The Worst Part of Running

Posted by Filed Under: Running Injuries

I know, I know. We’re not supposed to hate anything about running, right? Certainly if you put it on a ledger the assets would far outnumber the debits. But if you peered into the deepest recesses of your most secret thoughts you would find something about our chosen sport that you despise.

No? OK, it’s just me then.

I could cobble together one of those Top 10 lists and include things like black toenails, animals, hill repeats, misplaced mile markers, etc., etc., but those things are really just minor inconveniences.

No, the thing that absolutely kills me and deadens my runner’s soul is starting up again after a layoff.


In my case, it has been a nagging case of shin splints that I have finally shaken after weeks of rest, ice, ibuprofen, stretching and various other remedies (I must add that these worked magic).

But injuries aren’t the only cause of layoffs. Maybe it’s pregnancy, the job, a trip to Antarctica, a prison sentence, or teleportation to the Hell Dimension of No Running.

Whatever the reason, it’s no fun to wheeze my way through a three-mile run with splits about two minutes slower than usual. Nothing else in my life compares to this phenomenon. If I stopped writing for six weeks, I wouldn’t forget how to use verbs.

Maybe it’s nature’s way of humbling us. If you’ve ever made sport of beginning runners, take a couple of months off and start up again. You’ll get a real taste of what they’re going through.

About Mike Antonucci

I ran 6-minute miles when I was in the military, then tapered for 20 years. Two-time marathoner (3:43 PR), my next goal is to stay healthy enough to run another. There are literally thousands of people handing out running advice and serious tips. I prefer to focus on the humorous or odd facets of our shared obsession. Let's face it, running is funny.

  1. Amanda on August 24th at 8:03 am

    Agreed, minus injuries and then coming back from injuries.. the rest is just what makes it more fun than other sports.

  2. Bill Raabe on August 24th at 2:56 pm

    Mike, I enjoy your writing about running, it’s usually pretty clever!

    Misplaced mile markers do it for me.

    Bill Raabe

  3. Zen Runner on August 25th at 8:18 am

    I would have to include sucking car exhaust when I’m running on the roads, and oh yeah – gnats…

  4. Steve Sherlock on August 26th at 6:18 am

    I have been sitting on the sidelines myself with an injury and I am not looking forward to the comeback road for the reason that the pace and conditioning will not be there. However, I will be RUNNING again and taking it slow and easy building gradually will make it worthwhile. Eventually the day will come when I can do what I used to (pre-injury). In the meantime, I need to make the comeback slow and careful to avoid a repeat. The absolutely worse thing is NOT being able to run.

  5. Kent Altena on August 26th at 8:52 pm

    For me, it has to be the drivers with the worst ones being winter ones. I don’t mind sharing the road with them. It’s when they don’t seem to want to share the piece of ground I am running on with me. Diving into a snow bank due to oblivious driver turning a corner should not be on any cardio plan.

  6. Elizabeth on August 29th at 7:20 pm

    I have to say that I am a new runner, who at this point in time has to put in a bit of walking still because my stamina is not built yet to do my 3.5-4 miles straight yet.

    I can only imagine how you feel as a full blown runner having to bounce back. Thank you for acknowledging my struggles, but I must commend you that there are people that would quit after weeks off, and you didn’t. Awesome!!!