The running subculture is non-exclusive club: anyone can join. All you have to do is put on a pair of trainers and run a mile. That’s it! Isn’t that great? Spend thirty five quid on a pair of pumps, put them on and run, and you’ve earned yourself lifetime admission to the ultimate theme-park. And best of all, all of the rides are free. As theme-parks go, the rule book is small: the running fraternity is pretty easy-going, but from the outside it can appear to be an inaccessible scene full of acronyms, super-human rake-like physiques and not a beer or take-away in sight.
As a Leader in Running for Fitness I get asked many questions, frequently in response to this projected image. Our membership is always open, we welcome everyone without condition and you will not find a more supportive sporting community out there. But people are still hesitant. Therefore I am writing a series of blogs to address some common running misconceptions and myths, as well as some training/racing etiquette – the do’s and don’ts if you will. I will draw on my own experiences as an amateur athlete as well as what I have learned from my many friends in the sport. So here we go… Part one addresses the three running myths most frequently cited by the prospective runner.
Myth 1: Runners need to have a certain body type.
This myth manifests itself in many ways: sometimes as justification for not exercising but more frequently as a reflection of self-doubt. In reality anyone of any body-shape can be a runner. Just visit a local 10K (there are loads about) and you will see every conceivable shape and size of person, young people through to centenarians, participating side by side and sharing the buzz of this thing we love. Let this be all the proof you need. There is no typical runner and if they can do it, so can you.
Myth 2: People will laugh at me when they see me running.
Feeling self-conscious about running in public is very common, but try not to think about what other people think. Runners love to see other runners out and about. We were all beginners once and understand the effort you’re going to. Any non-runner who mocks someone who is exercising is usually jealous, their criticism being about them, not you. Meanwhile you’re out there doing something healthy and positive. In all likelihood no-one will pay any attention to you at all, being far too focused on their iPhone’s or what they’re having for supper… And you don’t look that bad, I promise you. Be proud of of what you’re doing and be strong.
Myth 3: No Pain, No Gain!
Wrong. if it’s painful it’s probably bad. Make no mistake, running isn’t easy (else everyone would do it) and can be uncomfortable, but if it’s painful you really shouldn’t be running any further. Pain is important: It’s the feedback system tells you that you’re broken and need to stop. Like most people, I’m allergic to pain and will do anything to avoid it… but but it’s important to distinguish between pain and discomfort, the type that comes to those who work hard. Make running a part of your life and that hard work will pay you back with significant rewards.
Now put those doubts aside, buy some trainers and join a beginners running course. The road is always open and offers endless challenges… come and join us junkies and watch your life change forever. Part 2 – Running Etiquette for Beginner Runners coming soon!