Wear the same old kit every day, despite owning loads of activewear? Got your morning loo routine down to a fine art? Then, my friend, you’re definitely a runner.
Running is a brilliant activity. It’s free, fundamentally quite simple and can be done in most environments. But as soon as you become a runner, you start to act a little strange: you go running before most people have stopped snoring. You run in the rain. And, if you’re not running, you’re talking about running.
Running is addictive. Even if you don’t like running, you still do it because you’re addicted to the endorphins or the sense of achievement that comes from getting a cheeky 5K in before your morning meeting.
Because of that, however, runners do have a number of totally bonkers habits. It doesn’t take long before even the freshest of runners starts to turn into a mileage monster. Here are just some of the incontrovertible habits that no runner can deny having.
Snot and spit repulse you… unless you’re running
It’s just a fact that you get gunky when you run fast, long or anywhere in between. Maybe you run with tissues, perhaps you’ve mastered the whole “blowing the wind” technique; however you do it, you’re snotting and spitting like there’s no tomorrow. That obviously doesn’t stop you from side-eying anyone else who dares to expel their mucus anywhere near you.
You suffer from irrational pedestrian rage
You’ve got nothing against dog walkers, children on scooters, couples, people who listen to their headphones, bus lines, shoppers etc but do they really have to do it when you’re running? It’s not your fault if you’ve had to elbow someone or you’ve accidentally collided with a pedestrian who didn’t move out of the way fast enough – it’s theirs for not understanding how pavements work and the unwritten rule that “the fastest person on the pavement has first dibs”.
Despite owning loads of sportswear, you wear the same kit all the time
You own ten different pairs of leggings, tops and shorts and yet, you run in the same t-shirt and shorts combo every week. Why? Because it’s just an irrational thing that runners do. If you race, you’ll have your special sports bra, socks and shoes that can never be replaced and if you do need to chuck them away for whatever reason, you’ll probably buy exactly the same make, style and colour again.
Your post-run hunger is all-consuming
It doesn’t kick in immediately but give it an hour after you get home, and you’ll have eaten your way through every snack in the cupboard. Post-run hunger is all-consuming and can only really be beaten with copious amounts of carbs. There is a scientific reason for this: when we run long, our glycogen stores become depleted (our body’s go-to source of fuel is carb-based glucose) so reaching for a slice of toast, bag of crisps or packet of biscuits may feel necessary. Before you open the snack cupboard, however, be sure to have a big glass of water, sports drink or herbal tea first to make sure that you’re not actually mistaking dehydration for hunger.
Foam rolling is a punishment, not a preventative
It’s just a fact that runners hate stretching, strengthening or rehabbing – we like running. It’s no wonder then that nearly 80% of runners get injured every year. We’ll happily slog our guts around Parkrun or do a long, wet session on a Sunday morning but for some reason, foam rolling seems like too much pain and effort.
You’ve become your own A-Z
Forget Google Maps, you know every side road, green space and shortcut for miles around. If you’re more of a park runner, you’ll know every single bit of that park – from the mildest of inclines to the best corners to have a breather. Runners are basically the black cabbies of the pavement.
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You’re either a night owl or early bird
We’re an extreme pack of people. You either run at 7am or 7pm, and having to run at any time in between can be dead stressful. What do you eat if you run at 4pm? How do you navigate the hoards of pedestrians if you run at 9am? Most of us run first thing or last thing and that’s the way we like it.
Every time you say “never again”, you do it again
Remember the last race or tough run you did? Remember when you said you’d never, ever do that again? Remember when you immediately went online and booked your next race when you got home? Yep, we’re calling it “runners’ amnesia.” It’s a bit like the pain mums go through during labour and then quickly forget when they’re holding their new baby; your medal or Strava update is a miraculous memory wiper.
You can’t go out with completing the coffee-poo ritual…
Runners need coffee for two things: energy and avoiding a Paula Radcliffe situation mid-run. You might have your own routine but it’ll be some variation of “coffee, coffee, coffee, poo, poo, poo” and any runner who claims not to spend at least 30 minutes thinking about their bathroom habits before a session is lying.
… because you know the danger of mid-run runs
The absolute fear of needing the loo mid-run can have you breaking out in a sweat like nothing else in this world. Even having a coffee-poo regime won’t render you immune from a jippy stomach once in a while. That’s because the flow of blood increases to your muscles and decreased from your gut decreases – playing havoc with how well your gut functions. The result? A stop off at the nearest park loos.
You’ve got a weird watch and sock tan
It doesn’t matter how gloomy it is outside, you’ll still have the palest of ankles and wrists because you’ve spent the past year flashing your flesh while wearing socks and a tracker. Your feet might even out little when you lie in the sun but you’re more reticent to lose your Garmin tan – the ultimate wearable proof of commitment to the cause.
You talk about running… a lot
It’s the first thing you might do when you wake up and it’s a big part of your weekend so running naturally is going to play on your mind quite a lot. You don’t want to talk about running – particularly to your mates who actively refuse to step foot in a Runner’s Need store with you – but you just can’t help yourself.
Sunday mornings are sacred
No, you’re not free for a Sunday morning coffee and sorry, you’re probably not going to stay until closing time the night before because you’ve got a long run to do. You might be free for brunch later, but it wholly depends on how well you can walk once you’ve showered.
There’s no feeling like the afterglow of a good run
Some runs feel like a slog; they’re painful, slow and never-ending. With enough sleep, good food and decent rest, however, we can enjoy seriously pleasurable runs where everything feels right. You’re full of energy and have no niggles. The pavements are clear, the weather’s perfect and you feel like you could run on and on indefinitely. That, as we all know, is pure bliss.
Miranda Larbi is the editor of Strong Women and Strong Women Training Club. A qualified personal trainer and vegan runner, she can usually be found training for the next marathon, seeking out vegan treats or cycling across London on a pond-green Tokyo bike.