Whether or not you want to admit it, there is likely a special place in your heart for the 2003 rom-com “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” Andie Anderson pretends to date Benjamin Barry (please take a second to acknowledge this amazing alliteration), but meanwhile and unbeknownst to him, she is writing a dating “how to” column in reverse. She is actually trying to drive him away using classic relationship mistakes. You might be thinking to yourself, “What does this have to do with running?” Great question!
Over the years, we’ve all made lots of questionable decisions that have impaired our relationship with running. In this post, I want to delve into a few of these so that you can learn from our collective mistakes and avoid the “it’s complicated” status with your relationship with running. You’re welcome.
- Don’t devote all of your mental, emotional and physical energy to running. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it is surprisingly easy to get overly invested in your relationship with running. Just like in dating, this is a real quick ticket to scaring off your potential partner. The key is always balance! Most of us are not professional runners, so let’s not pretend like we are. Running will thank you and you’ll likely be able to stay with it for the long-term.
- Don’t run every single training run at goal race pace. You want to run a half marathon at 7:30 pace, so you might as well try to run every single run at that pace to make sure that you can do it on race day right? Of course not! Unfortunately, lots of us are guilty of running our easy runs too fast. SLOW it down, girlfriend! Slow and steady is usually best (if you know what I mean).
- Don’t train through injury. Throw some Icy Hot on that niggle and hit the track! Uh yeah … this is a good way to get burned (in more ways than one). Every relationship has its broken moments. Andie and Ben went to couples therapy to work through their issues. If you find yourself on the verge of injury, take it easy for a few days and go see your local sports chiro/physical therapist/medical pro of choice. Chances are he or she will be able to fix you up and keep you running! The key is jumping on it early and not letting it escalate (true in running and relationships, eh?).
- Not ever missing a workout (i.e., live or die by your training plan). You will not get an extra award on race day for perfect attendance during training. Life happens. You will miss a workout here or there. You might even miss a Monday. What?! Even though “never miss a Monday” is trendy these days, your body might be extra tired on Monday (especially if you are doing your long runs on Saturday or Sunday).
- Don’t choose your race day outfit for style over function. You want to look good, I get it! I hate to admit how many times I’ve made this mistake myself (Nike booty shorts … I’m talking to you), but really, don’t do this! Choose comfort and function over style. You don’t always have to dress to impress. Running loves you no matter what you look like! (Also, pockets. Pockets always win.)
- Don’t get knocked up! Kidding — while wanting to have a baby might scare off some men, it won’t scare off running. With some adjustments and following their doctor’s advice, a lot of Saltines have run through and/or soon after pregnancy. Some have taken more time off during pregnancy and after. It’s up to you (and your doctor). All those options are fine — running will still think you’re beautiful.
- Don’t experiment with your race day fuel ON RACE DAY. We know this isn’t a good idea and yet, we’ve probably all done it at least once. The orange Gatorade and orange gel fiasco of 2013 was the final straw for me personally. I actually haven’t had an orange Gatorade or gel since. The time to experiment is during your long training runs. You’ve got to figure out what works for you. The same thing doesn’t work for everyone!
- Don’t train in the heat of the day to make yourself stronger! Running knows that you are tough. You don’t have anything to prove. Just like you don’t want to willingly put your dating relationships directly into a pressure cooker, let’s keep running away from any unnecessarily brutal conditions as well. It’s hot enough out there as it is.
- Don’t try to get as many miles as possible on each pair of running shoes. Shoes get expensive for sure and you’ve got that one special pair that you just keep wearing and wearing and wearing some more, because they totally messed up the newest model. It happens. Sometimes you just have to let it go and move on. You will find your next true love. You just might have to try out a few before you find the one. Try it before you buy it! We’ll let you be the one to decide how to this applies in other relationships.
- Don’t treat yo’ self to a pre-race pedicure and let them trim up all of those nasty calluses. Gurl, your feet look turrible. Trust me, I know. But please, whatever you do … do not let them take those calluses off! You’ve worked hard to earn those bad boys. Wear them proud (and possibly wear closed toe shoes on your next date).
Chances are that even if you have tried your best to push it away, running is still there for you. Let’s face it, this is likely the most stable relationship you’ve ever been in. You two were simply meant to be together!
It’s time for us to hear from you! What are some good mistakes that you’ve made that you want others to learn from?