Am I Still A Running Newbie?

On Being a Running Newbie

I know that I’m perfectly within my rights to call myself a runner. I run; therefore, I am a runner. These days, I identify more as a runner than almost any other label–except for geek, really.

So when I read articles or see websites that say if you either run fewer than 25 miles a week or just 3 miles at a time, you’re classified a beginner, it kind of bugs me.

I mean, I know I’m not a life-long runner, and I am new to the sport, but after almost a year of running, it feels weird to be lumped in with people who can’t run 30 seconds. (Not that there is anything wrong with that–I’ve just since moved past that segment of my training.)

Why is it weird? Because those articles aren’t for me. I know the information in them. I have progressed past the point where that info was helpful. And it was helpful. It got me to where I am now.

Which is out of the beginner bracket. I feel that I’m squarely in the intermediate category of runners these days.


But I can’t find a lot of advice for intermediate runners. It’s all catered toward the C25K crowd of beginners or to the 13.2+ crowd. Honestly, I’ve had a hard time finding a lot of info on what it takes to consistently run 5-10 miles at a time.

The online running community seems pretty dichotomous to me-you’re either a beginner or a marathoner–and that’s not the case. There are plenty of people who run intermediate distances, but there’s not a lot of support for us.

The Wrong Perspective?

Or am I looking at it the wrong way? Am I still a running newbie and just don’t realize it?

Have I built up how much I’ve accomplished in the past year? Is 10K training still within the beginner’s realm, even though I couldn’t run 60 seconds at this time last year?

It Doesn’t Matter

As much as it bothers me to put in this many miles and still be seen as a newbie within my chosen community, it doesn’t really matter. I run what I can. I read what I can. And I see myself getting better at what I do.

I’ve lost weight, my clothes fit better, and my asthma is much more manageable. My life is better because I run.

And honestly, if it’s this much better, and I’m still a newbie, I can’t wait to see what my life is like when I’m an expert.

Or even an intermediate runner. Whenever that may be.




I also have a Substack that you would enjoy!





  1. Longasc

    Seems to be worse than in German communities. My favorite course simply doesn’t get longer than 7.3 km or I would have to run circles or sth like that.

    Would running longer distances now and then have a better training effect? Absolutely. But then I would have to run the route twice or go elsewhere instead of just running into the woods from my home.

    It’s a bit like the Min-Maxers among MMO gamers, they analyze everything even if there is no need to ultrapwn the lamest world mob when it is already pwned. 🙂 Sure, there is a point to increase your training once you get to a certain point. Those arbitrary measurements should be taken as rule of thumb.

    So let me phrase it this way. Your running distance is still that of a beginner, but your experience on this shorter track and what you learnt already clearly exceed the beginner level. So read up among the intermediates and pros. Just don’t expect them not to be elitist jerks when they get to know your running distances. And give a damn about it. 🙂

  2. rowan

    Longasc is right. You’re no longer a beginner, especially if article written with beginners in mind have no new information for you. Unfortunately, if your goal is fitness and not marathon training, you’re probably stuck.

    On a side note, I have lost about 9 pounds since the beginning of the year, thanks to a careful consideration of what and how much goes in my mouth. I’m nowhere near peak fitness, but it’s a start.

    • B.J. Keeton

      I think you guys are right. I’m learning more about what I’m doing than my body is able. I’m excited, though, because of being able to refine myself on that beginner track.

      Also, I do want to eventually do a marathon or two. I’d love to get there, so I don’t think I’m necessarily stuck. Like everything I do, I tend to push theory beyond my practical capabilities. I’m glad you guys point that out.

      • rowan

        Humans are immensely capable of running. Horses are about the only animal able to keep up with homo sapiens over distances (assuming both horse human are in shape for it. And we’ve been running far longer than anyone thought about writing some theory about it. 😉

  3. Booking It with Runner Sami

    I appreciated your post. I wrote a post just for you and all the other people in your shoes. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

    • B.J. Keeton

      I love that post (and your whole blog, actually, Sami!). I appreciate you taking the time to talk about the problems I mentioned, where at least I know I’m not alone in finding that particular kind of info.

  4. Joanne Mallon

    Thank you very much for linking to my post, you have a great blog here. I only started running again in January for the first time in years so I am still very much in the newbie camp (and likely to stay there for quite some time). Ultimately I agree with you that it doesn’t really matter what you call yourself, as long as you feel proud of how far you’ve come. There is always stuff to learn but life would be pretty boring if there wasn’t.



  1. Intermediate Running | - [...] So, Geek Fitness, this is for you. [...]

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