Runners v. Non-Runners

I haven’t been the most motivated marathoner so far this training cycle. The snooze button has been awfully enticing and sometimes the chilly temperatures make me want to hibernate on the couch. I usually get my mileage and workouts in, but it’s not always when or how I plan. However I think the important thing is that I’m getting it done somehow, some way. There’s a saying that goes:

“If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If it’s not important, you’ll find an excuse.”

Do I spring out of bed in the morning itching to get on the road? Um no. Am I looking forward to 18, 20, and 22 mile runs? Actually, I’m a little terrified. But this whole marathon training thing isn’t supposed to be a piece of cake and I continually need to remind myself of that. These next 2 months will be hard work for sure, but hopefully there will be a pay off on April 16th. And the sense of accomplishment and gratitude that comes from a good race usually makes all those early mornings and tough workouts worth it.

Lately I’ve been noticing some differences between my routine and how non-runners (or non-athletes) live there lives. Here’s what has stood out:

Priorities a.k.a. hygiene habits: Runners are a sweaty bunch, but I’ve found that we actually spend less time showering and primping than our non-running counterparts. Obviously I don’t want to smell like a homeless person, but if it’s a choice between running during my lunch break sans shower or not running at all, I will choose the miles and just use a little extra deodorant. Same thing with the morning run-commute. I get “looks” from well coiffed co-workers as I roll up to the office in workout clothes and wet hair (from the shower, not sweat!), but I don’t really care. To me, getting enough sleep and a solid run before work is more important than perfect hair and make-up.

Food consumption: I eat at least two meals a day at the office (usually breakfast and lunch) plus snacks, so it’s hard not to notice how much more I’m eating in comparison to the other people around me. Sometimes I’ll grab lunch from the cafeteria and my tray is loaded up with at least twice (maybe three times) as much food. Standing in line for the cashier, I’ll notice what others have on their trays and think: “how is that possibly a lunch for an adult? It looks like an appetizer!” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about my appetite. Being able to enjoy food with gusto is one of the best things about being an athlete. I don’t run to burn calories, that has never been the goal, but sometimes I forget that running ~60 miles a week means I’m burning roughly 6,000 more calories than a sedentary person.

I really like pizza.

Entertainment: Are you a runner? Well then, your idea of “fun” might involve waking up at 6am on a Saturday to race a 10k or pay $200 to run 26.2 miles. You might say no to a late night out in lieu of waking up to do a long run the next morning. Time for some quality time with your BFF? You’re probably more likely to meet friends for a post-work run than a post-work happy hour. Sometimes I feel a little crazy when I realize I do these activities “for fun” and actually pay money to put myself through pain (um, hello racing!), but after the long run or race is over? There’s no better feeling.

Fashion choices: If I could spend all day in running tights, split shorts, or sweat pants, I’d be the happiest girl. I remember a few years ago, I was home for the holidays and still wearing my tights and windbreaker post-run. My sister and I were getting ready to go do some errands and she said: “Aren’t you going to change? I can wait.” Hah, I hadn’t even considered that spandex and fleece might not be most people’s choice for a trip to the mall. For the record, I did not change. I will gladly spend $100 on running shoes several times a year, but with the exception of my Frye boots, paying that much for non-running shoes is unthinkable. I’m definitely lower maintenance than a lot of ladies and sometimes I notice it more than others (especially in image-conscious NYC), but it all comes back to what my priorities are. I know what’s important to me and I know what I have to give up to get it.

Running shoes >>> Regular shoes (except my boots)

I think when I’m in a serious training cycle, I naturally gravitate towards people with similar schedules and goals. That’s not to say that my non-running friends and family aren’t supportive, but sometimes other runners just “get it” a little more, you know?

Have you noticed any other differences between yourself and non-runners/exercisers? I can only imagine how difficult it must be to have a non-running spouse (and maybe even kids!).