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23 Things Only Runners Are Lucky Enough To Understand

23 Things Only Runners Are Lucky Enough To Understand

So I’m sitting here right now in a house that isn’t my own (I’m dog sitting), writing this article, alone except for the presence of a renovation crew that’s hammering away in the kitchen (they don’t really speak English so communication has been a blast so far). Most would find this to be a stressful situation.

How does this tie into running? One of the reasons people run is because it’s a great stress reliever. The above anecdote therefore has some extra significance, because there’s nothing I’d rather do right now than get on a pair of running shoes and hit the pavement.

In the two years I’ve been a runner, I’ve come to understand that there’s far more to this underrated sport than meets the eye. What are some attributes of regular runners, you ask?

1. They are usually happier.

    Once you get past the first few weeks of feeling like your legs want to rip themselves off, running becomes less of a chore and more of necessity. Eventually you’ll recover from your runs overnight, and it’s at that point that you’ll want to it everyday in order to deal with any excess stress.

    2. They spark spontaneous friendships with other runners.

      I met one of my best friends while out on a run, basically on a whim. I knew her previously but it was the fact that we both loved running that brought us together in a more permanent fashion. From then on we went on lots of runs together, and we’ve been workout buddies ever since. You too can befriend one of us crazy runners; all you have to do is find a pair of decent shoes…

      3. They are more determined.

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        Ever since I started running, I started to get a better sense of my physical limits. And I found, for the most part, that I don’t really have any when I put my mind to it. I’m not saying I can run a marathon every day, but I know that I can do a lot more than I assume I can do. This gives you greater confidence not only when running, but when reading a book, studying for a test, etc. Back in college I would often have little four hour writing sessions where I’d knock out entire ten page essays, usually in one go. I would not have been able to do that had running not pushed me beyond my self-imposed limits and taught me that I had a lot more to give than I thought.

        4. They can eat whatever they want (in moderation).

          For the record, I’m not suggesting you go out and eat ten thousand calories after every run. Despite the fact that running is one of the best calorie burning exercises around, it still only gets rid of about 800 calories an hour (depending on multiple factors of course). You aren’t Michael Phelps, in other words. What you can do, however, is cut yourself some slack when it comes to your meals (compared to the average person), since you’ll need those calories to fuel your hobby anyways.

          5. They get to change out their wardrobe a lot.

          Before I started running I was about twenty pounds heavier than I am now. I mean, I was pretty light for my height then, but the running streamlined me. This meant that I had to buy new jeans and shirts every few months, since I kept shrinking. For those who like buying clothes, this could be a good motivator for you. Also, you’ll always be in the market for running clothes, especially those of the neon variety.

          6. They are always seeking cool new shoes.

            Now, you don’t want to change your running shoes too often, but I won’t deny that choosing your next pair is often an exciting activity in itself. Usually, a decent amount of research and testing goes into it since you’ll likely be using them for around six months, at the least (mine have lasted about a year on average). It also matters how they look too, so that will be a factor in your decision. I don’t know if this is just me, but I’ve always enjoyed looking for my next pair of running shoes and measuring the pros and cons of a variety of them.

            7. They are always weighing whether or not it’s worth it to bring water on a run.

            In the beginning, I always brought a water bottle with me on my runs. Now I only do it when it’s either extremely hot, or I’m planning on doing something crazy like go for a personal record. You’ll probably end up doing something similar, because what you’ll often find is that lugging around a water bottle hurts more than it helps; plus, there are usually public water fountains everywhere.

            8. They run faster and longer when being watched.

            Don’t lie, fellow runners, you like it when people are watching you run. You get to show off your svelte exterior and pretend that they are a bemused audience witnessing your grand feat of endurance. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I always get something of a second wind when I see a fellow runner on a route. I get especially giddy when they nod their head towards me, which is something like an acknowledgement that “hey, you’re also in the cool kid’s running club!”

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            9. They secretly laugh at non-runners who think two miles is a lot.

              Back in my earlier days as a runner, but long after I had gotten my legs under me, I would get asked how I had lost so much weight. My answer would be that I ran around two miles every other day. They would usually gasp, imagining it to be some painful odyssey I was undertaking. I would humor their response, usually, but afterwards I’d chuckle to myself. Any runner out there knows that two miles every other day is pretty weak, and once you start running you’ll probably laugh at it too. That being said, that “easy” workout will still allow you to become far more in shape than you are now.

              10. They all prefer running in the morning, but it usually doesn’t happen.

              I have this fantasy in my head where I wake up every morning at 5:30AM in order to capture the morning cold and start my day off with a brisk run. Usually, this doesn’t happen, and I applaud those runners who have the mental fortitude to do this every day. I know I said that running makes you more determined, but getting out of bed is one of the things that isn’t affected by that sadly.

              11. They love taking cold showers.

              I never took a cold shower until I was a runner. I happen to live in an incredibly hot valley, and so when I run here I’m usually extremely overheated (hence why I fantasize about running at 5:30AM). By the end, I’m literally craving a cold shower. In fact, the icier the better. Usually I’ll just stand there, arctic water chilling my skull, for several minutes. The good news is that, if you ever lose your hot water in the future, you’ll be used to the alternative!

              12. They use running to enhance their brain’s capabilities.

                Studies have shown that running improves your memory. It goes beyond that, though. In college I used to go on runs whenever I was jumbling multiple papers, projects, and other responsibilities, both to deal with the stress and figure out a way to handle it all. While running, you usually enter this phase where you’ll be able to think more clearly (what is usually known as “runner’s high”), and it’s here that you’ll be able to calmly and rationally put your crazy life in order. I’ve also found that going on a run after a big study session helps you retain what you’ve learned, much like sleeping does.

                13. They rely on runs as a way to boost their energy.

                Once you pass a certain threshold, running begins to boost your energy rather than drain it. If you don’t believe me, read this. Runners run to give themselves the lift they need to get through their day; they don’t do it to tire themselves out!

                14. They sleep better at night.

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                  Running won’t induce narcolepsy during the day, but it will help you sleep better at night. All of that nervous energy that keeps you up will have been spent.

                  15. They have better stamina than you.

                  I once went on a hike with my crazy active Uncle (“once” meaning a month and a half ago). It was a difficult hike, mostly uphill, slippery, and possibly laced with Deer ticks. Anyways, my Uncle (who hadn’t seen me since before I started running), was astonished that I pretty handily beat him up the endless trail. Moral of the story: don’t underestimate a runner’s stamina! We’ll beat most normal folks with ease…

                  16. They don’t suffer from as much acne.

                  I used to have terrible acne, but nowadays it’s pretty much kept in check both by a plethora of powerful creams and…running! Just be aware that while running unclogs your pores, you’ll need to wash your face afterwards or all that dirt will just seep back in.

                  17. They will outlive you.

                    Unsurprisingly, runners suffer from both fewer diseases and potentially death-causing incidents like heart attacks as they get older. You probably already knew this though, it’s basically common sense.

                    18. They don’t have to avoid carbs; in fact, it’s quite the opposite.

                      Silly diets won’t help you lose weight, only a decent workout plan and a balanced intake of calories will. As a runner, carb intake is far from discouraged, in fact, it’s encouraged. If you see a skinny person wolfing down a giant bowl of pasta at night, chances are they’re going for a run in the morning. Take that Atkins!

                      19. They don’t need a gym to get their workout.

                      In college, I always laughed when friends would say stuff like “oh the gym’s closed, guess I won’t be working out today.” Silly person! The world is your gym! Well, at least if you’re a runner, or are emulating the montage from Rocky IV. You don’t need a treadmill to burn that fat away.

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                      20. They take far too much time creating running playlists.

                      This is always a struggle. Do I add “Eye of the Tiger” to the middle of the playlist, so that it will play when I’m really starting to feel strained, or at the end to provide one final boost? This is more of a difficult choice than you’d think.

                      21. They have an excuses to wear spandex.

                        Unlike all of those girls who wear yoga pants to look good, we wear spandex out of necessity. You know, because, uh, aerodynamics! Right…?

                        22. They are aware of every running route in their hometown.

                        If you’re a runner you probably use an app on your smartphone to both check your progress and seek out new routes to run. Or if it’s not an app, you look online. Or on a map. Whatever works. Either way, if you know a runner, chances are they know all of the cool little secret paths you can run on in your town.

                        23. They want you to join in.

                          Runners love nothing more than to see other people out there working up a sweat with them. It’s encouraging, and makes what is usually a solitary experience less lonely. Plus, you can encourage each other! So, do me and yourself a favor…get out there!

                          Featured photo credit: Out Running/ Mark Stevens via flickr.com

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                          Last Updated on September 28, 2020

                          The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                          The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                          At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

                          Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

                          One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

                          When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

                          So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

                          Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

                          This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

                          Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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                          When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

                          Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

                          One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

                          Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

                          An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

                          When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

                          Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

                          Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

                          We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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                          By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

                          Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

                          While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

                          I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

                          You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

                          Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

                          When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

                          Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

                          Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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                          Con #2: Less Human Interaction

                          One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

                          Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

                          Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

                          This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

                          While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

                          Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

                          Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

                          This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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                          For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

                          Con #4: Unique Distractions

                          Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

                          For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

                          To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

                          Final Thoughts

                          Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

                          We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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                          Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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