The running season is in full flight now, and the local 5km races are filled with different characters and personalities. The “serial stretchers” they will stretch right up until the start. The “Boozer” is trying a warm up mile and plans to run off the guilt and hangover of the night before. The “midlife crisis” is overdressed in unforgiving lycra and ready to burn off the overindulgence of his thirties, and he’s warming up with the “underdresser” who insists on wearing shorts 2 sizes too small. The “loner” has the headphones in and is avoiding eye contact, while the “Footballer” sporting his club socks wonders what all the fuss is about. The “real runners” are bounding up the road hoping it will all start soon so they can leave these “running riffraff” behind.
BANG ….. and the “quick starter” is gone sprinting the first 200 metres of a marathon closely followed by the “Footballer” before both are forced to stop and recover once out of sight of the start line and the “real runners” trot past giggling. Sixteen miles in and the “puzzlingly good portly runners” shatter the egos of their thinner colleagues as they cruise past effortlessly and everyone tries to avoid the “spitter” who uses the race to empty their sinuses. The “silver haired sensation” sneaks through the field unnoticed to smash the hopes of younger runners. And now as the finish line is in sight it’s the “big finishers” chance to shine, they have waited and held back so they can put in an eye-catching sprint finish , closely followed by the “Boozer” who just wants water!
‘Everyone is different’, different personalities looking to complete a marathon in different ways and times and for different reasons. These differences are really important when it comes to running and sport because as an athlete it is important to understand the significance of personality types and its potential effect on training, injury and performance. Personalities are created by the particular traits a person displays. A trait is a characteristic, for example one of mine is ‘laziness’, which can be related to a person. The Five Factor Model of Personality is used by many to describe personalities under the headings of extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experiences. According to the FFM model the “real runners” tend to be introverted, display lower neuroticism (they are emotionally stable) and higher levels of conscientiousness and focus – they set goals and stick to them when compared to the “running riifraff” (Hartung & Farge, 1977; Allen et al., 2011).
So I decided to take the “MYERS-BRIGGS PERSONALITY TYPE” test and it turns out I am neither introverted or particularly goal orientated. I am in fact mildly extroverted and not for the most part goal driven. Apparently I may annoy others by making promises and then forgetting to follow through because I like move on to the next interesting thing. So clearly I will continue to run with the “running riffraff” but I will try to advise the “quick starter”, avoid the flying snot from the “spitter” and make conversation with the “loner” while hoping to grow up and be a “Silver sensation”….. So does that make me the “midlife crisis”?? Enjoy the summer of running!