Fifty Shades of Salty: Let Christian Grey Be Your Running Coach

Your new marathon training manual?  Image via

Let’s cut right to the dirty chase.  Last week, Pepper stole my soapbox and went all ultra on us.  Well, two can play that game, so this week, Clove here is giving up on her quest for spiritual enlightenment via trails and world travels to get a little sexy.  And what better day to … ummm … “do it” than hump day? I know, I know.  I’ve promised in three separate posts that I haven’t actually read the creepy sexy tome, Fifty Shades of Grey.  And I hadn’t.  But then there was that eight-hour flight to Paris, and I don’t really like flying, and I just needed something stupid to pass the time, and (HONESTLY!) I had this “idea” for a Salty post germinating anyhow, so I had to like, do research and stuff.  Right?

Right.  Anyhow, it’s kind of a silly book.  Yeah, there’s lots of weird filthy sex, but since I wasn’t taking the whole thing all that seriously, I kind of just jumped on for the ride (no pun intended).  And truthfully, being a former honors English major, I found the writing absolutely horrific.  But as I expected, one thing remained certain, besides the kinky … ummm … well, if you’ve read it, you know the rest of the phrase.

Despite the book’s short-comings (heh), the leading man, Christian Grey might very well be the best damn running coach you could have.  And not just because he’s wielding a riding crop.

That said, ladies, let’s proceed with the “Fifty Shades of Salty,” or the seven sinful reasons I’d be willing to turn my own body over to him … at least for a three-month trial period.

Can you handle THIS kind of training?

1.  BUILD A BASE.  Our darling heroine/resident stupid girl sees no need to do this, going from virgin to BDSM in the space of a weekend.  Anyone want to guess what happens?  She gets hurt.  Physically, mentally and emotionally hurt.  How does this qualify Lord Grey to coach us?  Well, he advises against it.  Tells her to run, literally and figuratively.  Makes her promise to take it slow and communicate with him.  Anastasia is the one who jumps the shark, not Christian, and surprise, surprise, she gets hurt.  Build a base.  Take it slow.  Don’t jump the shark.

2.  DON’T BE REPETITIVE.  Because “double crap,” I can’t believe the number of times this Anastasia chic says “Oh my!” or “double crap” or “triple crap” or worst of all, talks about her freaky “inner goddess.”  Repetition creates nothing but dullness – in writing, life and running.  That same five-mile route you’ve been running after work for the past year may “work” for you, but it’s not making you a better runner.  Vary your workouts, your speeds and your surfaces to become the best runner you can be.  But there’s nothing wrong with a vanilla run here and there …

3.  KNOW YOUR BAD HABITS.  Look, naïve little Ana knows there are two things that are bound to get her in trouble:  lip-biting and eye rolling.  And yet she insists on doing them, sometimes even doing them purposely to “test” Lord Grey.  Anyone want to guess what happens?   She gets in trouble.  It’s the same for your running, and you know it.  You know that if you push your mileage above 40, your left hamstring is going to start hurting.  You know that if you run with that fever, it’s going to take a week longer to get better.  You know you always get sick when you run in the heat, but you overslept this morning and have to get the miles in somehow.  Avoid the temptation.  Know your bad habits, and listen when your body asks you to stop.

4.  EAT.  Sure it’s all about his disturbing past as an abused and starving child, but Mr. Grey is really onto something with his obsessive insistence that Ana eat.  And eat.  And eat.  Food plays a large role in this story, both psychologically and as sustenance.  But Grey’s main point is pretty damn simple; they’re engaging in a lot of … ummm … activity … and Ana needs her strength.  So too for running.  It’s not just about calories and weight, but eating the right foods at the right times to fuel your body for its best training and racing.  So eat, alright?  Because you need fuel to get through those workouts – and to recover from them.

5.  SLEEP.  Speaking of recovery, do you know when it happens?  That’s right, the majority of muscle recovery happens when you sleep.  And if you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t get enough recovery, and if you don’t get enough recovery, you don’t run as well – and you become more injury prone.  And emotional, and moody, and more likely to engage in bad habits, or skip meals or eat poorly.  Sleep, rest and recovery are the most overlooked parts of the majority of training programs.  Write adequate rest of seven to eight hours a night into your personal contract with yourself – and watch your running performance soar.

6.  TRY NEW THINGS…  Well, Anastasia may have gone a little overboard with this one, but there’s no doubt her vanilla mind was opened to a whole new world of … “options.”  Step outside of your comfort zone – no contract required – and try some new workouts, new surfaces, cross-training or races.  In a running rut or slump?  There’s no better time to spice it up and try some “kinky runnery” to get your mojo back.

7.   … BUT KNOW YOUR LIMITS.  For Ana and Christian, it’s all freaky S&M “safe words,” with yellow meaning “caution” and red meaning “cut me out of these damn cable ties, NOW.”  But just as you need to know your bad habits, you also need to know your limits – and back off when you get too close to the red line.  For me, ice, lightning and deserted paths are HARD LIMITS.  Know yours, and abide by them.  Lest you want torn pants and a very ugly bruise on your bum, which is precisely what happened to me the last time I got antsy and decided to run on ice instead of the treadmill.  Hmmmm, I’m not sure whether that would make Lord Grey happy or angry …

Enough said. Image via

Also, as a side note, I don’t care that he’s too old, Simon Baker IS Christian Grey and as such should play him in any bizarre movie adaptation they actually attempt to make from this book.  Which I swear I won’t see.  Maybe they could make it about running instead?  I can see it now, Mila Kunis panting on the track, half-naked after taking the “Salty Challenge,” curled up in a ball and cowering while Simon Baker commands “AGAIN!”  Slowly, she rises.  “ANASTASIA, NOW!” he screams, pressing a button on his stopwatch.  And with one last roll of her eyes, she launches into her sixth 800, chest heaving and all liquid motion around the track.

I think I’m onto something here.

What about you, ladies?  Who’s your dream/fantasy/fictional running coach – and why?

Trail and adventure enthusiast. Girl who swears like a sailor but not when she's teaching Sunday School. Survived infertility without a successful pregnancy. Self-employed, primarily working for Clif Bar and Company. Thirteen 100-mile race finishes with seven top 3 placements. An original Saltine.

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  1. This is the coolest most original post I’ve seen in a long time.! great. I haven’t read the book, but I have heard much of it, and being around the publishing world, of course it’s everywhere. In my world, ‘Shades of Grey’ is a monkees song sung by Davey Jones.

    It makes my brain go to all the other literary characters who could be running coaches.

    Or maybe a hunger games deal, were a bunch of runners are coached and then thrown into a world where only the fastest survives? (strike that. Stephen King did that in The Long Walk.)

    Great stuff that made me smile.

  2. Ah! I just wanted to concur about lightening. Bolts of electricity that can split a tree shooting out of the sky is a no go for me. When I was a kid I knew a guy who was killed while outside during a lightening storm, so it makes me crazy when ppl go running in a storm.

  3. I love the idea of my running coach brandishing a riding crop at me. Hilarious!

    As for #7 – I think torn pants and a bruise on your bum could apply to the book as well as running outside your limits…

    Great post, Clove! Super sexy and super fun!

  4. LOVE this post! So, so funny. Not to mention incredibly creative–really wishing I had come up with this!

    And totally agree on the book. Cringeworthy, yet had to read it. Not going on to number two, though!

  5. I was so embarrassed when I sat down to finally read this book but I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Your version would be much more entertaining. Thanks for a great post!

  6. Ok ladies. Level with me: do I need to read this? On one hand it sounds like I need to read it to keep up with pop culture discussions at cocktail parties (that I totally go to ALL THE TIME!) On the other hand, it sounds so ungodly cheesy.

  7. Salty, DON’T DO IT. I read it so I could be all up on the trends, and I regret it deeply. On the other hand, I did sort of think up a drinking game to go with it (though you’d obviously have to tweak the drinking bit): (some salty language thrown in there)

    I read the Twilight series (and enjoyed the escapism, I admit) and had a hard time not thinking about it as I read 50 Shades. For the record, the Twilight movies are HILARIOUS and my girlfriends and I have nearly been kicked out of the movie theater from laughing too hard at the midnight showings.

    I might need a tech tank that says “kinky runnery” on it, though. That’s just too much.

      1. It’s really that obnoxious. I mean, it’s seriously obnoxious. I still CRINGE every time the phrase “Inner Goddess” pops into my head. And honestly, it’s not the sex that makes the book so bizarre. It’s there for shock value and honestly, not half as bad as I what I had been prepared for.

        Let’s see … there is no way in hell that Anastasia is as sheltered and naive as she’s written to be. It just doesn’t add up. Then there’s the author’s unique ideas about “tortured childhood” and what that does to the character of Christian. It all feels incredibly contrived to me.

        That being said – the story around the alleged main event, which is the kink, of course – is actually somewhat fun. There’s a pretty snappy banter between the two lead characters and I found myself actually kind of enjoying the story itself, however poorly written. But, I must admit, I rolled my own eyes about 80 different times reading the thing. Oh my.

        1. A radio station here in NEO read snippets from the book with a seductive voice and it was hilarious. Hilarious enough for me to not want to read it so thanks for doing the dirty deed, Clove!

          1. One of the most hysterical things I’ve ever seen was a video if Gilbert Gottfried reading passages from the book. Definitely NSFW and kids, but tears-rolling-down-face funny.

            And like Clove said, it’s just that obnoxious. I experienced major eye rolling, too. Good thing I’m not Anastasia Steele.

            For what it’s worth, if I find a series I’ll read all the books for closure. I couldn’t force myself to read the other two.