18 Things No One Tells You About Running

Things No One Tells You About Running | happyfitmama.com

I have a friend who just started running.  She’s been picking my brain, asking me questions about shoes, GPS watches, training plans, and all the other things that runners get hooked on once they get the running bug. I’m so excited for her but there’s a part of me that wants to say, “Girl, lemme tell you something!”

Years ago, when I started running, there were tons of things I wish I knew about running. I thought it was so simple – put on shoes and run. Haha – how silly of me!  It can be that simple but when you get into it, you start to crave all the little extra’s.

Her questions reminded me of all the things no one tells you about running before you became a runner. I originally posted this list almost 4 years ago but I added some more tidbits. I’m sharing this with my friend.  I feel like it’s my runner duty to let her know running will change her in so many ways.

1. Running is hard. We’ve all seen the magical runner gliding down the street making it look effortless. Running isn’t easy. It’s down right hard work. But once you get started, find a flow, it does get easier. In the beginning, the thought of running one continuous mile seemed impossible. Conditioning of the body and the mind will happen if you stick with it.

2. Running requires patience. For most runners, it takes years and years of putting in hard work to get faster to become a more efficient. When setting a goal race or time, you need to build that sweat equity before it comes a reality. Building new muscle and expanding your VO2 max requires patience.

3. Running is not a cheap sport. When you start running, you think all I need is shoes, bottoms, tops, and a sports bra (for the ladies) to run. While that’s very true, you will find yourself at some point wanting more. A GPS watch, more shoes, more gear for every possible weather event, hydration systems, fuel belts, mid run fuel, running magazine subscriptions and let’s not forget race entries. Running is not cheap.

4. Never say never when it comes to running a marathon or an ultramarathon. I don’t know how many friends I have heard say they will NEVER run a marathon or further. And then guess what? They do. I’ve learned to never say I’d NEVER do…because you just never know.

5. Running with others will make you a stronger runner. When I first started running, I ran mostly by myself. But then I decided to run with a group for occasional training runs. They motivated me to get out of my comfort zone. I learned that I could actually run faster than I thought I could. My running friends that I’ve made over the years have become some of my greatest friends.  They may even know more about me than my non-running friends.  There’s just something about running with others.

6. Your digestive system may go crazy once you start logging more miles. When I started upping my mileage training for my first half marathon, I found that my tummy was unhappy a lot mid run or post run. I quickly learned what Runner’s Trots were all about. But as time went on, my digestive system, along with everything else, got conditioned to the mileage.

7. You will go to the bathroom NOT in a bathroom. A LOT.  Dropping a deuce in the woods, popping a squat behind a tree, holding your breath in Port-a-Potties…welcome to the glamorous side of running. Because when you gotta go, YOU GOTTA GO!

8. Your feet will never look the same. No one ever told me that my feet would get bigger when I started running longer distances.  I was a size 7 (sometimes 6.5) and am now a 7.5 (regular shoes) and 8.5 running shoes. No one ever told me that my feet would have gnarly callouses.  Thankfully, I have never had a black toenail but I know plenty of runners that have. I always feel the need to apologize and state that
“I’m a runner” as a PDA whenever I get a pedicure.

Ironically, you will post more pics of your feet on social media than ever before. Go figure!

9. You will sweat more than you ever thought possible. Hot, hazy, humid summer runs will leave your clothes looking like you went for a swim. Even single digit, cold AF winter runs, will leave you so sweaty.  It’s a part of the running game.

10. Your laundry pile will grow even bigger. Especially during the winter months when you need more layers.

11. What works for your friend will not necessarily work for you. Just because a certain type of shoe or mid run fuel works for your friend, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Get properly fitted for a shoe. Do the work in finding a fuel that works just for you. One size does not fit all.

 

12. Running is way more mental than muscle. Of course you need to train your muscles to successfully run but training your brain is just as important. I don’t know how many times my brain has run out of energy before my body while running. Building mental toughness is always a work in progress.

13. You will come up with AMAZING ideas on your run. I do some of my best thinking while on a run.  If I have a problem,a good run will help me sort it out.  Ron always gets worried when I come home from a run and the first thing I say is, “I was thinking on my run…”  That usually means some big project. Hopefully, you will remember all your ideas unlike me.  I usually forget 90% of it when I get thrown back into mom mode the moment I walk through the door.

14. Don’t just run. Variety is what will keep you running longer. I love running but I can not run 7 days a week. I know there are some people out there that can do it, but the majority of us can not. I need to do other forms of exercise to counter balance my running muscles otherwise I’m an IPOS. Yoga, cycling, weights, swimming, Barre, whatever it is that you enjoy, do it in addition to running to keep your body balanced and hopefully injury free. It’s also a great way to have a “back up” in case you do get injured.

15. There will be some runs that suck and make you want to quit running. Everyone has horrible running days. If you know someone who doesn’t, they are lying. When it happens, all you can do is shake it off and move on to the next run. It will get better. Some even think that bad runs usually mean that you are on the brink of a running break through. Tighten your ponytail, give yourself a confidence boosting pep talk, and get back in the game.

16. If you run, you are a runner. I can’t recall the exact moment that I felt like a “real” runner.  Maybe it was when I completed my first race?  Prior to that, I never said I was a runner.  I ran but it was more casual, for fun.  It’s like people who say they only smoke when they drink. They aren’t smokers, right?  Sorry peeps, you are a smoker.  And if you run, even if you never run one single race,you are a runner.

17. Running is way more than just exercise. At some point running switched over from being a way to stay in shape to just being a part of who I am. Without it, I feel off, not like myself.  It makes me feel calm, peaceful and overall happier.

18. Running can break your heart. My heart has been broken a few times from running. An injury, a disappointing race, a soul crushing run where nothing feels right.  But I still keep going back to it. Why?  Because I love it.

What was something you wish you knew before you started running?

Linking up with Coaches Corner.

Last Week’s Workouts

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com

Six weeks out from Mount Washington Road Race has me feeling sore yet seeing progress.  Last week’s workouts had me running farther and gathering more vert.  As I was running on Thursday, I had an AHA! moment that training is working.  Hills that would leave me feeling drained back in March are now nothing but a little blip.  It’s nice to see new Strava segment PR’s on hills that used to kick my butt.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not cruising up every hill.  There’s still some shuffling going on.  But just at a little quicker  pace.

Monday

25 minutes Stepmill

15 minutes incline Treadmill hike

My monkey mind could not handle 40 minutes on the Stepmill today.  Instead, I hopped on a treadmill, cranked up the incline to 10% and kept increasing it every 2 minutes till 15%.  There will be lots of power hiking at Mount Washington and Loon Mountain so both modalities do the trick.

Strength training:

band pull ups

TRX inverted row

Bench press -> shoulder press circuit

Split squat

Bench step ups w/  SL balance and OH press

Lat lunge w/ SL balance/press

SL stand to sit

SL deadlift

Mobility and Core

Last week's workouts

Tuesday

50 minute run, 293 ft elev gain

Easy paced miles with Max on yet another rainy day.  Seriously.  I’m so over rain.  I deprived Max of his two days of running last week because of the kids school vacation.  He was more than ready to hit the pavement today which made for some rather faster paced miles than I intended.  Thankfully, he settled and we could slow things down to an easy peasey pace.

last week's workous | happyfitmama.com

Wednesday

30 minutes Elliptical Intervals

Strength Training + Mobility and Core

Thursday

7 mile run, 486 ft elev gain

Another run, another run in the rain. I had 50 minutes of attacking ascents and recovering on the downhills/flats so I went in search of a route that had a lot of hills close together.  Plus, I’m getting bored with hills in my area so I’m trying to expand my reach.  I think I accomplished that today.  It took awhile for my body to wake up but by the 3rd hill, I found my uphill grind gear.

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com

When I got home, Max was full of energy so I took him for a one mile cool down lap to make him chill out. It did the trick!

Friday

Rest day!

Saturday

1:30 min trail run, 1182 ft elev gain

I was so excited for this run until plans fell through.  Originally, all the kids sports were to be played in the afternoon.  That meant the whole morning would be free for me to hit the trails for my run.  But then the soccer games got moved to another location and at an early time because of their opponents flooded fields (thanks to day 1243 of rain!).  My morning run plans were foiled.  After sitting outside in the wet and cold for the majority of the morning, my motivation to run was low.  But the sun started to peek out and things warmed up.  I found some good pump up music to blast on the 30 minute drive to the mountain and I was good to go.

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com

I lucked out because the course markers for the Big A 50k were still up.  I explored a few new trails that I’d never been on before.  My legs felt great and I even scored a few more segment PR’s.  Maybe running in the afternoon isn’t so bad?  Haha – yeah right!

Sunday

40 min run, 4.5 miles

Another morning filled with soccer games for Avery meant an afternoon run again.  Thankfully, I had Max along to pep things up.  And the ice coffee I had beforehand helped too.

Last week's workouts | happyfitmama.com

How was your week in workouts?

Linking up with the Weekly Run Down.

Name That Runner

Name That Runner | happyfitmama.cm

Every runner has a story.

A story of what they are training for, how long they’ve been a runner, their best race ever, or a tale of the most horrible race that you would never wish on your worst nightmare. War stories of injuries, running in a driving rain, crawling across a finish line or withstanding the bitter cold and blizzards.

I live in a town that has quite a few runners.  I see a lot of the same runners every day of the year. It doesn’t matter if it’s morning, noon or night, snowstorm or a hot and humid summer day. We are out there!  Some runners I have gotten to know over the years thanks to my run club. Others, I may never know their stories or their names.

So I give them a name.

It’s a little game I like to call, Name That Runner.

Welcome to the cast and crew of runners in my town. I’m sure you have a unique crew in your town,too.

Grunter – A super speedy girl who will never ever take me by surprise. I hear her grunts way before I see her. Is that her way of saying “On your left!”? It must be because Grunter never says ‘hello’ as she cruises by. So rude!

Lara Croft – Another super speedy girl who makes running look effortlessly.  We call her Lara Croft (as in the Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider video game) because she has dark hair and wears it in a long braid that swings back and forth as she casually strides by.  For years, I didn’t know who she was. As luck would have it, our sons became friends in 2nd grade and so did we. Ironically, her name is Laura but she’s still Lara Croft to me. And of course, I told her this story when we first met. Not awkward at all. 🙂

Insanely Overdressed Guy – I’m in a tank and shorts in July. He’s in a 1/2 zip fleece, gloves and ski hat. I always want to say “It is so cold out!” just to hear what his response would be.

Insanely Underdressed Guy – For every piece of clothing Insanely Overdressed Guy puts on, Insanely Underdressed Guy takes off. No matter what the season. 20 degrees? T-shirt and shorts. Snowing? T-shirt and shorts. MAYBE he’ll put a long sleeve shirt on. Maybe.

This is Painful but I’m Doing it Anyway Guy – Two ankle braces and a knee brace and it looks like he winces in pain with every step. Yet he runs by my house almost every single day.  Can’t stop, won’t stop.

The Dog Dragger – Let me first start off by saying this woman isn’t actually dragging her dogs.  It just looks like the dogs really aren’t into the faster pace.  And when I say faster pace, I mean walking at a normal pace.  This lady isn’t even a runner. Just another person that we gave a name too.

The Guy with ALL the Blinky Lights On – I’m all for safety when running in the dark but this guy wears so many blinkies that it’s blinding to drivers. One dark winter morning, Kyle and I could see something up ahead of us.  We thought it was a police car with it’s lights on.  Nope – just The Guy with ALL the Blinky Lights On.

Miss I Never Smile, Wave or Say Hi – Doesn’t she know the runner’s code?

Dan, Dan the running man, running by as fast as he can. –  So I actually know this guys name – it is in fact, Dan. He’s so fast that he gets a jingle. However, I can’t claim credit for it. Ron came up with this one all on his own.

The Tip Toe Runner – His name says it all – this guy looks like he’s tip toeing along the road.  I know I don’t have the perfect running form but that just looks painful.

The Twins – I’ve seen these two ladies running together ever since I’ve moved to the area 13 years ago. I would love to be their triplet but they are always starting when I’m finishing! If only I didn’t have to be done with my run so early. We could be besties.

So now I need to know – what do other runners call me? Hmmmm…

Do you make up names for runners in your area that you don’t know?

What do you think your Runner Name would be? I’m guessing mine would be Morning Runner Girl.

Linking up with Coaches Corner.