A blog by runners. For runners.

A runner’s holiday table survival guide

A Runner's Holiday Survival Guide

If it hasn’t happened already, you’re likely in for some annoying dinner table conversations with friends and relatives this holiday season. The following are actual questions and comments I have fielded throughout the years. Here’s how – if I could go back in time – I would answer them.

“I wish I could run marathons – I’d love to be skinny!” 
Marathons are a lot of hard work. If you wish you could run a marathon, do the research, find a training plan, and go for it. I am under the impression that a lot of non-runners think there’s some magic involved. Like, there’s something that makes the sport infinitely easy for some rather than others. Not the case. And with the skinny comment? I never lost weight in the three marathon training cycles I completed. (Related: Why Do I Gain Weight During Marathon Training?)

“Have you won any races recently?”
This is one I hear often. For once, I can actually say that yes, I indeed won a 10K race this year. However, the field was small, so it was an isolated incident. To answer this question, I usually try to explain how running isn’t a sport about winning or losing. It’s about personal records. And, ultimately, getting out there, being active, and keeping consistent are awards enough for my health.

“Aren’t you worried running will ruin your knees by the time you’re my age?”
If you have been reading our running news updates, you may have come across the new study that shows how running can actually ward off knee arthritis. Apparently previous research conducted was primarily focused on elite male runners, so the link may not have applied to the population at large.

“Certainly you’ve given up this running stuff now that you’re pregnant!”
I got this comment a lot from my parents and older relatives, and I would get so frustrated. I see why I should give them a break, though. Back in the day, women didn’t do much activity during pregnancy. It was viewed as somewhat of a medical condition that needed much rest and tip-toeing. We now know that women can achieve a lot physically while also carrying a child to term. The key is doing what’s right for your body, your baby, and your lifestyle.

“Yeah, my brother also runs marathons. He did a 3-mile one last weekend!”
Even one of my old doctors had no idea that a marathon is 26.2 miles. Non-runners toss around this terminology because they don’t know any better. I usually try a quick “Oh, yes – the 5K distance is definitely a solid race” to try and educate, but it never goes terrible far. Not worth arguing over, if you ask me.

“I just can’t get into running. It’s boring and hurts my lungs.”
Whenever I get this flat statement, I try to dig back and see why that person may have had a bad experience with running in the past. I explain how when I started running, I could barely make it down the street without stopping. I tell them how it took me years to feel comfortable even setting foot on a race course. Sometimes I even get them motivated to try again.

What’s the most irritating running-related question or comment you’ve heard?

 Written by Ashley Marcin.