What kind of athlete am I?

Over this summer I have completed a few long distance events including Coast to Coast and the Lincoln half marathon. As a result of this I have found myself asking the question: “Am I an endurance athlete?”

When people talk about fitness or sport it often results in someone saying I’m a CrossFitter, runner, cyclist, swimmer, boxer, weightlifter, triathlete, etc. But have you ever thought – are you defined by one thing and at what point do you make the transition from being one to the other?

The one thing that I have had during training for longer events is time to myself. Quite often I would listen to podcasts or audiobooks but I’d also purposefully not listen to anything so that my mind could wonder. This question, “am I now an endurance athlete,” started to present itself more and more as the regularity of runs and cycle rides increased. I came up with three aspects which I feel have help me answer this. What am I doing? What do I enjoy? And what are my results?

What am I doing?
Many might consider this to be the easy one. You are whatever you do the most of or what you’re working on. For example you do seven CrossFit sessions a week, therefore you are a CrossFitter. But what if you run five times a week? At that point though, are you a runner who does CrossFit or a CrossFitter who runs? So I asked…

What do I enjoy?
One of the reasons that I like CrossFit is because of the variety of things you work on and the different stimulus that it puts on the body. You also have the added bonus of community of people who you can call friends. However on the endurance side of things an early morning ride or run with the sun just coming up and the roads or paths to yourself is hard to beat. Or being on a ride with someone and just putting the worlds to right.

What are your results or performance?
Last of all I considered the following. Am I any good? How do you compare? How are you improving? Are these all aspects you should consider when deciding what type of athlete you are. I had set myself a target of finishing in the top half for the coast and as it turns out I finished in 24th out of 635 finishers and in the half marathon I achieved an 18 minute personal best finishing in 1:37.10. With these results and improvements it looks like I might be considered an endurance athlete?

So what type of athlete am I? Well, I’m not an endurance athlete, I’m not a CrossFitter, I’m not a gymnast and I’m not an olympic lifter. I am… a Phil, I’m whatever I want to be and what I work towards, plus the things that I enjoy. These often change depending on whether or not I have a specific goal that I’m working towards, but they do not define me. Is there a need to define what sort of athlete you are? In my eyes not really – all you need to do is enjoy the process and commit to what you are doing.

Coach Phil

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