“If you think a minute goes by fast, you’ve never been on a treadmill”

I feel like I haven’t blogged about running in awhile – that feels so wrong! Pondering the topic I should address got me thinking about all the questions I get asked about running. A lot of them come from newbs to the sport and I always try to be very encouraging. I know it can be scary but it’s also exciting, and want them to know how great running is for the body, mind and soul. You’ll feel so great, I say. You’ll become addicted to it, I say.

This led me into thinking about the not-so-glamorous side of running. You know, the gross, awful and unpleasant parts no one wants to tell you. But I have no problem discussing freely, especially in this space! So here it goes; the 5 things no one wants to tell you about running:

1. Chafing
Young or old. Male or female. Fast or slow. Chafing can happen to anyone. It doesn’t discriminate and that’s why it’s a top fear amongst runners.

Know it. Use it. LOVE it.

Know it. Use it. LOVE it.

For guys, the biggest worry is the nipples. I’ve seen guys with blood streaks running down the front of their shirts during a race – not pretty. I’ve also had my fair share of red splotchy armpits and inner thighs – always fun to explain during the summer months. My best advice? Find comfortable clothes that don’t rub, remember, Body Glide is your BFF and, guys, band-aids on your nipples.

2. Gross Feet
Runners have notoriously gross feet. If you’re running a lot, you’re gonna get blisters. If you’re running a ton, you’ll likely lose a toenail or two. Dry heels, calloused edges, all kinds of good stuff. You could ease this with regular pedis – but honestly, you’re fighting an uphill battle. Gut it out and remember it’s not permanent. Toenails grow back!

3. Stomach Fun
That up-and-down, jostling motion you get with running – yeah, it can make for some “gotta go, right now” moments. A few strategies can help keep this situation at bay.

First, pay attention to what you eat. Certain foods can trigger stomach urges (for me, no blueberries for breakfast before a long run and no ice cream the night before) so monitor and adjust your eating habits until you find what settles nicely in your gut. Second, make every attempt to empty yourself before a run – common sense there. Third, it doesn’t hurt to plan a route that has a gas station or two along the way. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did if an emergency pit stop is needed!

4. Love/Hate Relationship
Most runners love running most of the time (why else would we do it?). But I’m not gonna lie to anyone out there – once you become a runner, there are going to be days you hate running. You absolutely won’t want to go for that run. You’ll dread it.  You’ll view the treadmill as your biggest enemy. And if you choose to suck it up and go anyway, you’ll curse every single step.

This feeling becomes especially pronounced during a race – whether 5k or marathon. Most runners will, at some point in their racing career, have that mental breakdown moment of, “Why am I doing this?” (for me, this tends to occur around mile 19 or 22 during a marathon).

Don’t worry, it’s totally normal. If you absolutely need a day off, take it. If it’s during a race, try as best you can to focus on the positives – how far you’ve come, how little you have left in the grand scheme, a post-race beer – whatever it takes to get you across the finish line (where you’ll remember why you love it so much and be so glad you did it!).

5. The Long Run Cry
As someone who has gone through this every year I’ve trained for a marathon, I feel I need to warn all who are considering running a marathon: There will be one long run that is so awful it causes you to break down and cry. Seriously. It will happen. Be prepared for it, let it happen in that moment, then move on and move forward.

What do you wish you’d been told about running before you started? Comment or tweet to me @runlikeagirl311 so I can share them!


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