The Beauty Backlash: Why I Don't Run

we aren't having fun...

I have never been one of those people who are particularly comfortable in themselves. Finally, at the grand ol’ age of 21, I am pretty cool with being the small, podgy one. I developed a big character and can laugh at myself with ease, but the one thing I have never been is sporty. It’s genetic, I do not come from an athletic line and I’ve got the thighs to prove it. However, after a series of irritating events culminating in me moving in to a new flat with no internet or TV and with no unemployed friends or flatmates not being whisked away on romantic mini-breaks to speak of, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, and not a lot to do. To cut a long story short, if you leave a recently single, 20-something alone for too long she is going to spend too much time thinking about her insecurities and will inevitably make the terrible decision to go for a run.

I’m not saying that running itself is so bad, though you will never find it on my bucket list; it’s the culture I can’t stand. The outfits! The shoes! Where do you put your keys? What to put on your exercise playlist? How do I tie my hair back without looking like a small child? Why haven’t I bought a new sports bra since 2008? All valid concerns. Honestly, I spend way longer on the prep than the actual run. And even once you’ve got all this down and look totally the part, you then have to go and throw your little legs around a ridiculously public place, because green space in a city, on a nice evening is likely to be busier than the Tesco next to Uni around 9.30pm (reduction time, for all you rich folk out there). Nothing makes me feel worse whilst running than passing a beer garden and catching the laughter of people who enjoy their time and don’t feel the need to aimlessly run until they can’t feel their knees. I can’t even do the breathing properly and focusing so hard on inhaling correctly just means I’ll inevitably fall in a pot hole or, as it more often feels, not get enough oxygen and pass out; I am the proverbial fish out of water.

I just don’t see the point of doing something so unpleasant. No matter how many times people tell me that it gets easier, I can’t help but think that if I were to slam my head against a wall three times a week, I would probably get used to the feeling of concrete on bone just as quickly. I could walk around saying ‘I feel so much better now! You must come with me one day, its quite pleasant to get back to basics, not think about the daily grind for a while, just smack your head off this brick!’ I mean, call me a product of the technological age, but it just takes too long to get to the ‘having a good time’ stage for my liking. If it takes a good few tries to enjoy something and to stop feeling like someone’s just put you in a sauna and winded you, then thank you, but I’ll pass this time.

I don’t feel any kind of camaraderie with fellow runners, just inferiority, and the overwhelming notion that I must stand out like a hippo doing the foxtrot. More to the point, I don’t understand the superiority of running culture. By saying ‘what did I do yesterday? Oh, just went for a run, you know, no big deal’ I feel about as smug as if I’d saved a drowning kitten. If you think about it logically, this is completely backward. The person who sat on their sofa and watched reruns of Veronica Mars whilst snapchatting ugly selfies, doubtless enjoyed their day more than the fool who willingly wore Lycra. So why aren’t they the ones feeling like they achieved something? Running just makes me feel like my lungs are about to burst, and there’s nothing to distract me except how much longer there is to go, and when I can feasibly sit down next. Give me a hockey stick to flail or a horse to ride and everything just seems a lot easier.

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  • Melanie Seaward

    I tried jogging a few times. The first time, I twisted my ankle. The second, I pulled a muscle in my leg. The third, I pulled something in my back. I am not, nor will I ever be, a runner. And I’m cool with that.

    The elliptical isn’t half bad, not that I’ve been using it lately, but give it a try if you still want to try cardio. There are lots of other ways to work out, not all of us are runners. I personally prefer chocolate and the couch, but to each her own.

    This obsession with workout culture is getting obnoxious lately.

  • Maggie Fraser

    I am in Glasgow for the semester, and I also hate running! If you continue, I wish you luck with the sidewalks! If I ever see you ambling aimlessly, I will give you a friendly wave! :)

    • Coral Fleming

      haha, much appreciated! & thanks for reading:) Enjoy Glasgow – it’s an amazing city!

  • Aiyana Yuki Adshead


  • Irene Lee

    Running definitely isn’t for everyone. And no one said in order to be fit and healthy you have to run. There are a hundred million ways and more to take up exercising and be fit (boxing, swimming, hiking, yoga, ballet, biking, to name a few). So no one judges you or cares if you run or not (if they do they must be arrogant). And running isn’t about how you look. Most people who run could care less if they look like a child or “look the part.” Yes, they might choose cute or stylish running clothes, but we pay for them for its use: to keep us warm/ cool, prevent chafing, create efficiency while running, provide “comfortability” or support, etc. And, yes, not everybody is built for running. (However, I do firmly believe everyone can with willpower). And for the people who do run, it is anything but “unpleasant.” We’ve all experienced the “runner’s high” and it is amazing. But, again, running isn’t for everyone, and that’s COMPLETELY fine. It’s ridiculous to think of yourself or for someone else to think of you as “inferior” because you don’t run. That’s like being inferior because you don’t play rugby or don’t dance ballet. It’s much like a hobby. Some people choose it, some people don’t. Whoever put you down about running or provoked you to write this article must be completely arrogant! It has never crossed my mind to write an article about why you feel you don’t have to run…

    • Coral Fleming

      Yeah, I feel much happier playing a sport than solely running, and this isn’t a rant against exercise in general. I would love to enjoy running, but it’s just not for me, I sadly never get as far as ‘runners high’! Maybe i’m just planning routes that are too public!

  • Ayla Rose Cornelius

    I run all day at work back and forth bringing people boxes of shoes. Usually I’m on my feet for 8 hours. After work I walk the mile to my house. Running for ‘fun’ doesn’t seem like so much fun after all that. Also, I’m asthmatic and I have bad ankles. But yeah, give me a sport with something to do, and I’ll play. If I’m running for a volleyball or a frisbee it doesn’t feel the same as just running with no destination.

  • Maricruz Valtierra

    really enjoyed this article :) kudos

    • Coral Fleming

      Thanks! glad you enjoyed it:)

  • Carly Fries

    I have been a defined athlete for the majority of my existence and a large portion of this feat is to run, lift and be conditioned. I have endured it my whole life, however I can honestly say I love being the donut eating, buffy watching, couch potato. There are days I enjoy a moderate aimless amble to an unknown destination, but day after day to the “same fixed point” creates an element of boredom. The only activity I would like to partake in everyday is eating cake, –maybe a different type of cake due to my explorative nature.

    It seems to be a fad these days, if you have not run a marathon or half marathon you are not accomplished or in that matter cool, however I have climbed mountains, snowboarded off jumps(small ones), jumped out of a plane, traversed the sky in a balloon, moved across the country just because I could and these activities do not take doing the same mundane joint pounding activity, however cute clothes are always required! It is totally okay to hate running, I do thats why I diversify my workout activities, changing the channels , getting the mail, taking the trash out, make up and hair, I hear it is better for your body and your wardrobe.

  • Amber Pierson

    People say that so many things will become more enjoyable after a while and they just don’t, like drinking, I love playing sports- soccer, football, rugby, hockey, softball, and I tried to be on the track team to get in shape one year for the upcoming soccer season and I just could not get behind running with absolutely no purpose! Now whenever people ask me I always tell them that I don’t run because it’s too high impact on your joints and seeing as how my sister has had 3 knee surgeries at the age of 24, I am not taking any risks and just do low impact stuff, way easier for other people to swallow than saying that I hate running!

  • Lisa Marie

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who can’t figure out the breathing thing. I’d probably actually enjoy running if I didn’t need to breathe, but as it stands, I can’t go more than 1/4 mile without gasping and wheezing like a pack of super excited pugs.

  • Caroline Jeffery

    i love playing sports, but i hate running. i did it last summer for about 2 months and while i was able to find a pace and what not, i was never really comfortable. i also started to associate it with anxiety and frustration because i would come home from a high stress coaching job and run to release the stress. it worked, but it didn’t endear the pass time to me. it just hurts my body. jogging is not a comfortable gait for me. i’m a far better sprinter, i come from the ice hockey world where you sprint and rest, sprint and rest. the faster i go the more comfortable i am. but alas that cannot be maintained over long distances.

    also, i sometimes really enjoy clashing… like i’ll purposefully put on something that is heinously horrific… hehehe… it helps me take the pressure off myself.

    • Anandita Bhalerao

      Me too! I love sports, because I feel like at least then, I’m running for a purpose. 😛 The worst is running on a treadmill! It feels so pointless and boring. I don’t get how people can run day after day on treadmills. At least while jogging outdoors, you can people watch or enjoy the scenery….

  • Mackenzie McCreary

    I hate running! I have such horrible knees and can’t make it more than two laps around a track. But I so wish I was a runner, just can’t get that breathing down. I’d much rather pedal a stationary bike while watching SVU re-runs (something I’ve done for the past two weeks).

  • Caroline De Voecht

    haha love being around people who all feel this way! people always say “as soon as you build up stamina, you’ll love it” but 1) I hate it so much I never even get to the part where I actually have built up any stamina and 2) I seriously doubt it. but now I cycle and swim and I do like that, so I don’t mind being the worst runner on planet Earth :) PS, you REALLY don’t look “podgy” on your pic. If that’s “podgy” then I don’t know what “normal” is

  • J Alexandra Roberts

    I fucking HATE running, my sister runs like hell and for miles with her husband and his family. I hate it, boobs going everywhere and you can feel them age and sag with every stride, and then the breathing, dear God the breathing! Like my lungs are shrinking inside my chest and the driest throat that feels like its been stretched out in the dessert like some bad cowboy in an old western. It’s the worst sport ever, at least with cycling and swimming you can take a break but keep moving. I feel with running when you stop to take a break because you are dying, the game is over and defeat has already made you sign the treaty of giving up and limping back home to wash away the sweat grease from your hair and peel off your sports bra.

  • Samantha O’Reilly Hinz

    I like running… Just the high you get, and how great you feel during it, like you’re gliding down a hill or accomplishing a challenge – getting past a limit you didn’t think you could…

  • Tabitha Langley

    You just gained so many points by mentioning Veronica Mars and having Charmed in your bio. Oh, and the article was good too.

    • Coral Fleming

      muchas gracias. Though i bet Veronica is a keen runner! Thanks for reading :)

  • Amber Lane

    I’m with ya! I tried doing couch to 5K. At first I was felt like a total rockstar that my fat butt could actually do it without wanting to die the first couple weeks. One day at the gym, halfway through the program, I realized something: I really friggin hate running. I got no “high” from it, and chose just fast pace walking instead.

    • Coral Fleming

      yes. i’m so proud of you!

  • Kristen Rodgers

    I always say- where are you going? And why do you have to get there so fast? Thanks for reminding me it’s ok to hate running. :-)

    • Coral Fleming

      You’re very welcome, we can all not run together! look at not exercising bringing people together..
      Thanks for reading!

  • Christina Konze

    GENIUS. This is precisely how I feel. Also, my amazing physical therapist told me NOT to run because one of my legs is slightly shorter than the other. It’s bad for my knees and hips, so I just can’t do it, medical reasons you know. I’ll just be over here enjoying my day and not being in pain.

    • Coral Fleming

      haha, i’m so glad you enjoyed it! Sorry to hear about your bad legs, but at least you’ve got a totally legit reason not to run! I can tell you’re really upset about it too… 😉 Thanks for reading:)

  • Diana Bannanna

    I ran a 5k just about a month ago, with a week of prep and OMG… I have no idea why on earth anyone would do that for fun! The only time I am ever running again is black friday and that is it.
    Thank you, I don’t feel alone anymore.

  • Kay Kay Smith

    I cant stand running. I’ve tried it and its not my thing. You should, however, watch the movie “Run Fatboy Run”. It’s a British comedy about a down on his luck guy that decides to run a marathon in order to impress his ex-fiancée and his friends. It’s pretty awesome.

    • Coral Fleming

      i’ve seen it! love simon pegg’s stuff, he’s so funny:)

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