Ask anyone you know who runs and they’ll tell you about the common questions or comments they get all the time from non-runner folk. It’s totally okay, why would a non-running-obsessed person know all about running-related topics? It gets a bit old though, especially when the question or comment is delivered in a negativish way, which happens more than you’d like to think.
Here are some of the ones I encounter the most, and my truthful clarifications. I’ve read similar articles to this, but many of them have been all sarcasm or cynical in style. These are just some real answers and comebacks to the curiosities of others that we runners don’t always have the time (or patience..) to explain properly.
“I can’t believe you have to PAY to run a race!”
Yep. It’s true. A running event, or any other organized event for that matter, has a TON that goes into it! There is insurance. Permits. Road closures. Participant shirts & medals, and often cash prizes for winners. Other swag. Volunteers, sometimes by the thousands. In big enough races, on-course entertainment! Often a huge race expo, and a venue to host it. Water, fruit, granola bars and sports drinks at the finish line. There are medical tents, emergency responders, traffic control, chip-technology timing in the race bibs, bags provided for gear check, tents for gear check, sometimes transportation back to the start if it’s a point-to-point course, and lots of other stuff I’ve likely forgotten to mention. So yes, we pay to race. But you can’t put a price on the pride experienced after crossing the finish line and receiving your bling!
“Don’t you get bored?”
Nope. Never, actually! Personally, I’m too busy looking around, sorting out my brain, taking in the surroundings and being happy that I’m sweating and that I’m not at work. Sometimes it’s really hard, and I’m thinking about how difficult the moment is, but it’s definitely not boring. As runners we might also be paying attention to foot-strike, breathing, arm swing, heart-rate, relaxing the shoulders, holding a tall posture and keeping the muscles in the face and hands soft. Oh, and then there’s the list making, singing, meditating without even knowing it, the self-talk while approaching a massive hill, the satisfaction of reaching the top. Rocking out to a new playlist. Feeling strong AF. Doing all sorts of math to do with kilometer splits and average pace. It’s different for everyone, obviously, but not boring.
“You’re going to wreck your knees!”
Oh am I? LOL. Do you go up to soccer/squash/football/basketball players, snowboarders and obese people and tell them this too?
For real though. I do as much cross training and strength training as possible to use other muscles and keep my joints supported and stable, and I work on my running form constantly to make sure something like a high impact foot-strike isn’t going to foil my passion! In 2016 alone I ran over two thousand kilometres, which isn’t even that impressive in the realm of running, but it’s still a lot of distance and I’ve never had a knee injury. If I did develop knee discomfort, I’d rest accordingly and see a professional to help correct the issue. And at the very end of the day, if my knees are worn out when I’m seventy-five from being super active earlier in life, there’s no way in hell I’m going to say “damn, I really regret all those endorphin-packed workouts that helped me live a happy life and have some of the best experiences EVER.”
“How long was your marathon?”
The marathon is actually a specific distance. It is officially 42.195 km, or 26.219 miles. People round it to 42.2 (or 26.2), depending on whether they operate in metric or imperial. A half marathon is half the marathon distance, haha. That’s right, 21.1 km or 13.1 miles.
There are many other race distances, for example the 5km, 10km, ultra marathons and tons of track distances like 100m, 200m, 1500m, etc. And of course, there are totally random distances and events like Ragnar Relays or the Skeena River Relay, but the marathon always has been, and always will be, 42.2 km.
“I don’t know how you do it, I can’t run.”
I can almost guarantee that you can! It’s totally okay if you aren’t interested, but I know you could if you really wanted to! Running isn’t something that most people just decided they wanted to do one day, hopped up and headed out for a ten kilometre rip. If you live where I live, come join us for the thirteen week Learn to Run clinic, and if you don’t live in Prince Rupert, look into a local running group that I can basically promise will offer a couch to 5 or 10km. Yep. Couch can be the starting point. These kind of programs are for absolute beginners and commence with jog/walk intervals that start off really short!
“I don’t know how you have time to run that much.”
I don’t necessarily have the time, I make the time. I get up hours before work because my day is better if I’ve run before my shift. Or, I blow off steam between getting off work and making something for dinner. No, I don’t have kids, but some of the most dedicated runners I know, or follow in the online running community, have children. Check out my friend Martina here, she is a mother of five boys and runs ultra marathons! (An ultra marathon consists of any distance longer than the marathon distance, usually 50km or longer, and is commonly run on trails or other non-pavement terrain.)
“Runners get a lot of injuries you know.”
Okay. So do hockey players, skateboarders, thrill seekers and people who like trampolines. Like I said before, myself and most informed runners work on strengthening the muscle groups that support the areas prone to overuse injuries. Cross training, weight and resistance training, plyometrics and simply creating variety in activity are things that athletes do so they can prevent injury as best as possible and not have to take time off from what they love.
“What place did you get?”
Hahaha. Very flattering to be asked this question, however the answer is usually something like “not sure” or “200th” if it’s a big race. For example, at the Walt Disney World Marathon, which was big, there were a total of 17,751 runners. I got 103/1525 in my category (F30-34), 534/9355 for all women, and 1976th overall. This was a great race for me! The people who win massive-scale running events are usually elite athletes. I got third in my age group once in a small race, out of three people 😉
“You run so much, why do you go to the gym/yoga/hike too?”
Using the same muscles over and over again leaves the other muscles that aren’t being used to weaken. This is a common cause of running injuries, and I don’t want running injuries because then I can’t run. So I use all the muscles. Also, exercise is very addicting. It feels awesome to sweat, create your own high, crush goals and often do these things in the gorgeous outdoors. Once exercising becomes routine, it is no longer a chore, it’s a treat.
“I don’t know where you get the energy for that.”
When my alarm goes off at say, 5:30 am on a Saturday for long-run day, I (usually) don’t fly out of bed fist-pumping. I know, however, that I love how I feel once I get going. I also likely have a friend or friends to meet at a specific time and place. The energy comes from the run. During the week when that alarm goes off, the inner dialogue begins. “If you run now, you’ll have a wicked day AND you can do whatever the hell you want after work!” And then I am awake, feeling alive, happy, nice and more patient all day long. The energy comes from the run! If you’re more of an evening person, burn off every single annoying thing you dealt with or encountered all day long with your run and return home feeling good energy only.
“Do you actually enjoy it?”
We all ask questions about stuff we aren’t familiar with or don’t understand. It’s allowed. But, I encourage us all, myself included, to inquire with open minds and try our best not to make assumptions about another person’s chosen passion.
If I’ve missed anything that you’re just burning to know, email me from the contact page!