Runners are a unique bunch, we at times are not understood and frequently have eyes rolled at us. BUT in reality we are just like any other individual dedicated to a sport or activity that often consumes ones life. While out running this AM I was thinking about all the little quirks and idiosyncrasies we runners often commit.
1. Living by numbers… miles per week, VO2max, HR, pace/mile, split times, days till next big race, Boston qualifying times, PR’s, etc
2. Compression…Post-run, coffee shop, race expos is where you will see athletes walking around in compression socks, shorts, t-shirt, and sandals or crocs. Not to mention the runners you see wearing compression socks, calf sleeves, or tights while out running. Yes, it looks funny but it works. In fact I have a pair of compression socks on as recovery while typing this blog … and they are pink 😉
3. Vacations… where better to spend vacation than running a marathon. 26.2 miles to reflect on the past, present, and future while partaking in your favorite past-time. There is always post-marathon to relax with a umbrella drink… and by that point you won’t want to move and will be in a state of complete relaxation (or exhaustion), what better way to just chill out.
4. 2- a -days…. the old saying that practice makes perfect. To be a better runner you must run. The more miles the more efficiency is obtained and the less effort you will use. Not all miles should be run at the same pace though. Variety is the spice of life…or the means to becoming a better runner. So yes, there will be days you will see me out there 2 x … it’s just part of the total training package, we runners are NOT crazy.
5. Want strength and afraid of muscle. … Now that surely sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But yes, runners in general want all the strength but are not crazy about carrying around the muscle weight associated with the strength. Each added pound adds more weight to be carried over the many miles. Check out the 100m sprinter verses the marathon runner. See a difference? That’s why it’s important you find a trainer/strength coach that understands your goals. I am SUPER lucky, I have the best one ever 🙂
6. Energy gels, energy chews, Sport beans, and energy drinks…oh, and JAVA. …. yes we can come up with some pretty crazy pre/during/and post run concoctions.Such as a gooey gel that provides us with the energy to keep running, Sport beans that are jelly beans infused with some electrolytes and marketed as health food, electrolyte infused fruit snacks (but Flinestones ones work great too) and the huge amount of energy drinks that we down multiple times a day… (Vitamin water works good too). My energy choices go like this… Java before running, Gu Roctane during long runs and nothing during runs of 8 miles or less, and a recovery smoothie post run. Possibly more java later. And java, what a wonderful invention. Iced in the summer, hot in the winter, straight up with no added ingredients.
7. Recovery…. only runners make a date with the foam roller, The Stick, a bag of ice thrown into the bathtub, and then a constant supply of arnica and or icy hot. These are the little things that at times keep us moving in a forward direction. Not uncommon to see all of the above sitting in the family room at any given time. OK, maybe the ice resides in the freezer 😉
8. Sacrifices… there are certainly times when runners must make a decision such as going out the night before an important training run, or being on their feet when they know that it’s time to relax and recovery. Sacrifices are not always easy but if you are like me and your life, passion, and goals revolve around the great sport of running, you have no regrets in making sacrifices for your sport and performance. It’s part of life and if you love what you do, there is no sacrifice made.
Some of my quirks…
• I must have gum to run and race. No gum = no run
• Pre-race meal… applesauce and 1/2 c oatmeal
• NEVER wear matching socks while racing .. and preferably running either
• Short prayer by myself before all races and runs… just thanking the Higher Power for the gift to be able to run
• Not running with traffic, ALWAYS against or on sidewalk… nightmares of 2000 accident
• Pink compression socks
• Java before all runs.. even if just 4-6 oz., it’s a MUST
• Newton running shoes and NEVER socks that go up to your ankle. I CAN’T STAND being able to see my socks. Freaks me out :-0
These idiosyncrasies often make runners fodder for debasement by groups that do not understand us. Behind the quirks are kind hearted, fun-loving, humorous, smart and generous individuals.