The Non-Runners Guide To Understanding Runners

Because runners have 99 problems and non-runners don't understand one.


Runners are a different breed from the rest of society. From their lucky socks to their mileage obsession, runners have quirks the rest of the world can only shake their heads at. And when it comes to the problems runners face, non-runners definitely don’t get us. I’m not talking about serious problems like a pulled muscle or a stress fracture—everyone can sympathize with that. I’m talking about the issues that, while in reality, are just teeny tiny setbacks, can feel like the absolute worst thing that’s ever happened in the history of the universe to a runner. So here’s a look at some common runner “challenges” and how we cope—feel free to pass it (and maybe a grain of salt) along to the non-runner in your life to help them get it.  Because runners have 99 problems and non-runners don’t understand one.

When you’re starving and need a snack
Non-runner: Opens fridge. Grabs whatever looks good. Continues on with day.
Runner: Spends 15 minutes choosing the perfect snack that meets the following requirements: not too heavy if pre-run, enough protein if post-run, no artificial sweeteners that could irritate the stomach, and definitely no cheese, or tomato sauce, or orange, or whatever food triggered THAT episode on THAT run. You know what I’m talking about. And if you don’t, it’s probably best you don’t ask.

When you’re working out and need a bathroom
Non-runner: Holds it.
Runner: Option 1: Sprints to the nearest bathroom on the map of bathrooms she’s memorized for her route. Option 2: Realizes bathroom is too far away and frantically searches for a large shrub to crouch behind. A shrub, people.

When you’re shopping for new sneakers and your go-to pair is sold out in your size
Non-runner: Gets excited to test out other brands/styles/colors!
Runner: Leaves immediately. Calls all local stores to see if they carry them. Finally finds them online and springs for overnight delivery.

Related: 20 Thoughts Runners Have When Buying New Shoes

When you’re getting dressed for your workout
Non-runner: Whatever’s clean.
Runner:  Must find the sports bra with the good support, the shorts that don’t ride up, the tank that doesn’t chafe and, OMG, where is the underwear that does all of the above?

When you’re doing your hair before a workout
Non-runner: A ponytail should do the job. Possibly a headband.
Runner: May need to use many of the following tools to craft the perfect unmovable hairstyle: elastics, bobby pins, headbands, gel, hairspray, and some major French-braiding skills.

Related: 10 Moments That Make Female Runners Cringe

When you’re choosing the perfect shoes for a night out
Non-runner: Tries on every pair in the closet and can’t decide because they all look amazing. Settles on sky-high peep-toe pumps.
Runner: Tries on every pair in the closet and can’t decide because they all set her blisters on fire. Rejects peep-toes because no one wants to see a peep of a dead toenail. Settles on flats.

When you’re packing for vacation
Non-runner: Bathing suits, flip flops, sundresses, check!
Runner: Bathing suits, flip flops, sundresses, check!  Also—sneakers, shorts, sports bra, back up sports bra, iPod, GPS, and protein bars. And a bigger suitcase.