When it comes to exercise fan clubs there are few groups more evangelical than those who call themselves runners. Here are 14 cold hard truths that only ~real~ runners understand. 

The idea of willingly lacing up your trainers and hitting the pavement for a run may sound like an excruciating form of torture for many – but there are also those who once they discover the joy of running, get a little bit…well, addicted. In a good way.

The ‘runner’s high’ has been widely documented, and with that wave of feel-good endorphins often comes a new found dedication to this form of exercise, verging on fanaticism. I know, because I’m now a proud card-carrying member of the I’m-a-runner club – a fact that still surprises me, given how much I hated cross country running (or any kind of sport, actually) in high school.

It’s a badge many people wear with pride – but along with a certain kind of smugness on days when you’ve already logged 10kms, but being a regular runner makes you privy to a slew of truths that your non-runner mates just won’t understand.

Welcome to the club…

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1. A good playlist can get you out the door

Having the right music can not only get you motivated to start your run, but also keep your energy levels up when you’re starting to feel fatigued during your run, too. Laura Hill knows how to build the best playlist, ever.

2. A long run will probably/definitely make you run to the loo

It’s just the fact of the matter. Best bet is to try and go to the toilet before you start… otherwise you’l be searching for a public toilet… which can really interrupt your flow.

3. Run jealousy is a thing

When you can’t head out for a run because you’re too busy, or didn’t prioritise it, and then you drive by other people pounding the pavement you will indeed turn into the green-eyed monster.

4. Foam rollers are the devil

Yes, they are good for you and yes, you’ll feel better for it tomorrow – but when you roll out those tired calves and tight ITB you’re going to curse. Loudly.

5. Running is like having a therapist on speed dial

The positive effect running can have on your mental health has been well-documented (just ask Turia Pitt) – and as any runner knows, you’ll always feel more calmer and more clear-headed after going for a run. Take that, anxiety!

6. Bra chafe is real (and glide sticks are life)

That hot stingy feeling when the shower water hits your poor, chaffed underarms and strap marks is quite unlike anything else. Always remember to lube up before your run to avoid any painful chaffing. Bandaids on nipples can also help.

7. Your toes have never looked so beaten

Blisters, black nails, and even toenails falling off will become a weird badge of honour when you step out sans-trainers.

8. Speed is irrelevant

It sounds strange but it’s true – real runners know that just getting out there is reward in itself. Smashing your PB time, or placing at the front of the pack in a race is just the cherry on top.

9. That little nod of acknowledgement from other runners is everything

Like when you give the two-finger salute to an oncoming car during a long road trip, there’s something quietly special about the look of respect you get from another runner when you’re both hitting your stride.

10. Weekends are for long runs

You know you’re a ‘real runner’ when you happily tuck in early on a Saturday night because Sundays are your ‘long run’ day.

11. Running in the rain makes you a bad ass

This is just a fact. Water, schmorter.

12. If you want to be able to walk the next day, you gotta stretch

It might be boring, but stretching after a run is essential for releasing tightness, reducing soreness and restoring balance to your body. Especially so if you want to avoid injury so you can run into your old age.

13. If you didn’t track it, it didn’t happen

Whether you’re using the Nike Run Club, or Strava or Couch to 5kms app, tracking your run is just as vital as lacing up your trainers – because there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing those kilometres stack up.

14. There’s no better feeling than that post-run feeling

None. And that’s what keeps you coming back for more.

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