Am I an expert in all things personality? Ha! No. Do I spend a great deal of time analyzing and learning about my personality? Yes. Maybe it’s because according to the Meyers-Briggs personality test, I’m an INFJ, which is one of the rarest types, easily misunderstood, and we love learning about ourselves. (For more information about this test, visit http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/ )
I consider myself more of an ambivert. I love going out and having a good time and needing new people, but I definitely need alone time to re-charge. Too much people-time and/or stimulation, and I start feeling stressed, cranky, and I have a hard time thinking about even the simplest thing.
Being an introverted stay-at-home mom is super hard. I love my kids, and we have fun together, but I don’t get enough me time. Thankfully, summer is almost over and both kids will be in school! Hallelujah!
Before I go on, I should probably give a quick explanation of Introverted and Extroverted personalities. Again, I’m no expert, but I’ve looked into this a lot. Sometimes I wish I was a psychologist or something so I could administer personality tests and help others learn more about themselves.
The Urban Dictionary definition for Introvert is this:
Opposite of extrovert. A person who is energized by spending time alone. Often found in their homes, libraries, quiet parks that not many people know about, or other secluded places, introverts like to think and be alone.
Contrary to popular belief, not all introverts are shy. Some may have great social lives and love talking to their friends but just need some time to be alone to “recharge” afterwards. The word “Introvert” has negative connotations that need to be destroyed. Introverts are simply misunderstood because the majority of the population consists of extroverts.
And the Urban Dictionary definition for Extrovert is:
Assholes who doesn’t know when to shut their goddamn mouth. Sadly they make up most of the population on Earth.
Okay, so that definition isn’t quite so fair for Extroverts. I mean, yeah, sometimes I feel that way, but the world is run by Extroverts, so obviously we need them in our lives. There is so much more I want to go into this, but for the sake of not being a professional, I think it’s best you do your own research should you feel so inclined. Probably the only other thing I would add is that these personality types also have a lot to deal with how we process external stimulations. Introverts tend to not like noisy, crowded places. We might be able to handle them for a couple hours, but then we’re ready to go home and decompress. Extroverts thrive on stimulation. They need people, noise, and activity to keep them going.
I feel this is important to mention because now I’m getting down to the meat of this blog post. Introverted and Extroverted runners. Again, not a professional, but with my fascination in analyzing personalities, I think there is a big difference in these two types of runners. There are probably many more differences than what I’m covering in this post. Who knows, maybe there are huge books written about this very topic? (If there is, let me know. I would LOVE to read it!) These are more kind of my observations, and in some cases, guesses. Since I’m not an extrovert, I kind of have to imagine the reasons for some of these things. If you’re an extrovert and feel that I have some of these wrong, let me know! I would love to get your prospective!
I’ll start with introverted runners, since I feel like I know them better. After all, I am one! These are basic generalizations. Like with any personality type, no one is going to fit the mold 100%. If you have more to add, let me know!
· Introverted runners crave solitude, and often times, this includes running. After a long day, all they can think about is running because it’s just them with their thoughts. They may run with a group or a friend now and then, but generally, they will run alone. Sometimes, that is their only alone time during the day, and they want to make the most of it.
· An Introvert runner may listen to music, audiobooks, podcasts, etc. while they run to help drown out the outside world. After a day of dealing with people and things beyond their control, sometimes it’s nice to have some control over what they’re listening to.
· Unless they have had too much stimulation during the day! When I was working retail (not that I was running much then) I would drive home without the radio on, simply because I was so tired of music and noise. I just needed a few minutes of quiet. Sometimes when I run, I feel the same way. The kids chattering (or fighting) all day, the TV on all day, whatever. I just need quiet. I just need the sound of me breathing and my feet hitting the pavement.
· Introverted runners also have an easier time running long distances and not getting bored. We tend to live inside our own heads and tend to be creative. Our thoughts just go and go and we can run miles without really thinking about it too much. I might think about stories I’m working on, TV shows I love, or try to answer a problem I’ve been having. It makes it so much easier to think about random things than “Man, how far have I gone? This is taking forever!”
· We tend to notice things more, so we’re pretty good at finding cool things. A new trail to explore. A local park tucked away in a neighborhood. The beautiful flowers in someone’s garden. This makes it fun for our extroverted friends because we can show them these new places.
· This isn’t really me, so I’m just kind of guessing here, but I would think Introverts do better running on treadmills. There isn’t much stimulus outside of what we can control (listening to music on our phones, TV at home, etc.) so it’s not super overwhelming. Some days, even though running can be therapy, there is still too many things going on outside, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
And now onto Extroverts! I didn’t want to just make it like they’re completely opposite than Introverts. There’s some guessing here, but I hope I do an okay job explaining them!
· Due to their social nature and need for human interaction, Extroverts tend to run better with a friend or a group. Running is as much of a social sport as it is a solitary sport. For the past couple of years, I’ve been running with a group from a local running store, and it has been so much fun having a group of running buddies. Most of them are older than be by at least 10 years, some with kids near my age, but that doesn’t matter! Some of them have become best friends and always hang out together and do races together. I like running alone, but sometimes it’s so great having other people to run with.
· When an Extrovert runner listens to music, it’s to keep their mind busy. They may think about many of the same things that Introverts do while running, but they need more stimulation. Extroverts are great multi-taskers, partially because they need the stimulation. They may go without from time to time, but over-all, they need it.
· I’ve heard several of my extroverted friends say they hate running long distances because they get so bored. This goes along with the previous point about the music… they need to keep their minds busy. They can do alright if they have someone running with them, but after a while, even that can become boring to them.
· They do do a great job getting others to run with them. Extroverts have a way of making things seem fun, even if it’s not something they love doing. All of their sweaty post-run selfies seem inspiring to others, making friends think “Man, I want to do that!” They make friends with random people at races, tagging them in photos. They have no problem running in the huge races that have hundreds of people there. It’s a party, and the more people there, the better!
· Let’s be real, no one really likes running on a treadmill. If you do, you are in some other class of weird. I imagine Extroverts hate the treadmill more. Running in the same spot for an hour? Kill me now. They probably really need music or TV or a friend next to them to get through a treadmill run.
As you can guess, this is something I’ve thought through while running recently. It’s fun to think about these things while running. I like finding ways to apply lessons and principles of running into every-day life. Running analogies can be used for so many different things!
Do any of these describe your running style and personality? More to add? Let me know!