I love running, and I also love talking about running. I often go on at length if someone asks me how my training has been going or where I am planning to run my next marathon. However, there are topics that make my face twitch and the conversation come to an abrupt end. Here’s a list of ten topics to avoid if you’d like to discuss running with me or one of my kind.
1. How can your knees take the stress?
To be fair, you should also ask a couch potato how their buttocks can take all that sitting. The rule of thumb is that you should never ask a runner anything about their knees, ankles, calves or any other body parts and their endurance of stress.
2. It’ll be fine.
You tend to hear this a lot if you must take a break for one reason or another. Here’s the thing: the annoyance caused by taking a forced break from running is unbearable. Your best bet is to listen silently or simply stay out of the way. Otherwise, it certainly won’t be fine.
3. You have it so easy. You can eat anything you want.
Here’s a thought: let’s revisit the ease of it all after you have tried running 1,500 miles per year. And what do you mean by “anything”? Pebbles? A truckload of cakes? A three-kilo steak tartare?
4. Why the rush? You wouldn’t need to run if you had left earlier.
I mean … really?
5. Running must be so boring.
Running is a thousand times more inspiring than having to listen to platitudes or preconceived notions. It’s absolutely the best way to spend some alone time. Give it a try!
6. Do you really need to run in sub-zero temperatures?
7. I was best in class in the Cooper test.
And which class was that? The class of 1928? If you think that old running records are impressive, I can tell you, hand on heart, that they’re not.
8. You ran a marathon? Did you win?
Hmm, let’s see … A few world champions from Kenya and Ethiopia participated, along with thousands of top runners. No, I didn’t win, dammit. I can also tell you a secret: most of the participants are not there to compete with others. They only want to win the battles inside their head during the distance.
9. Why do you have so many pairs of running shoes?
What do you think? I have so many closets that I didn’t quite know how to fill them … WEAR AND TEAR, ANYONE?
10. Go on, you’re almost there!
This well-intended cheer only works if the runner can see the finishing line. From any other point on the route, the distance to the finishing line is long. Very much so.