Friday, May 10, 2013

Things I didn't know existed until I started running

Runners are weird. There's no other way to put it. We get up at 5 AM to run. We discuss paces and heart rates and training plans and BQs when we get together.

There are a lot of things that I treat as normal now that I run consistently, but many of them I had no clue even existed before I started running, or are things I'd never consider doing in public. I was thinking about them the other day and thought they'd make a fun post.

Snot Rocketing and Spitting

This one had to be first, right? It's so gross and impolite and I do it all. the. time. when it's cold or I'm suffering from allergies. And I'm not alone. This is something runners do.

Okay, that is excessive spitting.

Obviously there are ways to be polite about it (snot rocket or spit to the side of the street, avoid other people), but can you imagine if people did this in the gym or normal exercise classes? It's kind of hilarious how we just spit on the street casually when running but would be horrified if we saw someone doing that while just walking down the street.


Oh my gosh what the heck, right? As if running wasn't tough enough for long distances or in hot weather, we have to worry about chafing, AKA skin rubbing against something that eventually causes it to wear away the skin. Hence the need for things like body glide that prevent you from rubbing the skin off your body.

[no picture for the good of humanity]

The fact that chafing is a thing makes me sad, not going to lie.

IT band

The IT band is something you don't hear a lot about outside of running. I had no idea this existed until I foam rolled it and realized, oh hey, there's a band of muscle running down the outside of my leg and leaning on a foam cylinder is basically a surefire way of guaranteeing myself pain.

The oh-so-glorious IT band

From the all-knowing authority that is Wikipedia:
The iliotibial band is a thick band of fascia on the outside of the knee, extending from the outside of the pelvis, over the hip and knee, and inserting just below the knee. The band is crucial to stabilizing the knee during running, as it moves from behind the femur to the front of the femur during activity. The continual rubbing of the band over the lateral femoral epicondyle, combined with the repeated flexion and extension of the knee during running may cause the area to become inflamed.

Foam Rollers

Speaking of which, I didn't know that there was such a thing as a foam roller. Probably because I don't read about medieval torture.

I have such a love-hate relationship with this thing.

Foam rollers are both incredible and horrible at the same time, in the way a good deep massage is. It hurts so much, but you know that digging into those knots is good for you and will relieve all that nasty tightness later on. Foam rollers are, of course, meant for digging out all that tightness runners create.

That's my list -- what's yours? What did you not learn about before you started running or cycling or whatever you do?


  1. Totally guilty of snot rockets here. Though I am polite about it. I at least look back to see if anyone is running up next to me before unleashing the fury. I've been in a race when somebody does it in front of me, damn near next to me, without even looking -- totally gross!

    As for the chaffing... I use to have that problem with my feet. But that problem just about went away when I started wearing Injinji socks. These days, I can't run without them. Heck, I wear them regularly now.

    Here's one thing I didn't know... Especially when it comes to long distances... I didn't know people's toe nails come off. That's so gross. Not talking smack or anything, just hoping that never becomes a problem for me. Because I don't think I could stomach it.

  2. I didn't understand a lot of the lingo. "Running naked," for months, let's just say I thought my friends were a lot ballsier than I thought they were. Then I learned it means running sans Garmin. Ahhh.

    I can't snot-rocket or spit when I'm running even though sometimes I need to. :( I try and it just ends up going in the reverse direction back toward me. Really lovely visual, I know.

  3. AHH I forgot about the toenail thing! I've heard that, too, and I've gotten a dark toenail before (but not black and it still is on my foot thank goodness).

  4. Love this post, Jen! A big yes to the chafing (BodyGlide saves lives!) and foam rolling. Compression gear would also be on my list. If I had a nickel for every time I wore calf compression sleeves outside of training ... :)

  5. I made the switch from body glide to Vaseline for the NJ Marathon - and never going back! SO much better. And yes I have to laugh that I coated myself in Vaseline...
    Every time I am in the middle of a long run, and am dripping sweat, eyes are tearing, nose is running...I start to laugh and think wow, running is so sexy!

  6. THE STICK! My boyfriend talked me out of buying it so many times because he said it was just an expensive rolling pin... but holy crap, that thing is my BFF now! Perfect to travel with for destination races since it takes up barely any room (vs foam roller) and my main running issue is tight calves so that thing is basically sent from the heavens :)

  7. LOVE this post!!! Yes, I spoke an entirely different language before I became a runner...

  8. All the different running styles and types of shoes there were. Minimalist, flats, spikes, cushioned, etc. I spend more time running shoe shopping than I do looking for that perfect pair of shoes for a special occasion