Oct 01

3 Ways A Non-Runner’s Perspective Can Help Runners

Runners are usually surrounded by people who know nothing about running. We all have friends and family who know that we like to ‘jog’ and that we occasionally do something crazy, like run a marathon, (which they think is anywhere from three to 50 miles long) but who sometimes make the funniest comments or ask the dumbest craziest questions about how we train or race. AmIright?


You may be surprised to know that my husband is one of those people. He hates running, and he is not swayed by my undying passion for it. Not even a little bit. He constantly makes snide comments (which can be hilarious) about runners as a whole, and when we were at Nationals in Tucson last year, with a hotel full of duathletes, he really had a field day.

Maybe there's something in these notes about the appropriate amount of spandex a man should be wearing...hmmmm.

The hubs in the expo at Nationals.                                                                                              Maybe there’s something in these notes about the appropriate amount of spandex a man should be wearing?…hmmmm.

Years ago, this used to bother me. I would try to get him to come to all of my races and give a shit (which he did on occasion), but mostly he’s super impressed by what other people do, and not by his wife’s accomplishments.

Three years ago, when I won a local triathlon for the first time, this exchange took place:

*The finish line of this particular race is less then a quarter mile from my house, but this conversation was had over the phone, because he was home. Ok, so he was with the twins, who were two at the time! Whatever. I’ve seen men on the sidelines of races sherpa-ing their young like kangaroos!

Me: OMG honey, I won the whole race!

Him: You beat the men?

Me: Well, no. But, I beat all the other women!!!

Him: That’s great hun. How did Melissa do? (Melissa is my SIL who was doing her first ever TRI)

Me: Really great, she finished in 1:30 and she thinks she can totally beat that time next year.

Him: WOOOOWWWW! OMG she did SO well! WOW that is awesome – good for her!!!!

My hand to God, that is what happened and he won’t deny it either. In fact, he will laugh because he thinks he’s hysterical. He also says that he “expects” me to win, to which I always reply, “Well, I don’t!!!” Because I certainly don’t. Not in that particular race, and not in a lot of the others. This begs the question, if he believes in me that much, why don’t I?

Me and my SIL Melissa, after that TRI. My hair looks awesome.

Me and my SIL Melissa, after that TRI in 2011.

He’s also left me very encouraging notes over the years prior to important races. While he’s sleeping away and I’m up at some unholy hour getting race ready, I’ve found his words of wisdom on a piece of paper in the kitchen or bathroom. “Just remember, this is what you love, so take some time to look around and enjoy it.” I’ve kept some, and I’ve read them over and over, before other races I’ve had though out the years. His advice is always great, mostly because he’s not a runner and has no clue how much thought and planning goes into one race.

Here’s how I use his lack of knowledge to my advantage, and how you can use your non-running friends/family/partners too:

On Training

Runner’s perspective: I must follow my training schedule very strictly. When I miss a long run or speed workout, I may as well just start dropping my expectations for a PR (personal record or best time).

Non-Runner’s Perspective: Why don’t you just train hard when you feel like it, and take a day off if you need to?

The Lesson: Find a happy medium. Life gets in the way of our best laid plans, and ultimately you should be listening to your body.  It’s always better to err on the side of caution leading up to a race. If you overtrain and are injured, you’ll never make it to the start line.

Mike says "Take a rest day!"

Mike says “Take a rest day!”

On Nutrition

Runner’s Perspective: I need to have the right ratio of carbs to protein, take care to not ingest too much fiber in the hour leading up to a run, and painstakingly go through trials and tribulations on how to fuel during a run, to find the perfect balance between keeping those glycogen stores plentiful and my bowels happy.

Non-Runner’s Perspective: Eat when you’re hungry. Donuts are good.

The Lesson: You don’t have to worry so much about eating unless you have special dietary needs or are trying to lose weight. However, it’s usually a good idea to do some testing on what you’re going to eat during a race or long run, but you really only need to supplement this way if you’re going to be out there 90 minutes or more. And yes, donuts are amazing.

Or a giant piece of chocolate cake...

Or a giant piece of chocolate cake…

On Racing

Runner’s Perspective: We usually have a detailed plan for race day, which may include a pace bracelet and three goals for finishing based on time/pace/weather and what our bestie is doing. If the race doesn’t go as planned we I will be pissed for weeks.

Non-Runner’s Perspective: Just put one foot in front of the other, and have fun.

The Lesson: While it’s great to have goals, your life shouldn’t revolve around them unless you’re getting paid to win. Most of us (myself included) do this because it’s supposed to be fun. Let’s have more of that, shall we?

It should be said, he was VERY enthusiastic about Spain and me competing for Team USA. He was also my water supplier for the running portion!

It should be said, my husband was VERY enthusiastic about Spain and me competing for Team USA. He was also my water supplier for the running portion! Catch!

My husband can be extremely supportive of all my running and racing, but I do love the fact that he gives me great perspective. I always know, no matter what the outcome of a race, when I get home and tell my family how it went, it doesn’t really matter. They love me just the same, and are so happy to see me. The biggest issue? Only having one medal and two kids.

What perspective can you add?

Who in your life keeps you grounded?

Best piece of advice given to you about running from a non-runner?



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  1. jill conyers

    So many non-runners I know think I’m crazy haha! Love your writing 🙂
    jill conyers recently posted…Daily Practice of GratitudeMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Jill!! Most people I know, and ALL of my neighbors think I’m insane.

  2. Marisa

    Loved this! In their eyes, you are a winner no matter what.

    1. vita88

      Aw thanks Marisa! I hope it’s always like that.

  3. Janine Huldie

    Seriously made me giggle and yup so the non-runner here, but still think you are amazing!! 🙂
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Sit Ubu, Sit…Good Dog – I Was Right! Wonderful Wednesday Blog HopMy Profile

    1. vita88

      So glad you can relate and also find the humor in it. Thanks Janine!

  4. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

    I love this! My hubs is a non runner too. He’ll come to races and be like “I could do this. But I don’t want to.” He keeps it real. When I chatter about races, training, eating – his advice is if it hurts, don’t do it. If it sucks, don’t do it.
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted…Embracing the TaperMy Profile

    1. vita88

      OMG my husband totally does the SAME thing. In fact, every year for that same triathlon he says “I’m doing this next year.” And I’m still waiting… 🙂

  5. thedoseofreality

    The pictures killed me! Cracking up, especially at the first one. My hubby is a runner (not a serious one), but he lives to make fun of runners, too! Mike and Robert would get along famously! I love that he leaves you notes. :)-Ashley
    thedoseofreality recently posted…25 Things You Don’t Know About MeMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Oh yes they would! Too funny!!

  6. Danielle@T-Rex Runner

    This post made me laugh because it sounds exactly like stuff my fiance says. He’s very supportive of me in general but thinks the whole thing (and me) is insane. He does offer great perspective, sometimes without realizing it, like yesterday. He has started running just a little bit to improve his health, and he’s running about two miles right now, give or take. The route in and out of our neighborhood varies by about a tenth of a mile if you go right vs left when you come back into the neighborhood, so if he turns right, his total is 1.9 miles and if he goes left, it’s 2.0 (obviously the only acceptable way to go). He ran by himself last night since I was running longer, and when I got home, I asked him which way he turned. He said he went right, and I teased him and said “cheater!” He said “Babe, it’s not cheating if you don’t have a goal.” Well, there you go.
    Danielle@T-Rex Runner recently posted…Remember Rest Days? Me Either.My Profile

    1. vita88

      Gotta love it! And yes, obviously left is the only way to go! 🙂

  7. Jess

    That is hysterical! If its any constellation, he does boost about your running skills and dedication all the time to clients and vendors!

    1. vita88

      Thanks Jess. He does tell me that he often “brags” to his customers about me. However, I’m pretty sure he tells them all the wrong things, i.e. what a duathlon is, how long it takes me to run a half-marathon, you know – all the little details! Hahaha!!

  8. misszippy

    This is great! My only once in a blue moon running husband gave up watching me race years ago, and that’s just fine! I think there’s a lot of wisdom in the non-runner’s perspective. We DO take ourselves too seriously sometimes, so a little loosening up via a non-runner’s advice is a good thing.
    misszippy recently posted…Where running and Microsoft intersectMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Absolutely! Plus, we never fight over who gets to do a long run at what time and I always have a “sitter” for the kids when I race 🙂

  9. Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness

    Hahahaha yeah i’m coming at this from the non-runners perspective- your husbands advice makes good sense 🙂 Lets see, the best advice ive ever given a runner is “hey want to yoga/ pilates/ or bar method with me instead of (or lets be honest, in addition to) running today?” mixing it up is good 🙂
    Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness recently posted…On Magazines: The advice that doesn’t sellMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Oh heck ya! I need that in my life. I’m going to come to Boston one of these days and take you up on that!!

  10. Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life

    That is hilarious. I guess I am lucky to have married a runner, although he was always more serious about nutrition and training than I was. Go in the pool? Only because coach said we had to. Now, it’s way too cold to be thinking about that. LOL A box of Ding Dongs the night before the race? Yes, my roommate and I actually did that the night before Mt. Sac Relays. No, we did not run well. Probably wasn’t a good idea. Now that I have kids though, I am super aware of nutrition! Go figure.
    Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life recently posted…ADHD or Pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea?My Profile

    1. vita88

      Ding Dongs? Oh boy. I’ve had my fair share of eating the wrong meal the night before a race, but ding dongs is not on the list – hahaha!! And yes, I used to only go in the pool when I was injured. Now I love it!! Thanks Michelle!!

      1. Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life

        We ate a lot of crap in college, but that one really took the cake. I have some funny stories from my college running days. I think athletes are much more serious nowadays. And for the record, I have not had a ding dong since that night in college. Do they even make them any more?
        Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life recently posted…ADHD or Pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea?My Profile

        1. vita88

          I definitely had my fair share of crap in high school as well…and I didn’t RUN! I wouldn’t think those would be part of your diet anymore and I have no clue if they still make them. If they do, I’m sure my husband will eat them. 🙂

  11. Kate

    I love this post, Allie. I guess I always thought that your husband would be into it as you. It’s funny to hear his perspective!
    Kate recently posted…Do you believe in psychics?My Profile

    1. vita88

      You’re not alone. Most people assume that he’s as athletic as me, or that he’s really into my training and racing. I always love people’s reactions when I tell them the ugly truth 🙂 Thanks Kate!

  12. Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness

    I love this! My hubby comes to some of the races I do. He likes that he sometimes can get free beer. He is supportive and will usually take my pictures for my blog. I love the lessons that you came away with!
    Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted…Intermittent Fasting – Is It Right For Me?My Profile

    1. vita88

      Gotta love the free beer!! Back in the day, when you only got cotton t-shirts for the race bling, I would always get a Large and give it to my husband. Now he gets mad because I usually get a technical shirt and always in an XS!!

  13. Britt@MyOwnBalance

    I love the idea that running should be fun and not to get too caught up in goals, etc. That can be applied to so many things in life! I think its great to have someone if your life who has a different perspective on things because they help keep you both focused and grounded. It balances you out! I think your husband’s reaction to your win is pretty hilarious!
    Britt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…BodyVive For PregnancyMy Profile

    1. vita88

      So true and, Mike is like this with every aspect of my life. He’s definitely my anchor and the one who keeps me grounded. In fact, when I start to get too anxious about a project or a race, I just think about what he would say or do and it always calms me down. They say you marry your opposite, and it’s so true with us!
      Over the years his reaction hasn’t changed all that much to my wins. But, I have to say that he doesn’t get too excited over his own successes either. Maybe it’s a Taurus thing?? 🙂

  14. Tamara

    Oh, this is hilarious! Although I would have been pissed at Cassidy. He’s probably like that about blogging. I can just see him at a blogger’s conference too. He’d probably be snarky!
    Tamara recently posted…Life Is An Awfully Big Adventure.My Profile

    1. vita88

      Well then we shouldn’t let Cassidy and Mike go to a race or blog conference together!! hahaha!! Thanks Tamara.

  15. Melissa Burton

    Love this post so much! Forgive me for being “me” centric but how did I NOT know that your SIL is a Melissa?!

    Really, the coincidences are getting freaky now!
    Melissa Burton recently posted…New Month, Old InjuryMy Profile

    1. vita88

      OMG! I honestly didn’t even think of that. We are now an official freak show 🙂

  16. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    I love this. So much truth especially true that donuts are good. It’s a proven fact. It’s great to have people in our lives who support us so much in doing the things that we love. PS the water hand-off picture is amazing!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…50 QuestionsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I think my dad was the photographer on the water hand-off so I guess I have to give him credit – hahaha!! And yes, apple cider donuts do a body good.

  17. Sandra Laflamme

    This is a fantastic post. I definitely love the point about how racing truly should be fun. I find when I get in that groove I have some of my best races! Here’s to fun and fast times!
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…I’m running the Kingdom Marathon!My Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Sandra! I know that during a race, thinking about that it’s supposed to be “fun” is sometimes a game changer for me.

  18. Alison

    Thank goodness for level-headed (or bone-headed, interchangeable) husbands!
    Alison recently posted…And Then There Were FourMy Profile

    1. vita88


  19. Jen@milesandblessings

    These are all SO good!!! I LOVE it :). I have a lot of non running friends (for some reason I can only seem to meet runners on the internet and they never live close to me :)), and when I tell them how far I ran or how long a marathon is you would think I just told them I was flying to Mars!
    I definitely try to not take my running too seriously. I want goals and I want to train and work to achieve them, but running is not everything. I want to enjoy it more than anything. I want to be healthy, but I want to have fun too…I don’t really want to be that person that can’t have a good time with friends because I have a million dietary needs.
    And for my racing….I want to do well, get PR’s, run faster….but I also know I want it to be fun, I am paying for it :), and it isn’t always the PR that is important. Great post 🙂
    Jen@milesandblessings recently posted…14 Reasons Why I Love My HusbandMy Profile

    1. vita88

      It sometimes hard to focus on the fun of it, especially when you’re in the hard core training weeks! I hear you about friends who don’t run – they think we’re insane!! 🙂

      1. Jen@milesandblessings

        I suppose in those hard core weeks the workout itself is not fun…but the feeling I get after getting through a hard workout (at least when they go well) is amazing!!!!! 🙂
        Jen@milesandblessings recently posted…14 Reasons Why I Love My HusbandMy Profile

        1. vita88

          AGREED!!!! Can’t wait to get my speed work in today 🙂

  20. Tara Newman

    I just laughed SO hard!! Your husband and I would have an incredible time at a race together. The whole think about how much spandex should a man wear. LOL. I have gotten used to that. I used to not know where to look. It’s all just kind of out there!
    Tara Newman recently posted…5 Secrets for Raising Successful ChildrenMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I was thinking of you when I wrote this! Whenever I see a man in a one-piece, spandex tri outfit, I just think of my husband wearing it and it’s hard not to laugh…or know where to look!!! YIKES! 🙂

  21. Jesica @rUnladylike

    I adore this post. I can totally relate. While my hubby likes to run (5Ks and 10Ks) he hates racing. He likes to workout at his own time and doesn’t like the regimented schedule endurance training brings. He often doesn’t come to big races to spectate either. He is super proud of me and brags to all his friends, but he hates actually being there and getting up early, etc. He is coming with me to the Chicago Marathon this year and says he is going to be the best spectator ever. He has actually rented a bike to get from point to point and bought an adjustable flag on Amazon so I can spot him on the course (which as you know is 5 rows of spectators deep). So we’ll see if he redeems himself. I think the compromising perspectives that you present are right on. And I believe everyone will be a better runner when they relax a bit and not take everything so seriously. If we don’t enjoy life and the people we live it with, running means nothing. Love this post and you! xo
    Jesica @rUnladylike recently posted…Fall FavoritesMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I’m glad you can relate! And that is awesome about the bike and flag – how FUN…for you anyway 🙂 The fact that he was ok with you signing up for, and then running a marathon while you were on your anniversary vacation in Hawaii, says a lot about how much he loves you! Cannot wait to hear all about your marathon in Chicago. That one is on my bucket list you know… GO KILL IT!!! xoxox

  22. Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama

    oh wowza, I appreciate this post more than you know.

    I love the notes from your hubby. SO sweet!

    I keep tellin gmy husband how nervous I am and he’s like “no sweat”, I told him that I would be running in the rain and he said “thats what champions are made of” lol wtf.

    The hardest part about this running journey especially just starting out is the fact that none of my friends get it, nor care much. I depend on folks like you and Carly and all you other bloggy friends who run for motivation and inspiration because there is NO one in my life that runs and its balls. However, I did take one important thing from this post and that is have fun, and I will.
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Bad Day Movie ReviewMy Profile

    1. vita88

      That is definitely hard Nellie, and especially when you’re first starting out. I know that eventually, you will meet and have some of the BEST running friends ever (well, besides me and Carly). Living in Brooklyn and running as much as you do, you will have a whole flock in no time! Until then, LEAN ON US! We love and support you, even though we’re not physically there. I’m here for you day or night – you know that!!

  23. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious

    I absolute can relate to this post. When I tell my friends or co-workers, I just have to run and have to be late or miss something they just do not get it. But sometimes it becomes so regimented and routine that I forget about enjoying the experience and life too. Well written!
    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious recently posted…No Bean Pumpkin Hummus + Paleo, Whole 30 for DummiesMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thank you! I’m glad you can relate and know that you are definitely not alone!! The non-running community can sometimes be a harsh one, but keep doing what you and have fun, and maybe you’ll recruit some of them to your passion?? 🙂

  24. Carly @ Fine Fit Day

    Love this post. My husband sounds similar, for some reason the waist packs/fuel belts on runners drive him insane. It’s so hard to recognize the line between what’s important for your training and preparation and what is actually advice you should be hearing and heeding from non-runners. I struggle with that.
    Carly @ Fine Fit Day recently posted…I’ve Been Lying To You.My Profile

    1. vita88

      That is too funny about the fuel belts. Sometimes my husband sees mine loaded up for a long run (we’re talking 15+ miles) and he’s like “Is all that really necessary?” I’m sure he would need van support if he ran over 5 miles, but whatever!!
      I used to struggle with what non-runners thought about my training and racing, but (like you) if you’re in the ‘industry’ of personal training, teaching, etc. it becomes more of a motivational point. But – I hear what you’re saying and can totally relate! Wait until you start running with your baby belly!!!! Squeeeeeee!!!! So excited for you!

  25. Kim

    Love the non-runner perspective on racing- so true that it really is just about putting one foot in front of the other and having FUN!!!
    Kim recently posted…My Heart Is OverflowingMy Profile

    1. vita88

      It’s supposed to be, right? I try to think about that when I’m having a bad race or run. Thanks Kim!

  26. Jill

    This was a great post – and so true! We runners can certainly learn some lessons from non runners. Not all of my friends or family understand why I’m addicted to this thing called running but they do wholeheartedly support me. Even when I tell then I can’t go out Friday night Bc I have a long run the next morning. Their confused faces say it all!
    Jill recently posted…Things I Did & Didn’t Do This WeekendMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I’m so glad you can relate! I’ve gotten my fair share of confused expressions over the years too. One friend was astounded to see my Runner’s World magazine, laying on my kitchen table, saying “There’s a whole magazine dedicated to running? Don’t you just run?” Gotta love it.

  1. Sunday Funday 10/5/14 + Follow Your Arrow - Skinny Fitalicious

    […] 3 Ways A Non-Runner’s Perspective Can Help Runners via Vita Train 4 Life – Well written, ironic & oh so true about the obsessiveness of runners. […]

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