Seven Things I Learned The Hard Way As A Runner

I started thinking of all the random things that I learned AFTER running a handful of marathons.  In November 2011, I wrote a list of what your mother never told you about running marathons, I had only run two of them.  Now that I have planned my sixth marathon, I have more to add.  Opting not to follow these suggestions won't kill you. But why make unnecessary trouble for yourself?

1. Wear sunblock for every long run, even on a cloudy day.

My NJ Marathon "tan."
Hey, at least I'm not Snooki-orange.

2. A high ponytail is like a soaking wet whip against your neck after awhile. Before I cut my hair, I took to wearing it low in two side-buns instead of pulling all the hair on my head together in one place.  A tight ponytail also causes a lot of breakage because of the tension on all of those lovely locks. You'll have plenty of time for hair loss in your future. No need to start it now.

3. Embrace your inner (shameless, completely unaware) child. Why? Because you are going to look gross. You need to learn not to care.  When you were four years old, you didn't care what you looked like while you were doing something you really wanted to do, right? You just did your thing and didn't think "what if I look bad." In fact, once you embrace the fact that you look kinda gross, you won't see it as gross. You'll just see it as what happens while you are running.

You need to get over the fact that you will look like
just peed yourself several times over.

4. Boobs/breasts/cans/jugs, no matter the size, have no business bouncing dramatically during a run. (Yes, smaller ones bounce too, and HURT after all that bouncing.) Invest in the right bra. And wear it, even if it isn't the most flattering piece of underwear you own.

My Handful bra is my go-to bra. Highly recommended for the A-B ladies.
It keeps things in place without smooshing you so much that people might question your gender.

5. If your nose runs a lot, put chapstick on your nose. And on the area on your hand that you use to wipe it. Also, get yourself a handana. (I know I know, the snot rocket thing works for many of you... but I don't have snot... I just have an occasional slight drip.)

Handana is awesome, but really- try the chapstick thing too.

6. Don't pull your socks up too high so that they are tight against the tips of your toes. This can cause them to be too tight against the tips of your toenails and cause toenail loss. 

7. One more tip about feet: callouses are there for a reason. Leave them there. Do not fall for the belief that your feet need to be soft and pretty. A runner's feet are anything but soft. (I will spare you much trauma and refrain from posting photos for #6 or #7.)


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Days for Girls virtual Run for Dignity


  1. Thanks for the tips. I didn't know that about the socks. I tend to pull mine up because they are pretty low cut, and I don't want my shoe to rub against my skin. Now I'll be mindful not to pull them up too tight. The callous thing I'm still adjusting to... lol

    Also, do you know of any good sunscreens for runners? Particularly for the face, that won't get all goopy and disgusting when I sweat? My pale self is going to need it in this southern sun!

    1. I use spray sun block. Spray it on my hands then rub it on my face. Seems to work fine for me. My other choice is a sun block designed for the face. (I used to sell Mary Kay so I used that.) I recommend putting it on dry skin and letting soak in and dry before you get active and sweat. I've heard stories about applying sun screen the night before but I don't think I would want to do that with my face.

  2. That burn looks painful! Hope it gets better fast!

  3. Great tips! I often forget to put sunscreen on when it's cloudy!!

  4. Good list, LOL. I've learned most of these the hard way, too. The only ones I'd add are the ubiquitous "Don't try any near gear on a long run" and on a long run, there's no such thing as too much bodyglide.

  5. I like the two bun instead of one ponytail...I really need to try that asap. Also, love the shot of the sweaty running shorts...who is that girl?

  6. I've never heard the chapstick thing! I have the drip (not snot rocket) too. I never know what to do when I'm not wearing my arm warmers, haha.

  7. I thought of a few more things to add to this list after I published it. Add anything you can think of in the comments here and there will always be room for another list!

  8. LOL! SO glad I cut all my hair off, but the Handana is no match for my sweat or runny nose!

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  10. I would like to say that one thing that I have learned about being a runner is that you are going to sweat, like you mentioned. And normally I was so scared because I was diagnosed with hyperhidrosis and people used to make fun of me when I ran. I became extremely self conscious as it bother me a lot. I stopped running and I hated myself for it. A couple years ago, I met someone you told me about an antiperspirant that was made for excessive sweating called Certain Dri. With this product, plus the confidence that I force out of myself, went back to running and it really made a huge impact in my life. Even though I run and sweat, its ok as long as I am happy. I only use the product when I go out though, I wear nothing when I run because I don't want to stop the pores from doing that there are suppose to do. Anyways, the main reason for my post here is to ask, do anyone else suffer from hyperhidrosis and love to run? And clothing or anything to contain the sweat a little. As I said, I don't care what people think, but the sweat gets in my eyes and in my sneakers and I'm mess.....any one have any ideas other than a product?