Here on SR we talk a lot about how much we love to run. You and I know how good running can be, how much it has changed our lives for the better, or helped us get through tough times, strengthened our families and kept us sane.
Well, when we talk about our love of running here at Salty Running we know that we’re preaching to the choir. Convincing each other that running is great is easy, but we aren’t always talking to other runners.
You know what I’m talking about. You know how non-runners can act when your running comes up in conversation… For some reason, many people get uncomfortable or dismissive about our good habit. So many times when a non-runner has said something annoying about my running I have walked away and then thought “AUGH! I should have said–!”
No longer, my friend. Submitted for your approval, are things I should have said to the most obnoxious retorts about running:
1. Knees. As in, “I want to run, but I have bad knees,” or “You shouldn’t do that, you’ll hurt your knees.”
If I had a dime for every time I’ve been told that some other sport was better for my knees than running I’d be able to afford my own swimming pool. The fact is, strong legs mean strong knees. Running is great exercise for your knee-supporting muscles, not to mention keeping weight off. Ever notice how a lot of people who complain about their knees are overweight? When I was an overweight runner, my doctor told me that losing ten pounds feels like losing 30 pounds to your knees. I’ve lost nearly 70 pounds now from running, so I think it’s safe to say my knees are healthier than they ever were when I was a couch potato.
My retort: “Maybe YOU would hurt your knees, but I don’t – check out my hot legs! I don’t get these muscles by sitting on my tuchus!”
2. You ran a marathon? Oh cool, how long was it?
Seriously? I know not everyone is a runner, but I really thought everyone had learned the legend of the Marathon in school. As this ridiculous guy states it,
Legend states that way back in 490 B.C., Pheidippides ran from Marathon to Athens to announce the victory of the Greek army. As the tale goes, he ran the full 26 miles and then promptly died.
Although the truth behind this story is the subject of some debate, I would say it’s pretty widely passed around. In fact, I’d go so far as to say anyone who can’t answer the question, “How long is a marathon?” is decidedly not smarter than a 5th grader.
My recommended retort? “Oh, about a mile and a half,” accompanied by a thin smile.
3. OMG I’m a runner too! I do a mile on the treadmill after I work out at the gym once a week!
Not that I don’t support anyone in his or her exercise endeavors, but … it’s a little different. I’m not some wuss that won’t lace up when it’s raining out or some seasonal bandwagonner who signs up for the corporate challenge 5k every year and that’s it. I’m not some chick who runs just to make sure I get my cardio in when my boot camp class is canceled…running is my life! It’s a huge part of my identity! It’s my favorite way to spend my spare time! I love racing and competing against myself and striving to attain a goal! I have realistic dreams of a Boston Qualification. I am a marathoner, and have made the perfect half marathon a serious project for myself. Still, cut the guy some slack – at least he’s doing it, and maybe he wants to join the ranks of the truly addicted.
My recommendation for this one is to go easy: “Hey man, that’s awesome. Good for you. If you ever want to join me on a longer run I’m training for [your next big race]!”
4. I only run when someone is chasing me!
This is usually followed by the speaker laughing at his own joke. You know why? Because he’s the only person who thinks it’s funny.
It’s not! First of all, it gives me occasional horrible daydreams (daymares?) of being chased during one of my runs. But second, I think I hear it at least three times a month.
My retort: laugh as sincerely as you possibly can (which likely isn’t much at all) and then say something creepy like, “Well when I turn into a zombie, I’ll know who to eat first.”
5. You ran How many miles? Man, I don’t even like driving that far!
Yes, I know. Your lack of motivation to exercise is only surpassed by your lack of a sense of adventure. Color me impressed by your dismissal of all the hard work I do and all the passion I have. I understand that your high school wrestling coach made you run as punishment or whatever, but that doesn’t mean you can’t support me and my passion for a sport that gives me intense happiness and glorious freedom.
My retort: “Maybe you could try a Segway. I hear it’s both lazier than running AND driving!”
What about you? Do you get negative feedback from non-runners about your good habit? What’s the most annoying thing you’ve heard?
This post was originally published on August 24, 2012.