12 Things Only Runners Will Understand

Marc Lindsay
by Marc Lindsay
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12 Things Only Runners Will Understand

Running is a hard sport and those of us who wake up and get out of bed day after day to pound the pavement are indeed a rare breed. This can make some of the things we do a little hard to understand for the non-runners among us.

Whether it’s runner’s high or weird tan lines, here are 12 things only runners can truly relate to:

1. WORKING OUT WITHOUT UNDERWEAR

Running shorts usually come in two varieties — those that are worn as tights and those that come with a built-in lining — both of which can be used without underwear. This helps prevent chafing and improve comfort while you run.

2. RELIEVING YOURSELF OUTDOORS

Sometimes you just have to go. And when you’re on a long run, sometimes there just isn’t any other option than to head for the trees. While this might be frowned upon by most of civilized society, a fellow runner would never think poorly of you for a mid-run emergency potty break when a restroom is nowhere to be found.

3. HAVING A CLOSET FULL OF SHOES

If you’re a runner, chances are you’ve got way more running shoes than any other type of footwear in your closet. From trail to road to track and then the semi broken-in ones, brand new ones still in the box and the old trainers with a few more runs in them that you might save for traveling, it’s amazing that there’s room for anything else.

4. TERRIBLE TOENAILS

Unfortunately, black toenails are an all-too-common result of putting in heavy training mileage. While others may look at your feet with disgust, a true runner knows what this badge of honor truly means. You’re dedicated and willing to sacrifice a little vanity for a new PR — that’s what regular pedicures and fun nail polish are for.

5. NEW USES FOR BAND-AIDS

Most people use Band-Aids for cuts or wounds. For us runners, they’re also used to prevent chafing. Whether it’s bandaging nipples before a race or providing an extra barrier where your blisters commonly pop up, runners often use Band-Aids to solve problems and stay pain-free as the miles pile up.

6. THE ART OF THE JAYWALK

Law-abiding pedestrians have no reason to jump a no-walk signal or cross suddenly to the opposite side of the street right in the middle of the road. For runners, nothing is worse than having to break your stride or halt an interval while you wait on a light change when there isn’t a car in sight. Artfully and safely learning how to jaywalk while maintaining your running momentum is something most non-runners simply can’t appreciate.

7. PORT-A-POTTY NIGHTMARES

There are few other times in civilized society when masses of people need to go number 2 at the exact same time than just before the start of a running race. Whether it’s pre-race jitters or a ritual that simply needs to be done along with a warmup and stretching, the port-a-potty line an hour before the gun goes off can often look a lot like the wait time for your favorite roller coaster at the amusement park. It’s just something you learn to deal with.


READ MORE > RUNNING ETIQUETTE: ON RACE DAY


8. SHRUGGING OFF RUDE RUNNERS

Not everyone says hello to each other when they pass on the street. But when you’re a runner, you’re supposed to be part of a brotherhood that few others understand. Is there anything worse than saying hello and waving to your fellow runner on the street who’s sweating and suffering like few others do, only to be ignored or scoffed at? We think not.

9. HANGRY PAINS AFTER A LONG RUN

My wife tells me I’m like a pregnant woman after I run. I have cravings that can be very specific, I want food in large quantities, and I am not willing to wait to eat. If you ask me to be patient, I will become hangry. This is the life of a long-distance runner.

10. RUNNING SHOES OR SANDALS

As previously mentioned, blisters and black toenails are part of the sport of running. This can make slipping your feet into more traditional footwear a not-so-comfortable option when you’re out of training mode. Sandals, on the other hand, are a definite go-to for their comfort and relief of your sensitive feet. When you’re a runner, style takes a backseat.

11. GETTING HIGH HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH DRUGS

For runners, it’s that oh-so-blissful feeling that can only be experienced when you finally shut it down after an epic workout. Runner’s high is real and something non-runners don’t understand.

12. WEIRD TAN LINES

Sports bras and knee-high compression socks can make for some pretty awkward tan lines. While this might bother some people, for runners, its par for the course. For those who laugh and mock or shake their head in your direction, they just don’t understand.

About the Author

Marc Lindsay
Marc Lindsay

Marc is a freelance writer based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He holds a master’s degree in writing from Portland State University and is a certified physical therapy assistant. An avid cyclist and runner of over 20 years, Marc contributes to LAVA, Competitor and Phoenix Outdoor magazines. He is the former cycling editor for Active.com.

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