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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 March 13, 2019

                          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                          Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                          You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                          Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                          1. Work on the small tasks.

                          When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                          Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                          2. Take a break from your work desk.

                          Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                          Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                          3. Upgrade yourself

                          Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                          The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                          4. Talk to a friend.

                          Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                          Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                          5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                          If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                          Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                          Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                          6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                          If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                          Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                          Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                          7. Read a book (or blog).

                          The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                          Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                          Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                          8. Have a quick nap.

                          If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                          9. Remember why you are doing this.

                          Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                          What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                          10. Find some competition.

                          Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                          Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                          11. Go exercise.

                          Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                          Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                          As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                          Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                          12. Take a good break.

                          Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                          Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                          Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                          Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                          More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                          Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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