What Happens on the Run Stays on the Run

Once the run starts, these seemingly normal people do and say the weirdest stuff! Flickr commons photo by trirunwith.us
Once the run starts, these seemingly normal people do and say the weirdest stuff! Flickr commons photo by trirunwith.us

“What happens on tour stays on tour” is a phrase that has struck fear into the hearts of significant others’ everywhere.

It is something that I got to thinking about when I was writing about the running group I recently joined. Given that I am a new member of the group, I figured I should send out a message asking whether it was okay for me to write about the members in a very public blog post. Whilst there was significant support for my endeavour, I did get a panicked query or two about what I was going to talk about, most importantly, whether I was going to reveal all the secrets revealed while we sweated it out on the roads together.

That answer was was easy, at least to me it was. I live by a very important rule: what is discussed on the run stays on the run. So, as it turns out, this post is not about my new running group. Instead, this post is about this golden rule of group running. 

Often, topics that are giggled over on a long run are intensely personal, slightly icky or profoundly embarrassing.  As a runner with a very temperamental gut, I have had to deal with various situations which I would prefer that the running gals did not discuss with their husbands! When you meet your running groups’ families it is nice to know that they are looking at you as a normal person and not “that psycho chick with the  leaky gut, stress incontinence, irrational fear of ducks, or obsession with panda bears”. (For the record, I don’t think I am any of those things, but you never know how others see you!)

Crazy things happen in these and they shall not be mentioned once the run is done!  Flickr Commons image from sciencesque.
Crazy things happen in these and they shall not be mentioned once the run is done! Flickr Commons image from sciencesque.

I find that the topics I am willing to discuss on a long run, or any group run for that matter, are largely uncensored and represent a stream of consciousness that may shock my non-running friends or colleagues.  I expect nothing less from my running partners. Whilst running you are in the unique state of strength and vulnerability – your body is working hard, sometimes at the edge of its ability and peak power and every step has the potential to tip you over the edge into a position of weakness. Your running mates experience this with you. After many sessions together they will know what makes you tick, what scares you, what excites you and the unspoken pact is that this knowledge will never be held against you.

The same goes for the rants about husbands and horrible bosses, screaming children, undisciplined pets, irrational phobias, quirks, and even kinks. The discussions on the run are sacrosanct. Runners are generally a friendly and inclusive lot and the more miles they run together the more they let hang out.  And this is a beautiful thing – to experience others’ humanness so distinctly. To preserve the sanctity of the run, you must not spill the secrets. If you do, not only will you spoil that sacred space, but you’ll most likely find yourself running alone. When you get back to the car the topics discussed should be set aside for another day, another run, another hill. And when the Garmins beep, every runner returns to a normal buttoned up member of society.

Do you live by this golden rule of group runs? 

An ultrarunning gal from sunny South Africa... I'm a mummy of two kiddos under 5, wife, runner (and attorney) from the balmy shores of South Africa. Although I am definitely a mid-packer I have the soul and aspirations of an elite athlete, sadly without the pedigreed legs! But every day I dream and work towards loftier goals... maybe a sub 20 5k to start?

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8 comments

  1. My running partners and I call our runs “group therapy.” It would be like breaking doctor/patient confidentiality-punishable by law!- to talk about any of these subjects outside of running group. 🙂 These ladies probably know more embarrassing things about me than even my husband. What you say on the run, stays on the run for sure!

  2. My running friends were always the first people (after my husband, of course!) to find out I was pregnant! It’s hard to explain away why you’re huffing and puffing to keep up in those early days, so I just let them know. Plus, I knew if I could trust anyone. It was my running buds 😉

    1. My running friends always suspected pregnancy when I started to wear my horrid oversized race t-shirts whilst training… I always thought I had been so sneaky in concealing the bloated bump that accompanies the first few weeks.

  3. Too true : Great article .
    With guys it is the same .Running mates are like childhood friends -trustworthy and of the reliable variety .