Thursday, August 19, 2010

Marathoners Are Crazy?

I find it very interesting how non runners react to runners. We get all sorts of comments:

  • Doesn’t it hurt your knees?
  • Running will give you ___________ (pain, arthritis, tendonitis, etc) later in life!
  • It’s too hard on the body. You should stop.
  • And, the infamous…you are running 26.2 miles? You’re sick. I can’t even drive that far!

There was even a post on

Who are these types of people who run and smile?

They\'ve got miles to go

I hate running. More to the point - I hate shin splints. I really don’t like the idea that my body now needs additional exercise to stay in shape. Where is my happy pill?

I bet that guy is fun to hang out with.

A couple of days ago USA Today published an article entitled, “Runners, take your time: Marathon training can lead to injury.” Well, duh. From the tone of the comments left about the article on the site (except mine), it seems many people view distance running as risky.

I get it. Runners get injured. I got injured. At any given time lots of runners are either injured or recovering from an injury. We live, we learn.

What I struggle with is this overall belief that marathoners are crazy. That we put ourselves at too much risk. That we are jeopardizing our health. That we are running ourselves in the ground. If you’ve been running for any period of time, you know the drill when you start training:

  • Don’t do too much too soon
  • Cross train
  • Ten percent rule ( increase intensity, frequency or duration by no more than 10% per week)
  • Rest
  • Pull back if you are getting sick or experiencing continued pain
  • Fuel and hydrate correctly
  • Don’t eat pizza the night before a long run (or you’ll have the runs)
  • Put band aids on your nipples

Following these rules of thumb will not guarantee you will be injury free. But it greatly cuts down on your risk.

Maybe that’s why we runner stick together. We get each other. When I tell you I have a 20 mile training run, you don’t balk and tell me I’m nuts. You wish me luck and remind me to bring the toilet paper. When I tell you I think someday I might run an ultra or do a half ironman, you tell me you know I can do it and that you might do one too. When I tell you I’m going to sit on the couch for 48 hours and watch a Beverly Hills 90210 marathon and eat Chips Ahoy, you tell me NO, don’t do it! Step away from the cookies. Get your ass going!

We build each other up. We have a spirit that wants to move forward and to do more. It’s called living fully!

In my mind there are riskier things to do than running. Like, for example, sitting on the couch eating Oreos. Like not exercising at all. Like playing video games until you can’t see straight. Like remaining stuck in the same old rut you have been in for years.

There could be worse things than training for a marathon.

Run on my friends!


  1. EXACTLY!!! lol... jeesh people.. running is risky if you're stupid about the way you train or have a freak accident or something... i'd rather get knee pain than a headache from watching too much tv ;)

  2. exactly, the only people who ever have anything negative to say are just lazy unmovtivated people and ive gotten to the point where i just ignore people when they say stuff about my injuries or any part of my running. its no point trying to educate them.

  3. I totally agree!! You just have to be smart.

  4. You could TOTALLY do an Ironman. I'll train with you. :-)
    Love this post!!

  5. Well, it's not as if couch potatoes don't have pain.

    I used to wake up every morning sore from sleeping!

    The pain that comes from inactivity and stress is A LOT more hard to deal with than the occasional cramp or AT soreness. A day of rest and any discomfort I've had is gone. The stress and couch potato pain is ever-present.

    Screw 'em! Be sure to strap on your Asics before you kick their arse!

  6. That's one reason why I love blogging. We all "get" it when most of our friends, family, coworkers, etc.. don't.
    Great post! :)

  7. The beauty of running is that there are so many people that have very meaningful deep-set reasons for doing it .... but nobody has to have a reason.

  8. omg did you read my blog post today? Injury ridden and trying to train for my first marathon. :( Most would think I'm done. Stick a fork in me. I just worked to hard to get to that point .... yet.

  9. People ask me why I run. My answers usually are, "because I can," "because I want to." "because it makes me happy."

    I don't understand the big fuss they make about me running 3 miles, 5 miles during the weekdays. They think I am super human or crazy for doing that while I am thinking "Why are you so lazy? Get your butt moving!"

  10. LOVE this post! Amen to all that.
    I was once one of those people who just didn't "get" long-distance running. Boy am I eating my own words now.

    Sometimes, I like to eat cookies and watch the Real Housewives. But, that's AFTER I go running now!

  11. Rather than pick apart running for all of its potential risks, I think it would be better if these people found some sort of physical activity that doesn't scare the crap out of them and GET MOVING. Yikes.

    I don't feel like running is risky at all, if you follow rules like you mentioned above, but the way these people make it sound I guess we are all BAD ASSES with NO FEAR! I kind of like that....

  12. I hear ya! But the people making those comments are the ones eating the whole bag of oreos, sitting on the couch, and obese. I'll take a sore knee any day :)

  13. I agree! I love the blog world because we get it. I tend to get shy or quiet when running comes up in some company because some people can actually make you feel bad for working out.....what!? That makes no sense! I love running. I have had one injury so far. It sucked, I rested, I'M BACK! I'm curious what these same people say about football players :)

  14. Just tonight I ran five miles on the treadmill at the gym. I was toweling off and cleaning my sweat off the mill when a hugely muscled up dude walked by and said, "You ran a long time, didn't you?" I answered, and he chuckled and said, "Better you than me."

    For as much as they don't understand me, I don't understand why guys want to get so ripped up, spending a ton of time in the gym, but never even so much as glancing at the cardio equipment.

  15. Amen! We're a crazy group...and I LIKE it like that!
    Just spent 36 hours in a van with 5 other women who LOVE to run and it was the time of my life! (Spokane to Sand Point relay)

  16. i'm going to give you a big huge AMEN! i like being a little crazy. it makes my life interesting :)

  17. Big ol' I AGREE. People should try it before they knock it.

  18. Running will get you injured. Sure. Sitting on your butt and pigging out on junk food is so much safer. Some of my family members liked it so much that now this is the only thing they can do.

  19. i love this post. i feel like we should all print out 400 copies, carry them around and just hand it out to people who question our motives.

  20. I hate it when people give me 20 reasons why i shouldnt be running and how terrible it is for me. smoking is terrible too... so is drinking and doing drugs but you dont see me going around criticizing people do ya? NOPE! so the next person that tells me running is bad will get lectured! lOL

  21. Don't forget, "How many miles are in a marathon?"

    I used to get a lot of comments about running, but it never really phased me, because I also get a lot of comments about being a vegetarian. People frequently think I'm crazy for wanting to do long runs, and for not eating meat. But I do what's best for my body, and try to educate those who inquire. :)

  22. I reallly liked this post! Thanks!

  23. I so had the same feeling and wrote a semi- similar post today! oh- yah!;-)

    oh, and btw, your newest 'follower''s face looks freaky. I'm sure he must be great in real life, but it looks scary from here;-)

  24. Nice! You are sooo right! There's a guy I work with that did the whole "you're crazy" thing when I was training for my last marathon. Guess what? Now he's training for one. Yeah, that's what I thought! Running is awesome and I NEED it and LOVE IT!

  25. yep, only gets worse when I tell people I am training to run a marathon barefoot.

  26. I'm such a horrible parent for making my children ride their bikes with me on every run, instead of staying home at the neighbors house playing video games. They will be scared for life by being more active then their friends and having to do it WITH their parents....nooooo!!!!

  27. I guess if my knees are messed up when I'm 70, I'd rather live with banged up knees at 70, knowing that I got a few good decades use out of them.

  28. LOVE IT! That's why I have a running blog.

    My mom used to have a t-shirt she got at a hiking store; it said:

    "You could wander off the trail and DIE.
    You could get attacked by a bear and DIE.
    You could run out of food and DIE.
    Or you could sit at home, fall off the couch and DIE."

    Different sport, but same attitude!

  29. I'm training for my first full marathon and my sister and brother-in-law (who don't believe in running) told me "people die doing marathons". Yeah...well people die doing every day things every day...going to work, sitting on the couch, going to bed. I mean whatever. There are a bunch of haters out there, but that just should give us all the extra push to work harder and run faster!

  30. That’s why I read yours and many other running blogs. I get you people, although I’m on the other side of the planet from most. We are great!

  31. Non runners choose to look at the "risks" involved with running, completely ignoring the overall benefits to good health. Yes, we get it!

  32. Band aids on the nipples....good tip! I don't know why, but my nips are constantly hard when I run, so the band aids would help hide that. :)

  33. Running is what makes my day better. Woke up this morning at 4:30 for a 5:30 run in the dark and heavy fog out. People think I'm crazy but it's just the love of the sport that actually keeps me sain!

  34. people are jealous so they try to shoot us down. lol. but seriously, almost all running injuries are from overuse. you just can't let it get to that point. but the problem is, running is an addiction and so many peaple can't stop. for me personally, i've been running over 13 years and have run 17 marathons and a few ultras and i've never had an injury. neither has Ryan, neither has anyone in our running group! our approach to training is completely different than most runners. to me, running is actually about NOT gettin injured rather than how fast or how far i can run (and i can run fast and far but that took time, years and years so my body is ready for it) i'm extrememly laid back with my running but strict at the same time. i give in to ZERO "peer pressure" when it comes to running...if someone is running faster or farther than i want to go i have no problem saying NO. lol. i'm really big into injury prevention too and it works! Of course i never want to see a runner get injured but a lot of times i can see it coming for people but what can i do? nothing really. especailly with blogs, some people post stuff they did or their training and its like no freakin way can you do that without getting hurt. a lot of newbie runners doing wayyyy too much. but what can i do? nothing. i'm not going to tell someone they are over doing it, eventho that could save them an injury. some people honestly don't realize they are overdoing it but still, i can't just email a stranger and tell them that!!! does that ever happen to you? it must, esp as a coach! and some of these programs you can get online are wayyyy too much for a first time marathoner! runners must practice PATIENCE!!!! i know running is fun and it feels good but you MUST be patient!! adding too much too quick doesn't usually end well, and you have to know when to back off and when to rest, that's not easy but its essential! a lot of runners have the mentality that they are SUPPOSED to get injured, that bothers me. wow, i really hate when people ask me about my knees (which are like 10x stronger than theirs) OMG i hate the knee question!!!!!!!!! nothing infuriates me like the knee question!!
    GREAT POST! thanks! :-)

  35. just to clarify, not saying people email/telling you you are overdoing it, i mean do you notice that with other people and their training and if so what do you do?

  36. I've read your blog for a while, but I'm not sure I have ever commented... Anyway, I just wanted to say that this post is EPIC. So amazing! Well said!

  37. Bethany and Ryan - it's such a great question...the thing I most took away from the coach's training is that most people are training at paces that are too fast for them, especially on the long run (up to at least a minute per mile too fast!). I am guilty of this too. Somehow must of us equate going faster to being successful and finishing a race in our desired time when in actuality doing long runs at these paces breaks us down. We don't reap the full benefits and we get injured. Love your input!!!

  38. So well said!! I am among those who have suffered from injuries and love that you pointed out we live and learn. One of the things I love about running is that it constantly teaches you things.

  39. I remember a while back I'd downloaded some Jillian Michaels podcasts onto my ipod, and on one of them she talked about how bad marathon running is on your body.

    Granted, it can be dangerous.

    However, many people train and run marathons (WHY do I always type marathong!!) and are very healthy and uninjured.

    Also - how are her diet products any less harmful? What about what they do to the folks on BL?

  40. marathoners ARE crazy. runners are crazy. that's why we love it so much. :)

  41. Haha. Yep, my favorite is - so much running is bad for you. OOOOOOOOOOKKKKKKKKK.

  42. To answer your question. In a word. Yes WE are crazy....and I love it.

  43. I constantly get people telling me how i won't be able to walk when I'm 60.... really?

  44. Great post. We do "get" each other.

  45. Omg B +R just wrote a book! :)

    Hmmmm, like an ultra?!

    Come run it w/me! You KNOW you want the freaking buckle too.
    Awesome post!!

  46. Cheers to that! What an awesome post :) Have an awesome weekend running with DEAN! Can't wait to read all about it!

  47. HUGE high-five for posting this, being so eloquent, and describing what all of us "crazy runners" think every time we encounter a bad attitude towards what we "do". :) Only thing I have to disagree with: my LR-eve routine includes Pizza 90% of the time, it hasn't failed me yet....

  48. +1!!!! i love this post. I don't even tell new people I run. I've so over hearing how I'm going to hurt myself.Typically, its the non exercisers that comment. The exercising people just look at you like youre nuts. I'll take a ruined knee when I'm 50 over heart disease and obesity any day!!

  49. haha people like this annoy me! i should think of comebacks during runs :)

  50. Yes, we are crazy, but that's how I like it. Most of my family thinks that I just have way too much energy, but the people at my work are really very encouraging. There are those few that tell me it is dangerous, but so is their fat gut, so I ignore them.
    After I had my PE, the doctor told me that my lifestyle probably saved my life. I had multiple, large clots flow through my heart into my lungs and their wasn't any fatty buildup in my veins to stop them and kill me. I plan on having "clear" arteries and veins even when I am 80!!!!

  51. I've written about this on my blog. I call them the "Naysayers." Basically jealous haters. :) I've heard all of those negative comments and more. And I proved them all wrong!

  52. Another inspiring post- we are crazy us runners!! It's now a part of me though and I can't imagine not training. Anyone on here running NY and want a running partner?

  53. Yeah! shut up and run on! :-)

    I see you removed your other post. Never got a chance to comment but thought you were so right on.

    Have an AWESOME time running w/Dean!

  54. SO true about all your list of things to do when starting training except for Pizza. It is my go to dinner before a long run! (but then again I have a pretty tough stomach it'll take almost anything)

  55. Awesome post. Fortunately, most my friends, though they think I'm crazy, NEVER discourage me or say I'm hurting myself. Thank God I'm surrounded by supportive people. I couldn't handle any grumpy pants people... it's hard enough to find your motivation on occassion.

  56. I find it sad that people feel the need to put others down on their choices. There is no right or wrong to enjoy life. Some people like to run and some people hate it. It could be personal choice or being lazy who knows, but if they are that hateful about something (esp if they never have tried it) i would really hate to be their friend.I guess i have been lucky no one has tried to get me out of taking up running again. Most say "Don't worry you will get there and if not you can just bike more" lol. So if being committed to something is considered crazy then call me crazy.

  57. Loved this. I know we all share the same sentiments! "You'll get hurt." Yeah, tell me about it. A shopping trip to Costco is more risky than running (LOL)... I got injured when a lady ran over my foot with her cart at Costco.

  58. I love this! Although I have to say, I'd be good with the 90210 marathon, too. Instead of Chips Ahoy, however, let's go with nachos ...

  59. So true...thank you for this post. I have been long distance running for 18 years and it is VERY rare to find people that "get it". I get the "I hate to even drive that far" comment a lot.

  60. I never have anything to talk to people about and I HATE small talk, but tell you you're a runner and look out! I love other runners..the rest of them can suck it.

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