners.
Stay away from loser runners at all costs
If you take one thing away from this article, it’s to stay away from loser runners at all costs.
Loser runners will bring you down, talk you out of your goals, put doubts into your head and try to make you feel insecure. They operate from a place of fear rather than ambition and can’t stand the thought of those around them achieving at running because they think it will make them look insignificant in comparison.
Learn how to spot loser runners, cut them out of your running life, set ambitious running goals, and smash them. Don’t hesitate for a second about whether it’s the ‘nice thing to do.’
Running is a solo sport, and your success depends on your efforts alone. You can’t afford to run the risk of being brought down by running losers around you.