Runhole's Guide to Making ANY Conversation about Running
by Senior Midwest Runhole Correspondent
Admittedly, not everyone wants to be a runner. But, everyone wants to talk about your running. There is a fundamental human need to talk about your running, and it is your responsibility to make those conversations happen. Often. They may THINK they don’t want to know about your run-in with the rabid mongoose, hallucinations on the trails, or that amazing last kick that broke your 5K Personal Record, but they are wrong. They want to know everything. Give them what they want. They just don’t know how to ask.
There are three levels of proficiency in this area:
The first is your ability to hold and sustain a running conversation that another person initiated. Do not fail in this area. That would be like failing to wear nipple tape before a long run – needlessly painful and embarrassing.
The second level is you ability to turn any conversation into a running conversation with people you know. This should be your wheelhouse. Put effort into it. Continually improve it. This article will provide you with useful conversation segues to make it happen.
The third level is for the elite. It is easy enough to attempt, but difficult to master. This is the discipline of engaging complete strangers in a conversation about your running.
Let us assume you are competent in level one. You are, after all, a Runhole. What follows are conversation segues for level two and three conversations. Let these stimulate your muse.
Level 2: People You Know
Your Sister: “I just watched this video about climate change and I…”
You: “Good thing I can run in any weather conditions. Last winter I ran in -50 degrees with wind chill, and this summer I ran in in over 100 degrees with 90% humidity. Rain. Wind. Snow. Ice. None of it will affect my running. It makes me excited just thinking about it. Oh, and that why I have these specific types of running shoes…”
Your Friend: “My grandpa just passed away and I’m heading out of town to his funeral…”
You: “I used to think about dying early, but that was before I took my health into my hands and became a runner. I guess I could die early if I fall off a cliff when I’m running the Speedgoat 50K. It’s a sky running race. Do you know what sky running is?”
Your Boss: “Ok, so this is your yearly performance review. Any questions before we begin?”
You: “I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t my best year. That DNF at Eastern States still stings. On the bright side, as you probably know, I qualified for Boston next year. That’s no small feat. I also volunteered for 30hrs of trail work last month. Sure it meant that I didn’t get the Peterson Project done on time, but as you may know, the trails don’t groom themselves. Gotta give back. Am I right? High five! Don’t leave me hanging!”
Level 3: Strangers
Waiter: “Would you like to see our dessert menu?”
You: “Oh yeah, I’m running a 50k training run tomorrow, I will need to eat desert. Did you know that 50k is 31 miles? But the real beast will be the elevation gain…”
Stylist: “How would you like your hair cut today?”
You: “Well, funny you should mention that. I have a race tomorrow so it’s an important decision,”
Stylist: “What kind of race?”
You: “Great question. I’m running a half marathon. It’s not my normal distance, but I have a free hour and 23 minutes on my hands so I figured I’d get my hair cut today and maybe it will shave a minute off my time. Shave. Get it. See what I did there? Seriously though, what do you think about running? “
Police Officer: “License and Registration please.”
You: “No problem. It’s in the side pocket of my Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra pack. Do you mind if I reach to get it?”
Police Officer: “Go ahead.”
You: “See, this section is waterproof. Great for long runs. I was out today in fact for an easy 10-miler. A little bit slow on pace to start, but once I warmed up I ran negative splits. Dry as a bone. See.”
Police Officer: “Do you know why I pulled you over?”
You: “I assume you want more info on the Western States 100. You probably saw the sticker on my bumper. Don’t get me started. What a race. I had 10 tickets in the lottery this year. STILL no entry. I’m not giving up. Have you qualified? What race did you use?”
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
As you can see, there are opportunities everywhere. If you think there are topics that can’t transition into running, you’re just not trying hard enough.
Think you can stump the Runhole conversation starter? Try us! Email us a situation or topic and we'll create the perfect segue!
We’ll post the most challenging ones and our expert responses on Facebook.
GUIDE TO MAKING ANY CONVERSATION ABOUT RUNNING
They want to know. They just don't know it yet...
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