Friday, May 30, 2014

3 Surprising Downsides to Distance Running

People get addicted to running because of all its positive mental and physical effects. But like any addiction, there are certain inevitable downsides that addicts are usually happy to forget. I'm going to call these downsides "track" marks, because I love puns and, consequently, hate humor.

As I look back on my year of running, I've noticed a few of these "track" marks sneaking around my day to day life. They're hard to spot because running is so great. Runners love that high so much that they're willing to do accept some crazy things to get another hit. Like...

1. Laundry starts to take over your life.

Full disclosure: I'm a sweater. I sweat when it's cold, I sweat when it's warm, and I especially sweat when I run. It can get a little gross.

Only slightly exaggerated

This means that, when I get home from a run, my clothes are wet and smell like the briny underside of a pirate ship. Not that I really know what that smells like.

And you can't just put those clothes in the hamper. They're a wet and sopping mess, and being crumpled in a hamper just means that they'll stay wet and continue to get smellier as you pile more dirty laundry on top of them.

And you can't really hang them out to dry, because wherever you choose to hang them will automatically become the smelliest room in your house.

Outside is also not really an option.

My solution? I shower with them. Doesn't stop them from being wet, but at least it kills the smell. Somewhat.

2. You develop very specific muscle groups

Running is great for cardiovascular health, but it's not a sport that focuses on building muscle. But if you do it long enough, your legs will inevitably begin to get bulkier. And hey, I'm not complaining about that. I'm complaining about how awkward it is when only one half of your body gets developed muscle.

I feel like my body had a decision to make concerning losing torso fat, and that decision was to add more muscle to the legs to compensate. I wish I could flip that decision, and have my body just lose the flab rather than compensate for it with more muscle.

Now that I think about it, why can't we have more say over these seemingly arbitrary decisions our body makes? I would like a preferences menu for my body. Science, get on that.

3. Days you don't run will ruin you

Here's the kicker about being addicting to running: withdrawal is very real. And like a drug or alcohol addiction, if it dominates your life the withdrawal starts fast and hard.

I didn't know what was wrong on my rest days at first. Everything just felt off. As the day wears on, I wear down until I feel like a deflated mess.

Again, not much exaggeration

Even though it can be hard to do, and even though it will exhaust you, not having running in your life is like suddenly being separated from a long term significant other. You kind of forgot how to function without them. Of course, it was just my body missing the big package of endorphins running lovingly delivers, but the reality of that can be just depressing. What if I get injured? What if I get sick? What if I join a cult that expressly forbids running?

Running is so great that it holds a lot of importance in my life, and anything that has that much importance also has the power to get away with things and potentially hurt you. In that way, maybe it's better to think of it like a long term relationship rather than an addictive drug. Ultimately, it does build you up over time, rather than tear you down. And it's also worth the risk of withdrawal, or weird bodily development, or smelly clothes. Just like a real relationship, right?


1 comment:

  1. I cannot thank you enough for showering with your running clothes.