Running isn't all fun and games you know. Some aspects of indoor and outdoor running are a real fucking pain in the ass.
How To Deal With Slow Coach Pedestrians Who Block The Pavement When You're Out Running
I hate slow motherfuckers who stand in your way as you try to jog past them. They'll be standing there with their heads down to their iPhones, muttering inane shit amongst themselves, unaware that anyone else exists.
In order to try to get their attention I'll start my 'I'M FUCKING BEHIND YOU' stomping routine. I'll breathe like an asmathic sex pest, stomp my feet down hard and slow down whilst evaluating my options.
I'll look behind me to see if I can cross the road. If I can't I'll have three options remaining
- Plough through the motherfuckers
- Stop and confront them with something terrifically unwitty like 'where's the hearse, bitches?'
- Jog on the road and tut at them like the passive aggressive asshole that I am
Keep quiet. Leave them alone. Do not say a word. For you cannot run in prison. Even if a 7 foot man is running at you with his pants down.
Farting On A Treadmill In A Crowded Gym
Every time I visit my local gym I'm overwhelmed by flatulence whilst warming up on the treadmill. To stop anything escaping I press my two cheeks together and jog from side to side, all the while trying to ignore the rumbling in my guts.
Then the unthinkable with happen. Something will come out. It's difficult to know how bad this gust will smell. I pray for an odourless reprieve. There's at least a 10 second gap before the airborne gust will register in my nostrils.
The waiting around is the difficult bit. I'll be paranoid that this will be the fart to end all farts, a fart so horrendous that I'll be forced into surrendering my gym membership and paying a £10,000 fine on the spot for crimes against humanity.
Anxiety will strike thinking of all the repercussions. A new fart will have awoken in my colon, only this time it is guaranteed to be louder, longer and smellier.
Then the odour from the original fart hits..
If the smell is unbearable I will hop off the treadmill and try to find another at the opposite side of the room. If no treadmills are vacant, I'll drop my head in shame and avoid all eye contact with my fellow runners for at least 30 seconds.
I'll then take a glimpse around to see if anyone has expired from overexposure to radioactive gas. If this isn't Chernobyl MK II, I'll increase the treadmill speed to 10 miles per hour to try to escape the evil cloud.
If I were a wise man I would've known that there is no way of avoiding the smell. Treadmill farts are like lonely dogs, they'll follow you everywhere and if you try to run away, they'll bolt after you.
My only option is to try to lay the blame on someone else, or just wait for it to die out.
One thing's for certain, the beast will linger around for half an hour before dissipating into the smell of rotten old cornflakes.
Suffering From Bleeding Nipples While Running
I've had bleeding nipples twice whilst running half marathons, in Larne and Cardiff 2011. In each of these races I forgot to rub on Sudocreme onto my nipples before hand and ran in nylon tops.
You can avoid bleeding nipples by wearing cotton tops, compression shirts and by covering your chest in lubricant.
I don't recommend butter though, especially in the warm weather. You'll be cooked alive and hunted down by a gang of marauding bovines.
I find that there's a serious stigma about bleeding nips amongst runners. After finishing a race, guys will come up to me screaming 'NIPS!' whilst pointing at my bosom.
At times like this I cannot this I cannot handle the attention. It'd be easier if I'd shit myself half way around. It's not as if they'll point at my ass and yell 'WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR HOLE?', is it now?
The Dangers Of Running In The Dark
There have been plenty of times where I've tripped on a curb whilst running in the dark. Luckily, I've never actually fallen over but by sheer probability I should have.
If you must run in the dark, be sure to do so in well illuminated areas. If you can't see the ground in front of you whilst jogging, then you're just asking for trouble.
Better still, you could buy an LED head-light cap for those long, dark winter months.
You can read about the time I ran into an old man and tried to touch his head thinking he was a lamp post here. It is not the proudest moment of my existence, that is for sure.
Running In Icy Conditions In The Winter Is Just Asking For Trouble
I avoid running in ice as much as possible. The risk of injury is far too great to even risk it.
Instead I'll just get a taxi to the gym and run on the treadmill for an hour or two as an excellent substitute.
One of my first ever runs was in icy conditions. I was feeling pumped up and ready go and broke into a sprint for the first 0.05 mile.
Then I hit a sheet of black ice and went head over tits and banged my noggan against the ground. Fortunately I did not injure myself but I try not to think of what could have happened.
Seriously, if you're gonna jog in the ice, bring a helmet. Or skis. Or go for a psychiatric evaluation.
Encountering Small Dogs That Attack You When You Run
I still fucking hate small dogs with a passion, but instead of subconsciously provoking an attack like in my earlier years, I try to avoid them as much as possible.
If I see one coming and it strays a little bit from it's owner, I'm happy to cross the road to the other side if the road is free. There is little point in risking an attack if I don't have to.
The fact is that some dogs are just nasty, untrained pieces of shit and their owners are 10x worse. What's the point in risking some jail time over a foul tempered asshole?
This breed of dog is called a shithound.
Just keep on jogging and try to enjoy your run as much as possible.
Most of the time it is the owners fault, rather than the dog's. Although some dog's are just lousy.
Dealing With Insect Attacks Whilst Running
This is mainly a problem for me in the summer. This year has been so bad that I've been close to dousing my balls in insect repellent.
You must understand, I'm terrified of bees and wasps. Whenever I hear anything buzzing at me out running I immediately freak out, bat at my own head like it's ablaze and zig-zag away as quickly as I can whilst whimpering.
This isn't a problem when I'm jogging in the country, but can be quite alarming to say, shoppers in a crowded high street.
When this happens, I have to pretend it's a normal part of my training schedule.
Yes love, the reason why I'm running in this fashion is not because I'm cissy-assed mother fucker who's terrified of something 1/18,000,000,000th his size. It's a Maasai warrior dance traditionally used to vex the fuck out of mountain lions in Kenya. I'm using it now just in case I encounter one here in East Antrim.
On the plus side, insect attacks provide me with the only speed work I do.
How To Deal With People Who Shout Abuse At You In The Street
Ignore them entirely. These trolls feed off attention and are only shouting things for a response. If you react then they'll have won.
I still find this difficult today. Whenever the abuse comes I feel like strangling the motherfucker(s) responsible. What right have they to say that I'm fat / have a huge belly / run like a woman?
In my first few months of running I received torrents of abuse as I was overweight still at this point.
If I'm to respond at all I will wave at them and say 'hey, how's it going?'. This stumps them. They feed off hatred from those they abuse, as their hearts are dark and typically have very little going for themselves in the first place.
Inside I'll be thinking 'bring it on then you jealous f**er!' and I'll flip them off mentally.
Never get discouraged by what anyone else says about you. You're running for your own reasons and whilst you might be overweight, have man boobs or jog like an ostrich with a lava lamp packed up it's back passage, you're the one that's brave enough to go outside and run in the first place.
Abusers try to bring everyone down to their level of hatred and paranoia.
Sore like an eagle and rise above them all because the biggest war you'll be fighting as a runner is an internal one.
Wearing Running Shorts That Are Either Too Large Or Too Small
The reason why I've defaulted to wearing the same ratty old pair of running bottoms is that I know they'll fit me.
Since I was still losing weight at the time it was difficult to find a perfect fit. Running with large shorts would invariably mean holding them up all of the way around the course, all of the time terrified that they'd drop off my arse and I'd be arrested for indecent exposure.
Smaller shorts seemed to be a better idea.
I mean what's the worst that could happen? Granted, I could rip the ass out of them by stretching too far, but I've never been one for squat thrusts.
I made the mistake of running in an ultra tight pair for my first half marathon and by the 5 mile mark it was evident that my inner thighs were intent on making love to one another.
The pain was unbearable. I tried jogging with my legs as far apart as possible but I was worried that the runners behind me would think that I was just picking the perfect spot to stop, park and shit.
I won't paint a picture of the shade that my legs were at the end, instead I've attached a photograph that more than sums it up.
Running Whilst Drunk Or Under The Influence
So you're drunk and think that running 5 miles around your city will be easy-peasy? I've been there and got the t-shirt.
Only it wasn't easy. It was shit. On my first drunken run, I got to the half mile mark and ran straight home as it was 12 midnight on a pissy Belfast evening and the city was full of drunken maniacs intent on trouble.
My second drunken run seemed alright at the time but it caused me in part to miss the Dublin Marathon 2011. I was drunk on Sangria and cheap Cognac in Altura, Portugal and thought it'd be swell to run to the local town Monte Gordo and back. Only it was anything but swell. I went over my ankle on the beach and I didn't notice the pain until I was in a restaurant later that night.
The unfortunate thing about being drunk is that everything seems to be a good idea. Even Kebabs.
Let's face facts, you should only run drunk if you're fleeing potential assailants, clingy women or are yourself persuing fast food vans.
Being Overweight And Feeling Self Conscious About Running Outside
It's perfectly normal to feel like shit when you first run outdoors as a fatso.
I was so scared of being judged that I'd feel sick to the stomach before a run. Who was gonna try to make fun of me this time? Who was gonna try to drive over me? Who was gonna assault me?
All sorts of unsavoury scenarios would flit through my mind and it wasn't helpful.
All I can say is that you'll stop being so self conscious as you run more. You'll learn how to deal with haters. You'll become better and faster at running, which will vastly improve your self esteem.
As a runner you might not be perfect but you won't regress as long as you keep on running. Things will continue to get better as you embrace the sport.
If you're anything like myself then you'll be your own worst critic. Go easy on yourself and know that most pedestrians don't even see you out jogging as they are too busy dealing with their own hang-ups.
Those that do see you will likely admire your bravery for running outdoors in the first place.
Running Outdoors When You're Overly Angry Is Dangerous
It's a bad idea to start running if there is too much on your mind.
There have been times when I've been so angry that I've felt like yelling at innocent by-passers, flipping-off cars and/or kicking trash cans for no reason other than I was pissed off.
If you're in a fit of rage, then your chances of getting injured out there increase substantially. You'll take more chances when crossing roads, run harder than your body can manage and possibly get into fights that you can't possibly win.
In my 18 months of running I've had two negative encounters. The first time a teenager was out walking his dog and it came up to me growling and nibbling my ankles. I was already furious before the dog came into the equation. Before even thinking I muttered.
'What the fuck is that cunt anyway?'
The guy did not say anything and I felt bad immediately afterwards.
The 2nd regrettable encounter involved me punching a lamp post after nearly getting hit by a car. I was trying to pass women wheeling their children in double buggies on the pavement, blocking it off entirely.
I started coughing and then said 'Excuse me'. They would not move or even acknowledge my existence.
I got madder and madder.
I ran out into the road without thinking, someone hooted their horn and I got the fright of my life.
I felt like screaming 'CUUUUNT!!' on the spot.
Instead, I took it out on the lamp post. And the lamp post won. I could have easily broken my hand (or got hit by a car). I still shudder at the thought of it.
Overcoming The Fear Of Pain Associated With Running
If your experiences with running are predominately negative, then you might understandably associate the activity with pain.
My first 2 marathon training runs were disastrous. On the first one I got about 50 strides outside the door and went head-over-tits in black ice and returned straight back home. Fortunately I was not hurt.
The second run was even more damaging. I wanted to do a 4 mile run but only got 2 miles through. I was out of breath constantly for the whole run and all of my thoughts were negative. I gave up and started walking. Running seemed like it just wasn't for me.
Devastated by my lack of fitness, I decided to try the run out again the next door, only going slower this time. I covered the 4 miles easily and got a taste of how good running could feel.
You can only overcome your fear of encountering pain whilst running by making it easy for yourself. Once you overcome your pain, you quickly realize that you can pass any number of challenges that life throws at you, with a positive mental attitude.
Running Or Jogging After Binge Eating Is Sometimes Necessary But Not Ideal
This is quite an unholy practice but sometimes it has to be done.
If I've spent a night eating copious amounts of junk food, then the last thing I'll want to do is to sit around and let it all congeal into fat.
I feel much better after I've ran at least part of it off.
Still, it's not healthy to binge. I only tend to do it when I've been following a really restrictive diet, lose morale and think 'Ah fuck it!'.
That's why I'm a advocate of moderate calorie restriction as opposed to any of these wacky crash Cambridge Diet type affairs you see nowadays.
How To Stop Checking Your Running Watch So Often When Jogging Outdoors
I am my own worst enemy at times. I tend to over think running and that quickly zaps my motivation for the sport altogether.
I am at my best when I'm just jogging and concentrating on how my body feels at the time, not thinking about running x miles at y:yy/mile pace.
I rarely get into the 'flow' at the start of a run. My mindset will be negative and my body will feel heavy. I'll try to distract myself temporarily by checking my watch.
All sorts of conversations and debates about pacing will start firing off in my mind.
Only 4 more miles to go. 40 minutes. Crap, it's only been 10 seconds since I last checked my watch
I try to alleviate my OCD tendencies by shutting off my mind all together and focusing on how my body feels at the time.
I have to be careful though as thoughts like 'I'm gonna crash in 3 miles time' will arrise in response to my body being heavy. Often this does not reflect reality.
When I've calmed my mind, checking my watch doesn't seem as important. Miles tend to slip by. I actually feel alive, my mind no longer held to ransom by time/distance/pace.
Running Outdoors When It's Windy.
If your daily run involves a circuit around your neighbourhood, it can help to start by running into the wind, that way if you're tired at the end of the run you can let the wind push you home.
However, wind by it's nature is volatile. Sometimes you'll start into the wind and by the time you've reached your turning point it changes to the opposite direction!
The Mental Dangers Of Over-Training And Runners Burn Out
In June 2011 I hit rock bottom with my running. I wasn't making any progress. Running seemed to be getting harder and harder and was quickly becoming a chore.
This was directly after starting a training program for the first time, running 500 miles in preparation for the Belfast City Marathon 2011.
I had burnt myself out and mistook my new found resentment for running to be idleness on my part.
It was the single biggest threat to me as a jogger. By feeling so burnt out I was close to quitting altogether.
Nowadays I'm not afraid to take a week off running as long as I've agreed with myself that I'll get back to it on a certain date. Thanks to the rest I'll feel refreshed and raring to go!
Drinking Energy Drinks Before Running
If you must ingest energy drinks before running, be sure to go to the toilet before hand.
It's not nice discovering that you have diarrhoea on the homeward stretch of a run.
Drinks like Red Bull effect my running negatively as they speed up my mental processes instead of anything physical. If I hit a bad spell in the run, then it's effect will be more pronounced as I'll be feeling all of the negativity and amplifying it tenfold.
For this reason it's difficult to enter the flow. To do this, I have to be as relaxed and as loose as possible, something that's very difficult to achieve when you're running on a belly full of energy drinks.
On Being Fortunate Enough To Have Avoided Injury Thus Far
I've been lucky with injuries over the past 16 months. The only niggles I've picked up have been several cases of runner's knee. I put this down to a combination of starting out slow, keeping it slow and finishing even slower. Seriously, I hate trying. I'd rather running came to me naturally through flow. I think the more you resist in running, the more you'll resist running at all.
At least that's how it works for me.
I am seriously accident prone though. I'm constantly getting myself into awkward situations as I'm of a nervous disposition.