By: Jen Lawler
Picture leaving your house in your perfectly fitted windbreaker, hair tied not too tight but not lose enough to come undone, brightly colored (and matching) sneakers and your music player held just right on your arm playing all of your favorite tunes. It’s a beautiful day and you’ve ate the perfect balanced breakfast. You’re energized, mind is clear and you’re ready for this 7 mile run, which you’ll complete effortlessly; without gasping for breath or hitting the pavement too hard.
Every person who wants to be a runner wants this feeling, but they’ll never get it.
The reality is no runner gets this lucky. That picture in your mind of the girl running effortlessly, you’ve probably seen in a fitness magazine is just that- a picture.
The truth about runners 101:
1. Pre run: It takes roughly 7-10 minutes for us to be ready to hit the pavement
Shoelaces need to be tied tight, and even. One side can’t be more tight that the other, it throws off the whole run
Phones/Ipods have to be in the right spot- those arm band holders never stay in the same spot and if they do then you’ve pulled it so tight your circulation is probably cut off
Finding the right music. That’s 3 minutes in itself because slowing your pace to switch a song isn't going to happen
Along with music: earbud detangling. Will I run the cord up my shirt, bunch it up, put it in back of my head, hold it… the possibilities are endless and almost always end up with the cord whacking you in the face.
Stretching- some runners do it, some don’t, some pretend.
And just as you’re about to go- you need to map your route. Some runners have a route they stick to, and are happy with it- some (like myself) get bored and need new scenery so the never ending question comes- which route will take me just as long as I want to go?
This brings me to my next point:
2. The things that go through our heads
Running isn't smooth sailing physically or mentally. It’s a long time in your own thoughts.
SOME of the things that we think:
How’s my form? What’s my pace? My lungs feel like they’re going to explode. How much longer? WHY DO I DO THIS? Did I lock the door? What are they looking at? Food. Carbs. It’s freezing. It’s cold. Why can’t it rain? POTHOLE! Is that me that smells? Oh.. another runner, my form is better. Breath. Ugh this is terrible. Did I send that email?
3. The OCD a runner forms
We all have habits, and we all get a little too carried away with numbers.
For the most part we try to stick to a routine before our run; eat the right portion of carbs, protein and fats, charge phone, have clothes out ready to go, stretch, go. When this does happen it’s a great feeling, but sometimes you just can’t get your phone charged enough to use MapMyRun and play music- now you have to listen to your own thoughts for an hour! Not every runner eats properly- a lot of runners go out on weekends and use the carbs from the previous nights beer as their fuel.
The miles, time and calories burnt is the kicker of the dilemma. You set out to run 5 miles and it takes you 45 minutes..perfect!…but you’ve burned 536 calories. If you go another few minutes you’ll get to an even 600 calories and just about 5.5 miles but only 50 minutes.. it’s a never ending battle but at some point you have to give in and deal with you uneven numbers.
Foot strike- I always have to step up on the curb with my right foot, even if I have to shudder step or take an extra long stride I just can’t step up with my left. I hope others think the same.
4. Other not so glamorous oddities with runners
We can get grossly sweaty; our sweat stained hats tell you we sweat, but the hat doesn’t catch all of it. Down the face, arms, legs, neck, palms, under that stupid strap that almost holds your phone on your arm, feet, and my favorite; little sweat drops down the lower back- very attractive.
Our toenails fall off and for some reason it’s a right of passage. Those lost or bruised toenails prove hard work and tough miles.
Our ravenous feast post long run. When we get through that front door- know that one thing has been on our mind the last 3 miles; food. We plan out what carb infested food we’ll devour, how to make it and what to drink with it. DON”T GET IN OUR WAY.
We smell- sometimes we forget our deodorant- sorry.
I can’t tell you all our secrets in one article… you’ll just have to check back for more :)
Next time you want to try running, don’t think you’ll ever be that picture perfect model in the magazines; it’s just not going to happen.
Jen is a Certified Personal Trainer/Weight Loss Specialist. She is dedicated to helping everyone achieve their goals as well as sharing her journey throughout her own goals.