I never thought I’d end up as a runner. Like, my tolerance for exercise has always been so minimal, even when I was a 2 stone teenager with eating problems, it was fairly rare you’d find me doing crunches or whatever. I was pretty lazy for a pretty long time, but a couple of years ago I started running with this girl, who I wanted to be friends with. The running was just kind of a means to an end to hanging out with her and making some friends in a city where all my uni pals were dropping like flies and fleeing for the comforts of home (or priced out of this bougie hell hole by boomer slumlords … but I digress.)
Five years down the line, I really can’t stop. It keeps my head straight and makes me treat my body with a bit of respect – running is a great barometer of how much of a dick I’ve been to myself recently; any smoking, excessive drinking, stuffing my face on shite food, all of it comes for a reckoning when I’m out on a run. I can feel every cigarette I shouldn’t have smoked, and running the morning after any kind of alcohol feels like SAS selection . I love running, I want it to make me feel awesome, and keeping that in mind makes it slightly easier to defy my ever present urges to live like the lost member of The Rolling Stones. I am quite literally, running for my life.
BUT, there have been surprises. Some of them are awesome surprises, like the fact that when you get used to it, the fire in your lungs simmers down to a gentle smoulder. Or that if some dude-bro wearing leggings under his shorts overtakes you very smugly with giant long man-strides, there’s a 90% chance you’ll see him stopped, doubled over, wheezing as you skim past him , slow and steady, on the way back.
You know what’s not fun?
My goddamn toenail fell off.
And that is the tip of the iceberg friends. That is the least disturbing thing that has happened to my feet, let alone the rest of me. So in the interest of public safety, here are the things you need to ready yourself for if you’re going to start running this isolation season.
- Butt Cream. I’m not even joking, someone who recently saw my butt commented that it was covered in red bumps and I was horrified at what I immediately assumed was bum acne. Turns out it’s a whole thing – seasoned runners call it “Monkey Butt”. What the cute little name doesn’t tell you, is that it’s not just your cheeks. Oh no. Any area that can be chaffed by leggings is liable to be red and angry. It’s not cute. I’m not one of these fools that thinks you need loads of swag to do exercise, but heed this : YOU NEED NAPPY CREAM. Nothing makes me feel sexier than slathering my already very white bum in a thick, white gloss, and then literally sticking my pants back to my ass, but this has changed the game for me. Do not be shy with that nappy cream, you want to be like a well frosted cake before you go out there. I’m not sure how I can put this without oversharing graphically, but basically, what you want to do, is paint on a pair of pants with the bum cream , and then put your actual pants on over the top of your Sudocream pants. Yeah. Seriously. Which brings me to my next booty related point…
- Squats. Redness is not the end of your bum issues. It’s going to disappear if you run a lot. So unless you want your legs to give way seamlessly to your lower back, squat. Squat like a hundred a day minimum or you’ll have a side profile like a door.
3. Love your feet. I have always neglected my feet, and then come summer I’d whack a bit of moisturiser on them and paint my nails, and they’d be good to go for three months of constant flip flop. That is no longer the case – my foot care regime now rivals the painting of the Cistine Chapel. I have tools, I have product, and I have at least three sessions a week devoted to stopping my feet looking like someone’s smashed them with a ball peen. Here’s what I wish someone had told me
- People break toes all the damn time. Runners break toes like, daily. It doesn’t hurt that much but they do start to resemble Twiglets after the third or fourth break.
- Your toenails will come off for no apparent reason. You’ll just be putting a sock on whatever and notice a slightly unnatural movement, and then the damn thing will just pop right off. Do not be alarmed. I say this, it’s almost impossible when a part of your body decides not to be on your body anymore, but just know that it happens to other people too. You are not alone.
- Don’t pop blisters unless they’re so severe they’re going to stop you from running anyway.
- Flexitol heel balm, daily ,and not just on the heel, like every little bit of your poor, pounded pieds.
4. Nobody gives a shit about your Strava. Unless you’ve very creatively run a route shaped like a phallus, don’t bother me with that nonsense, I’m just over here trying to beat the girl I was yesterday.
5. Have a sprint song. Mine is Stomp it Out by Lance Canales – keeping pace to the changing drum beat is savaaaage, but 10/10 would recommend, especially if you’re flagging . Speaking of music , have several playlists, because all runs are not equal. As a minimum I’d say one large one (Running), one chill one (Running by might stop and take the odd picture or say hello to a good dog), Struggling (Songs that beast you into movement) and running is also the time I listen to all my “liked” songs on Spotify
This feels like it’s been a bit alarmist and negative, but honestly the point of this is that hopefully someone will read it and get all of the decent stuff out of running, while not being suddenly shook by the odd errant toenail. If I were to write a blog about the benefits of running, which has in all honesty, saved my soul more times than I can count, it would be so large and brimming with love, I would surely break the internet.
Seriously though, I really don’t give half a flying fuck about your Strava, stop posting that shit on Insta, it’s a buzzkill.