6 Strange Things Runners Do

  • By Dr. Anand Thakkar
  • 16 Mar, 2016
Runners are an interesting group of athletes. If you know a runner, they’ve probably talked to you about running. They may have shown you their new running shoes, mentioned their various routes, or discussed deep thoughts they had while pounding the pavement. Runners do a number of strange things during their runs that may seem odd to those of us who don’t participate in the sport. Listed below are six of the strangest things runners do.

1. Tape Their Nipples

Running chafes. For every step runners take, the clothes they wear rub against their bodies. The friction created by the constant movement can rub the tissue of the nipples raw. The nipples, a sensitive body part to begin with, become irritated and inflamed, making them feel uncomfortable and painful. This phenomenon affects both male and female runners.

To prevent this painful side effect from happening, runners tape their nipples to protect them. This reduces the friction between the skin and the clothing. Most experienced runners simply cover their nipples with surgical tape or bandages, while other may invest in products like NipGuards.

Other preventative measures runners can take to prevent nipple chafing include wearing loose-fitting clothing or, for men, running without a shirt.

2. Use Strange Footwear

Runners obsess over their shoes. Most spend hundreds of dollars on multiple pairs of running shoes to find one that gives them optimal performance. Most of the footwear runners rely on looks more or less the same. But some runners have chosen to eschew traditional running shoes. This is the result of a new trend in footwear that has changed how many people look at running.

Barefoot runners, or minimalist runners, believe the design of the foot is perfectly suited for the activity. These runners believe that thin-soled shoes prevent a number of running injuries by forcing runners to rely more on the pads of their feet. This trend has resulted in the marketing of running sandals, thin-soled shoes, and toe shoes—shoes that look like toe socks for your feet.

While the debate continues to rage about the benefits and drawbacks of minimalist running, this footwear does make for a unique running experience.

3. Use Lubricant

As previously mentioned, runners chafe. Anywhere clothing causes friction, a runner can feel the fiery pain of chafing. The areas most commonly affected are the groin, armpit, and inner thigh. One method runners use to prevent this unpleasant experience is to slather these areas in lubricant.

Lubricant decreases friction, leading to less chafing. There are many running lubricants on the market today. Some popular lubricants include:

  • Runner’s Lube
  • Sportslick
  • Body Glide
  • Sports Shield
  • Chafe Eez

You can even create your own lubricant by mixing various ointments and creams with petroleum jelly.

4. Dress Strangely

There is no set uniform runners use when they hit the road. Aside from quality footwear and comfortable clothes, a runner can run in just about anything. However, when these athletes participate in large activities, they sometimes wear some unusual outfits. To make running more enjoyable for those supporting participants, many races have begun hosting themed events. In 2014, some of the most unique themes included:

Twinkie Run in Ann Arbor, MI
Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh, NC
New York Hot Dog Challenge in New York, NY
A Christmas Story Run in Cleveland, OH
Caliente Bare Dare in Land O’Lakes, FL

Other themed races included various mustache dashes, Cupid undie runs, superhero scrambles, and zombie chases.

5. Enjoy Odd Drinks

As part of their pre- or post-run fuel, many runners drink a number of unique cocktails. They use these to replenish the nutrients they lost during their run. One of the most common beverages runners and other athletes use as a post-workout recovery drink is chocolate milk. Experts agree that chocolate milk has the perfect amount of protein needed to repair damaged muscles. It is also a good source of vitamin D, magnesium, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Other beverages some runners drink after a workout include beet juice, pickle juice, cherry juice, and beer.

6. Go Anywhere

If nature calls while you're on the run, finding a nearby bathroom is challenging. Even if you just went before you started your run, sometimes the urge hits. Many runners have begun answering the call on the trail. They hide behind trees, use the bushes, or find some other place to conceal themselves while relieving themselves.  

This urge is a result of the stress the run puts on the muscles in their body, specifically their pelvic floor. This is the group of muscles which allow you to control you bladder. The more force you exert during your run, the weaker your pelvic floor may become. There are many exercises that can strengthen a runner’s pelvic floor and increase their bladder control.

While some of the things runners do may seem off-putting, running is a great way to lose weight and get in shape. It’s also a sport every skill level can participate in. If you are looking to lose weight, consider a brisk jog in the park or a few minutes on the treadmill.
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