Ahh, infotainment! I’ve always detested “human interest” pieces in the news; they’re so often transparent ploys to manipulate the audience into associating the news organization with emotional high ground, and they wind up blurring the lines between real, factual news and gelatinous informational flatulence.
I hold infotainment responsible for convincing non-runners that we are ruining our lives by pursuing a hobby that keeps us happy and fit, a position that’s conveniently easy to accept by the millions of couch potatoes who are watching TV news while we runners are out logging miles. And they just love sending us those links, right? Because they’re “worried about you,” or “concerned that you’re running too much.”
And so I bring you 5 ways running is ruining our lives. Let’s go down in flames together, baby!
1. Running will make your boobs fall off or something.
In “The Problem of Breast Pain in Women Who Exercise,” I found my favorite quote ever: “…Motion-capture research by the Portsmouth scientists established that unsupported female breasts — that is, those not contained within a bra — oscillate as much as eight inches in space when a woman runs, and not just up and down, but also side to side, forward and backward.” I clutched protectively at my own tiny boobs while I fell over laughing at the idea of them oscillating forward and backward in motion-capture footage. Awesome.
Although it calls to mind Pam Anderson running in slow-mo, this article isn’t about the oscillation footage (heehee!); it was about a survey of 2012 London Marathon participants. And buried deep within the article is something you and I both know: “More than a third reported that their breasts were frequently were sore, although not necessarily because of exercise. Sore breasts most commonly were because of hormonal changes associated with the menstrual cycle, the runners reported.” It took them a survey of 1,300 women to figure this stuff out, people.
And what back-woods local rag would publish such…well…non-news? Why, the New York Times, of course. This article was published in the Well Blog, another fine, hard-hitting Gretchen Reynolds exposé (eye roll).
2. Running will be the demise of your love life.
This piece from the London Telegraph, detailing the hardship a woman goes through when her live-in boyfriend decides to become a marathoner, may be the most poignant, well-written piece of self-centered trash I’ve ever read. The poor thing has to suffer through evenings alone and waking up to an empty pillow and watching him read running magazines and stretch…as if she doesn’t have a life of her own. Seriously, girl, go get a freaking hobby!
3. Running will make your heart/brain/knees explode.
Between credit card transactions for marathon registrations, Active.com reran a Women’s Health Magazine article entitled “Why Too Much Running is Bad for Your Health.” They couldn’t possibly link to any of the referenced studies, but Women’s Health certainly linked to their own beginner’s training plan so you can start your death march to the cardiology center. It’s good to know they care.
Meanwhile, Health and Fitness News is asking “Does Endurance Running Destroy Your Brain Matter?” The answer, plainly seen in this article is no, not really.
Currently, everyone who’s read the Internet seems to agree that running is okay for your joints, but we all know a dozen people who can’t wait to tell us otherwise.
4. Running is turning you into an unfeminine beastly Neanderthal.
Does this piss you off as much as it pissed me off?
“While running and cycling may burn calories, they do not design feminine muscles…”
“While bulkier muscle looks OK on women in their 20’s and 30’s, it doesn’t age well.”
That’s celebrity fitness coach (and, apparently, misogynist), Tracey Anderson, as interviewed for Gwyneth Paltrow’s obnoxious site called “Goop.” Apparently, running a marathon is okay if all you want is to check it off your bucket list, but then you should switch to a different fitness program, because runners are unfeminine. Tracey has decided that this is not feminine:
Well…she and Paltrow can think runners look unfeminine if they want to. But I like to think they’re just jealous of our sexy butts.
What drives me even more crazy is the assumption that the reader is training simply because she wants other people to think she looks good. And sure, we all want others to think we look good to some extent, but if I’m running marathon after marathon for that reason alone, I have deeper issues than my fabulous quads.
5. RUNNING IS KILLING YOU! FOR SUPER SERIOUS!!!
I know it’s true, because a local TV news station said so: Too Much Running is Shortening our Life Span. Never mind that they don’t link to the referenced “study.” By running high mileage, we’re shaving years off the ends of our lives. YEARS, I TELL YOU!
And just so you know, they’ve decided that more than 20 miles per week is high mileage. You and I are doomed, kid. Doomed. We’ll be lucky if we make it six months. Panic and quit training for your spring race so you can spend the last moments of your life with your loved ones! Oh, and this local news station is brought to you by Velveeta and Ro Tel, because local news stations care about your longevity.
And if that’s not enough to make you want to throw things at your computer screen, check out the Huffington Post’s “26 Reasons Not to Run a Marathon.”
Do you ever get links like these sent to you?
This post was originally published on August 1, 2014.