All runners have heard it before. Usually, it's said out of concern. Still, it's inaccurate and annoying. "You shouldn't run because it's bad for your knees."
It is true that running and injuries are closely linked. Yet, I'd argue that the risk getting hurt is not the best reason to halt your running career.
If you're interested in taking up distance running and racing, you need to know about the real dangers associated with the sport. Running will make you:
1. Deplete your bank account. The saying "all you need is a good pair of running shoes" is true if you just want to run a little. Even if you are only running a couple of miles a couple of times per week, you'll likely also need a good pair of socks, comfortable clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. So, running doesn't have to be expensive. But training and racing is. The cost of a Garmin, Gus, Gatorade, BodyGlide, a foam roller, replacing your running shoes every 300-500 miles, new apparel because you permanently stunk up your old clothes, race entry fees, and traveling to said races takes a toll on your funds rather quickly.
2. Kiss your old habits good-bye. Remember when you used to be able to eat (and drink) whatever you wanted on Friday nights and stay up late having a good time with your friends? Well, that won't be happening anymore if Saturday mornings are your long run days. That's nice that everyone is going out for sushi. Too bad your go-to pre-long run meal is pizza…
3. Think feeling sore is normal. Aren't all runners used to a certain degree of soreness and tightness in the lower half of our bodies at all times? Well one day, you're going to wake up and the soreness will be gone. Just like that! You'll freak out that something is wrong because your body isn't a bit achy. This is totally normal.
4. Constantly want to one up yourself. For most runners, the only competition is the clock. I could not care less about "beating" others in a race. The only person I want to beat is myself and my goals. But continually trying to one up yourself and set PRs can get exhausting and expensive (see #1). The only way to conquer this issue is to run races without having goals. Ha, good luck with that.
5. Do things that may not be socially acceptable. Your running friends will soon know all about your bowel habits and the places you chafe. This is completely acceptable to discuss. However, you may lose your filter and may accidentally start telling your coworkers about your chafing nipples. Oops. Likewise, you and said running friends may get used to your lovely scent after runs. So, you won't think twice about heading to brunch without showering or changing after a 20 miler on a humid July morning. The other restaurant patrons may give you the stink eye though (ha ).
Boob sweat. Not acceptable when interacting with non-runners.
6. Miss it when you can't do it. People will think you are crazy for feeling heartbroken when you can't run. But running is one of the most basic, fun things to do. Watch any child or animal run and I guarantee they'll look happy (unless they're being chased…). So, when injury, illness, pregnancy, or something else sidelines you from your favorite sport, it's normal to feel blue. Don't let anyone convince you otherwise.