What sort of runner are YOU?
For the intrinsic runner, running is personal and spiritual. It is about inner peace and solitude, communing with the elements and gaining an inherent satisfaction from the sights, sounds and sensations of running. If an intrinsic runner competes, they do so against themselves, because satisfaction and a sense of achievement come from within rather than from timings on a board. Most intrinsic runners wouldn't be too bothered if they never went running in a group or a race field again.
The extrinsic runner is a far more sociable character when it comes to hitting the bricks, and will gain running satisfaction from being in a group and comparing themselves to others. Although they won’t be unaware of the more Zen aspects of running, their real kick comes in how their running relates to other people’s.
Once you've established which kind of runner you are, it will be far easier to plan your running life around the aspects that inspire you and to ignore what is likely to put you off.
Intrinsic runners should look to make their running as sensory, as spiritually uplifting, as downright interesting and as personally challenging as possible, entering races for the experience of the whole event rather than worrying about setting a new personal best.
Extrinsic runners can give themselves a considerable motivational boost by entering races or by joining a running club or group. Don’t assume you’ll have to miss out on the travelling either, as there are many exciting and highly competitive races around the world.
- Lloyd Bradley -
The Rough Guide to Running 1