Runner's World

Runner Problems

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Sometimes it feels like when you’re a runner you are part of a tribe. When you are injured, it can be just as emotionally painful as the injury is physically to not be a part of that tribe anymore. When I was REALLY into running, pre-injury, back when I was doing things like Hood To Coast, I felt part of a bigger community. My friends were runners. We talked about races and went for runs together. We complained about common runner problems and laughed because we could ALL relate. I missed that camaraderie when I took a break from it.

Now that I’m back at running, I am feeling like I’m slowly coming back into the fold of the tribe. Things I’d forgotten about returned and made me smile and laugh because I was like, “Oh yeah! I remember this!” So this post is about some of those “oh yeah!” moments that I know you runners out there can relate to!

You’re always hungry. Like always. The more I run, or bike honestly, I get this insatiable hunger that just doesn’t get satisfied. Eating smaller meals every two hours or so works well! GIMME CARBS!

Not being able to run for any reason. See above. When you can’t run, it’s all you think about, all you want to do. I remember there were many runs where I was lethargic and hated every minute of it and wanted to quit. But once that goes away, you really want it back–even the crappy runs! I’ll take anything!

My favorite running shoes are never on sale. Ever. I keep looking. I scour the internet, running stores and Amazon for deals. Once in awhile I find older versions of my favorite shoes for less money but not very often! Another runner problem? Wearing out shoes so quickly! Check out this post: Is it Time for New Shoes?

Needing to wear compression socks but it’s sunny and they look weird with shorts and skirts…Yeah, compression tights and socks are just not cute. 😉

Obsessing about the weather at all times–too hot? Too cold? Will it rain? Sometimes it’s kind of fun to be caught out in a summer rainstorm but most of the time I’d rather not run in the rain. Especially in the winter. Here in the NW you have to obsessively check the weather (sometimes hourly) to see if it will rain.

You’re not embarrassed to wear spandex–in fact, it’s more comfortable! I don’t know about you but I prefer running shorts that are more form-fitting/spandex style because it prevents chafing! Long ago I got over feeling embarrassed about wearing it. Especially when I need to wear my compression tights. 😉

You get jealous when you drive by runners, wishing you were running!

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Finally, the runner’s high. It’s real, it’s awesome, and when your high wears off it’s kind of a bummer!

What are some of your “runner problems”?

What’s Your Reason?

There are a ton of reasons to lose weight: health concerns, preventing disease, the desire to achieve fitness goals, vanity. It doesn’t really matter what the reason is, as long as it’s something that can motivate you to strive for success. It’s funny how those reasons can evolve and change, it’s strange how my mentality changed once I became a runner.

When I was 250 pounds I set achievable weight loss goals for myself…

  • I wanted to lose 50 pounds by my brother’s wedding. 8 months later I was 199 a week before I walked down the isle.
  • Then I wanted to lose another 25 pounds. I did it.
  • I hung around several plateaus and FINALLY achieved my goal weight: 150 pounds.
Andy's Wedding

I’ve written about it before…how that Elusive Goal Weight tends to change. It can change many time too! I’m not talking about changing goal weights now…what I’m talking about is a shift in priorities.

My reasons behind losing 100+ pounds were:

  1. Health and disease prevention. (I was developing diabetes.)
  2. Vanity and improving my self-esteem. (I was tired of being The Fat Girl.)

I achieved my weight loss goals and successfully prevented diabetes and a whole mess of other issues I was having. When I was training for Reach the Beach and Hood To Coast, I realized that my reason behind losing weight wasn’t vanity anymore. For once, I had a “higher cause” for losing weight: improving my running and cycling abilities. Instead of focusing on the numbers on the scale, I was focusing on other numbers: fitness numbers.

You may think that 5 or 10 pounds does not make much of a difference in terms of fitness abilities but you’d be wrong. Losing even 5 pounds for a runner can increase speed AND decrease injuries by a huge amount.

If you have any doubts, check out this article about Tour de France. “Any excess weight such as body fat will only slow them down.” Lance Armstrong counts his calories, weighs and measures his food and follows a strict diet when he’s training for those mountain climbs in Tour de France. Even 5 pounds extra will add time. Not good when you’re competing against cyclists who are smaller, thinner and younger!

Runner’s World shared a pretty nifty guide on how to increase your time.

WEIGHT LOST
5K
10K
HALF-MARATHON
MARATHON
2 lbs
12.4 secs
25 secs
52 secs
1:45
5 lbs
31 secs
1:02
2:11
4:22
10 lbs
1:02
2:04
4:22
8:44
20 lbs
2:04
4:08
8:44
17:28

Losing 5 pounds will shave almost 5 minutes off your marathon time! When I was running 3-4 times a week in preparation for Hood to Coast I had a hunger that was insatiable. I ate so much food…but I also burned tons of calories. My body also wasn’t losing weight during my training. Losing weight while training for a running event is near impossible. I’m sure many of you can attest to that.

What I found interesting in the article was this quote:

“…while excess muscle on a cyclist’s upper body is dead weight, it’s vital in other sports. So, if you like to run, swim or play team sports as well as cycle, don’t lose weight by just losing muscle mass, or you’ll notice a decline in your performance. Similarly, if you lose too much body fat, your health will be affected.”

Basically with cycling, you want your muscles in the lower body–which is a no-brainer since the leg muscles are what drive your body forward. It never even occurred to me that my big swimmer’s shoulders could be a downside for cycling…Regardless, swimming is here to stay for me because I love it.

But when it comes to cycling, I’ve noticed that my performance has improved with a few simple things. The first thing that has helped has been weight lifting. Losing body fat is always a good thing. The squats and lunges I’ve been doing to strengthen my lower body has made my recovery time fast.

Another thing that has improved my performance is the core work I’ve been doing.  Having a strong core is essential to cycling because when you’re hunched over a road bike for long hours that can lead to back pain. Having a strong core prevents back pain from happening.

The reason can change, motivations can evolve as training and years go by. Being flexible to those changes is what keeps things interesting.

QUESTION: What’s your reason? Has it changed since you first started losing weight?