From noobs to self-proclaimed "experts" we see runners doing all sorts of silly things. Sometimes "silly" doesn't exactly encompass all the things runners do, but it's the most diplomatic word I can think of. I have been guilty of several things in the past and am probably still an offender of certain behaviors now. I used to wear cotton, tried to run with a Disc-man, and was, for quite some time, a heel-striker (gasp!). Besides never retiring one's 1983 gym uniform, some other silly things I don't quite understand include:
Running on the wrong side of the road. I still see it all the time and it boggles my mind, especially when someone is running to music! If you're running with your back to oncoming vehicles, how do you know to move over if it's a wider vehicle or if they don't have the room to give you enough berth as they pass by? Unless you live in England, you need to run on the LEFT-hand side of the road, FACING traffic. The exception to the rule of course is to not run on the inside of a curve where you can't be seen by anyone. But otherwise, just remember if you can't see them, you definitely can't count on them seeing you. Duh.
Bounding. Now I am really not a fan of people who insist on correcting others' running form because they hardly ever have anything helpful to suggest and almost always come across as assholes. But when I see a runner "bounding" it makes me cringe. My joints literally ache with empathy for their joints. So my one and only running tip is that if it seems like you're viewing the world as though you're wearing a pair of moon shoes, you should focus on limiting your up-and-down movement and instead use that power to propel yourself. Or, try the high jump.
Giving running advice to a runner when you don't run. Yeah, this list isn't limited to runners. I also need to include people who used to run, tried running for a day, or know someone who knows someone who runs and therefor think they have anything to say about the sport. Not saying you can't take an interest in the sport. I love football although I can't catch or throw to save my life, so I don't try to give unsolicited advice to someone who plays the game. I was actually waiting on this couple who were, well, fat. The guy used to do triathlons, and the woman didn't say whether she used to be active. But the man said he knew a guy who runs. He said, "You know you can REST an entire set of muscles while using the others? Yeah! And when they fatigue, you can just switch to the muscles you were resting and give the first muscle group a break. My friend who runs marathons does it. I'm surprised you've never heard of doing that, since you said you run a lot." (I should have known not to engage them in conversation). Uhm... where do I begin? I'll let you all just come up with your own smart-ass reply that I should have said.
(In my mind, I wanted to say "So... you don't know how the body works at ALL, do you?")
Talking about running to non-runners. (Guilty) I feel like I've toned it down, but as the previous example clearly shows, I don't know when to keep my dirty little habit to myself. As I'm sure some of you know, people look at you crazy when you're like, "I kinda wanted to run eight miles today so I, uh, did." They think you're broken. You have issues. And let's not even get into the looks you'll get if you admit that you actually enjoyed doing all eight of those miles on the treadmill. You may as well go ahead and put on the straight jacket and waltz right over to the white coats waiting for you out front.
Dieting. Personally, I think if you run (enough) you don't need to - and probably should not - diet. But this is coming from the girl that makes candied bacon and can polish off a whole bag of 2-Bite Brownies in an evening. Clearly, I NEED to run eight miles at a time. In all honesty, I know I should eat better more consistently, but I know I like my fruits and veggies just as much as I enjoy my chocolate and cheese so I figure in the long run, it'll all balance out. What I don't get are the people who are all organic, vegan, raw-food, flossing-with-bean-sprouts healthy while also training for ultramarathons or some other insane endurance event. They just don't look like they feel good at all when they wearily explain to me the special diet they're on and why they are only eating a dry garden salad with a wedge of lemon. Poor thing and your self-deprivation. I'll try not to roll my eyes too loudly as I watch you pretend to enjoy your raw, undressed spinach.
Runners who act like running is a burden. This is a rare one and if you're reading this, it most likely doesn't apply to you at all. Once in a while, though, I'll meet a person who says something like, "Ugh. I'm SO tired. I had to get up at 6:00 AM to run! It sucked SO much." Really? I don't care. Sometimes people are surprised to learn I never get up before the sun for anything except a race (and that's only because I paid money for it). I know when my ideal time to work out is, and I know when it isn't. So you'll hardly hear me bitch about having to run. I say make your run work for you. If you have to run early, embrace the alone time. If you have to run late, enjoy the last surge of energy before your day comes to a close. The ability to run is a gift, damnit!
Come on, I know we're not all BFFs here. What do other runners do that annoys the crap out of you?