The Leo Runner

imageHappy birthday to our Salty Leo runners: Oregano, Paprika, Pesto, and Pumpkin! Among professional runners, the Leo pride is also impressively large, so a happy birthday to Des Linden, Lolo Jones, Natasha Hastings, and Magdalena Boulet, too.

In the wild, lions are unique among felines, living in highly-social, organized family groups called prides. These groups consist of one or two breeding males, several related females, and their offspring, who are all fathered by the head male. If that is news to you, I’ll give you a moment to let it sink in that Simba and Nala were half-sibling and cousins.

Although the male lion has his glorious mane and proud profile, it will come as no surprise to Leo runners that lady lions are the real bad-ass hunters of the pride.

Leos embody the leadership, confidence, and fiery spirit, but thankfully not the inbreeding (usually), of the lion. Read on to see what other traits they share!

The Leo Runner

Birthday: July 23-August 22

Salty Leos: Oregano, Paprika, Pesto, & Pumpkin

Famous Leo Runners: Des Linden, Lolo Jones, Natasha Hastings, Magdalena Boulet, Josh Cox, Tyson Gay, and Alberto Salazar

Element: Fire

Symbol: Lion

Favorite Place to Run: The Leo runner loves being the center of attention and admiration. As such, you will likely always find her running with a group of some kind no matter the location. If a group run is happening on the trails, she is there. The track for a speed workout? She’s there. A random hash through the pioneer graveyard near the local university? There she is! As long as there are others that will look up to her for some reason, whether that is being the fastest in a group of newbies, having run 17 marathons in a group of runners training for their first, or being able to down the most beer at a stop along a hash route, she will be there.

Role in the Running Group: A natural leader, you will often find a Leo runner with her loyal pride of running friends or, as mentioned above, with any group of runners who, because of the charisma beaming from her face, follow her like moths to a flame. Always self-confident and with an intense zest for life, running with a Leo is never dull. She is creative, loyal, and generous. Others in the group are drawn to her; they want her admiration, her attention, her opinion, to be as fast as her, or as tough, or as fit and funny. Leos love hosting parties and get-togethers; an invite to one of her post-race galas is almost as sought-after as a BQ.

Sometimes however, if our Leo runner is too aware of her effect on others, she can become catty and come off as self-centered and arrogant. In that case, she often pushes those who don’t treat her like the queen of the jungle out of the pride, so beware of getting on her bad side.

Des Linden celebrates her second place finish at the 2016 US Olympic TrialsTraining and Racing: With a big, stubborn ego and an often inflexible attitude, the Leo runner tends to take on daunting training plans and follow them to the letter. As a result, many Leos are very successful racers: hitting PR after PR, winning or placing, and qualifying for anything they put their sights on. Unfortunately, if she isn’t careful, that attitude can lead to burning out during training, over-training, injury, or even trying illicit substances to be number one at any cost.

Often, Leo runners become Leo coaches or agents after retiring from the sport themselves. In those cases, their intensity and charisma continues to grow, and while they can push their faithful pride of runners to the highest levels of achievement and acclaim, if their ego burns too hot they can burn out some of their runners, or worse, turn to cheating to win.

Fueling: Leos love fine food and rich flavors, eating a wide variety of foods to satisfy their broad palate. Like lions on the savanna, however, they are also opportunistic and will eat whatever yummy thing they crave or come across, whether that is fruit snacks, donuts, gourmet hot dogs, fast food, or cheap frozen yogurt. Lucky Leos don’t have terribly sensitive stomachs and, though they fuel with their favorite gel of choice during longer races, often try whatever happens to be on course that day.

Fashion: The need to be the center of attention is reflected in her choice of running and racing gear. Bright colors, name brands, quirky unique pieces, short-shorts, odd quotes, she’ll wear it. Whether it’s a $90 sexy see-through Lulu tank (Leos love shopping and spending money), a pair of florescent red fox leggings, or a headband warning “I run so I don’t kill people,” it might be in the Leo runner’s dresser. And after she wears it to a group run? Everyone who saw her in it will be wearing it too.

Injuries and Health: Leo rules the heart, spinal cord, liver, and metabolism. Leo runners often experience problems like blood clots and heart palpitations, generalized back pain, and have a tendency to gain weight as a result of the indulgences in their diets. Additionally, because they are also sun-worshippers, Leos need to be extra careful to wear sunscreen and brimmed hats to avoid sun-related issues like cancer, early aging, or sun-spots. Because of such a strong drive to be the best, they can push themselves too hard and are at higher risk for over-use injuries as well.

Best Running Buddies: Though the Leo’s pride is diverse, her best and truest running friends tend to be the other fire signs, Aries or Sagittarius. Fire signs are all a force of nature and, like the female lions in a pride, can take on enormous goals by working together. If she wants to find her best running buddy or a love match, though, a Leo runner might be wise to target an Aquarius.

So what’s your #runsign? Are you, or one of your running buddies a Leo? Did we snail it?

I'm an elementary P.E. teacher with a long-term, ongoing marathon addiction.The next big goal? Keeping up my BQ streak while aiming for a 3:10! I write about the not-so-glamorous side of running and fitting in serious training with a family while staying sane(ish).

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