18 Things Nobody Told Me About Running

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18 Things Nobody Told Me About Running

1. It’s hard…like, really hard. But just like relationships, parenting and figuring out your new iPhone, it gets easier with time. You may even–gasp—start to like it!

2. Clipping your toenails will take precedence over plucking your eyebrows some days.

3. In spite of your childhood hatred of “weird food,” your pantry will be filled with running superfoods you’re not really sure how to pronounce, like quinoa, chia, spirulina and acai.

4. At some point, you will see other runners peeing in public. You will wrinkle your nose at them: EWWW, GROSS!

5. At some point, you, too, will pee in public. You will never judge again.

6. Ditto for snot rockets.

7. When you first start, four miles seems like a lot. One day, you’ll catch yourself telling someone “I only ran four miles today.” Try not to smile smugly when that happens.

8. You’ll wince at a pair of high heels with a $100 price tag, but declare it a bargain if that same tag is on your favorite running shoes.

9. Your laundry basket will smell like a boys’ locker room. You won’t really notice (or care).

10. You’ll geek out at the opportunity to run in the rain, because it’s just that awesome.

11. There will be stretches of days when you don’t feel like running at all. It’s perfectly normal, it’s not a failure, and a few days off does a body good.

12. Like Christmas, you will be wide awake at 2 a.m. on race morning, giggling. Also like Christmas, you will not be allowed to wake anyone in the house up until 5 a.m.

13. Without any prompting on your part, family members, friends and coworkers will take up running, too. They’ll ask all the same questions you had when you started—and this time, you’ll be the one with the answers.

14. The first thing you’ll do when you book a vacation or work travel is look for races and/or cool running routes in the area.

15. “Runger” is real, and it is marvelous. Only pregnant women and runners can truly understand strange cravings at strange times.

16. While running with your friends, you will talk about food, children, current events—everything but running. During cocktail hour with that same group, when you’re showered and wearing “real-world” clothes, all you will talk about, ever, is running.

17. The friends you make through running will become like family.

18. Anyone can do it. (Yes, you!) 

What would you add to this list of things nobody told me about running? —Susan Lacke

Susan Lacke swims, bikes and runs so she has a reason to eat, nap and curse. Though she’s finished marathons and an Ironman, she still whines when she has to make more than one trip to the car to bring in groceries. “Like” her on Facebook for her latest columns in CompetitorTriathlete.com and No Meat Athlete.


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  1. Running isn’t really enjoyable until after you’ve gone 3 miles…maybe even 5. That is why you hated running “the mile” back in school–you only did the hard part!

  2. All good things on the list. I would add that there is a difference between discomfort and straight up pain. You need to learn not only that difference but that you can run through discomfort like a champ with the right mindset.

  3. Great inspirational and humorous post! Very much agree on the point that the friends you make running will be great friends.

  4. Lol! I’m helping my boyfriend train for the NYC Marathon and he did TWO snot rockets during our run yesterday. (Way to keep the love alive, babe!) Rule #2 would never apply to me because I’m Greek. Enough said. :)

  5. very funny! as much as i hate shin splints – i feel proud i have it; The day i overcame lactic acid build up….whoo hooo….

  6. @Kristin – this is so true and what I struggle with. I don’t really start to like my run until mile 3-4, but I’m too slow to run 7-8 miles outside of my “long run” days.

  7. Loved the bit about friends, though I do a fair amount of talking to them about running when running or not. Agree with Coco on vocabulary. Not to discourage new runners, but it’s good to know you’re not alone or to be entirely surprised about GI distress and there are things you can do to help (e.g. avoid dairy before long runs).

  8. Well summarized! I just did my first 6 mile run/jog and cannot wait for the next one. 3-4 mile really seems like a “shorty” after that. Oh, and I need some running girlfriends, but it will come with time.

  9. You imagine yourself running while cheesy pop songs like “Stronger” play on the radio while driving to work :)

  10. Oh, I LOVE this! My sister and I are completely guilty of planning vacation ideas around cool races. We love it, but I think the non-runners around us are completely confused as to why we want to do anything other than relax on a vacation.

  11. dog owners who let their dogs out@dawn while standing in the doorway trying to convince you “he will not bite” as “he growls&charges@you” will change your runnig route,and aft you survive the heart attack you were certain you were having, you smile w/pride@the realization that you ran faster than you dreamed possible frm the adrenaline rush!

  12. You will get used to picking bugs off your tounge and blowing them out your nose on hot humid buggy runs!

  13. That if I dropped dead at the end of a really long run, I’d be totally okay with that. I’d die happy.

  14. Brilliant!!!! I totally look for races when making vacay plans :) And I am a 100% snot rocket chick!!

  15. Really enjoyed reading this. I’m new to running, but can already relate to some of these. So far, running has been a me-only thing, but I’m hoping to run with friends soon :)

  16. Port-a-potties use to disgust you before you were a runner. Now they are an oasis on the course. :)

  17. I tell people that all the time. I ran an Ironman last year. I am five feet tall, I have short legs and wide hips and am most certainly not built for this sport but I kicked ass. If I can do it, anybody can do it. Great post. And you are right, runger is real but I can’t eat anything I want. I am one of the odd ones. I gain no matter what.

  18. I would add that you willingly get out of bed extremely early on a Saturday so you can get your long run in!! Totally something I never would’ve thought about doing before becoming a runner!!!!

  19. Such a great article. Every single one of them is true!!!! Hooray for my friend who has helped me along the way- my first half is this weekend!

  20. For number 15, I can think of another exception. Speaking as a swimmer, runger may be real, but there’s nothing like the hunger you feel after swim practice. :)

  21. That you will run multiple times a week and no matter how long you run or how sore your body is, you will see someone else running and want to go running again. Also, that your long run will make you feel superhuman and you’ll want that high again and again. And that hill you drive that seems like nothing, feels entirely different on your own two feet. The world looks different from two feet than it does from a car.

    But yes, no matter what you’re training for or how long you’ve been running, running is hard. It doesn’t get easier, you get stronger.

    Oh, and the training is the fun part. I love the race but the reason I race is to train. I love marathon training. I love the way it changes my body. I love to watch how much I progress each time. But it also changed me in ways I can’t explain. I love to run.

    I do not, however, get excited to run in the rain. I do run in it but it is one of my least favorite weather components to run in, I prefer snow.

  22. You learn that it really is ‘Mind over matter’. Your brain might try to tell you you can’t, and YOU know that your body CAN!

  23. SO FUNNY!!! Was laughing the whole time because its all so true! Great post, time to run in the rain!!