Like any group, runners get stereotyped. Apparently, we are overly-healthy, obsessed, type-A, teetotaling individuals with bad knees who never take a day’s rest. Or, something like that.
I’m here to dismantle some of these preconceived notions about us. Let’s set the record straight. Here are 9 misconceptions about runners.
1. Running’s easy for us. I can’t tell you how many people tell me they don’t run because it is “hard.” The funny part is, they also think running must be easy for me because I run all the time. No. Running is stupid eff’ing hard. I think you just get used to being uncomfortable.
Truth is, it’s even hard for Deena Kastor and she sets records left and right. There is always someplace to go with your running. If it feels easy, then most runners will pick up the pace or run on hills. Then it just becomes hard again. For me, expecting running to be hard is the key. Then you are not so surprised or pissed off.
2. Our knees are trashed. This one always cracks me up. I’ve had my share of injuries that have resulted directly from running (hip stress fracture, foot stress fracture, high hamstring tendinopathy, hamstring tear), but my knees are just perfect! This isn’t to say that one day my knee cap won’t just fall off into the gutter while on a 20 mile run, but so far so good. In fact, there has been quite a bit of research done on why running is NOT bad for your knees. I won’t plagiarize it here – you should just go read the articles yourself.
3. We run everyday. Truth be told, I know there are those of you that run every day, but if I did that I would poke my eyes out (and my knee might fall into the gutter). The most I run at the height of marathon training is five days per week. When I am just maintaining my running, it is more like three to four times per week (same with Ironman training).
4. We love every minute that we run. See #1. I am a running freak and fanatic, but I still sometimes hate running. And, that is OKAY! The point is that even when I don’t feel like doing it or I am unhappy in the middle of a run because it is –40 degrees or I have to poop or some body part hurts, I still keep going. That’s why the blog is called Shut Up and Run. You do it even when you don't feel like it. But, I can promise you, you will love every minute that follows a run. Bask in the glory!
Okay, maybe my friend Julie loves every moment she runs,
but she is the only one.
5. Because we run, we are really healthy. While I do believe that running qualifies as a “healthy” activity, just because you run does not make you inherently healthy. Take me, for example. I run my face off, but then I eat plenty of Dots, Goldfish and chocolate chip cookies. I am not sure this qualifies me as healthy. I also drink wine every night and at least 16 ounces of coffee every morning (depending on what you believe, these might be healthily things to do). Like anything, running is part of healthy lifestyle, but does not make one automatically healthy since there are so many other factors involved (including sleep, hydration, stress relieving exercises, diet, etc.).
6. We’ve been running since childhood. I think if you run a lot of races, especially half or full marathons, people assume you have been running your entire life. No way! I spent a lot of times in my 20s and 30s drinking beer, sleeping and deliberately not exercising. Running and I did not become acquainted until I was 41 years old. I am kind of glad about that, because there has been some talk that runners wear out over time. I figure if I started late, maybe I can run until I’m 100, or at least until next year when I turn 48.
7. We run really fast. All the time. This one cracks me up. I will ask someone to run with me and they will say, “But you are so fast!” I wonder what could possibly make them think that. Yes, I am faster than some, but I am slower than many more. Just because you run a lot does not make you fast. And, anyway, fast is totally subjective. I am fast compared to Homer Simpson.
8. We don’t drink alcohol. Hahahahahaha! Lmfao! Clearly the person who thinks this hasn’t been at the finish line of a race where there is beer. The beer line is longer than the one for water, bagels or free money! That said, wine is very much a part of my diet (see #5 above). I know that alcohol dehydrates and is the cause of lots of other evil stuff (hangovers, the jitters, memory loss), but I happen to like it (well, not the hangovers, but you know what I mean). Would I be a stronger runner without my wine? Maybe. I guess I’ll never know.
9. We are obsessed with running. Well, this one just might be true.
Ever been stereotyped with any of these myths?
Have any to add to the list?