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.
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?
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:
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.
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.
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?
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?