Monday, April 19, 2010

Crap People Don't Tell You About Running: #1

When you think about the hurdles a person might have to clear while training for a marathon, sore muscles; shin splints; and dehydration sprint immediately to mind. Perhaps the issue of how a pokey little puppy like myself will actually find the time to put in those long runs (going public helps).

There are so many known running demons that it's easy for many of the death-by-paper-cut snafus to fly under the radar. So today I begin the first in an occasional series I'm gonna call "Crap People Never Mention About Running." So without further ado, the first crappy thing nobody mentions is this: Running will definitely double your laundry chore—it might even triple it.
There was a time before we moved into our condo when my husband and I went to the laundromat together and amused ourselves by watching the kind of soap opera that can only be delivered through the fights people have over the spin cycle, but those laundry dates are the closest I've ever come to washing my husband's dirty socks for him. So it came as quite the shock when I started to find myself besieged by the ever growing pile of sweat-drenched leggings, balled-up blister-prevention socks, and soggy underthings. As excited as I was to have my inner runner move in with my husband and me, it turns out she's a sweaty pig of a roommate who shows no sign of either cleaning up after herself or moving out any time soon.

Bad, runner! Bad!

Because the other runners in your life will have all kinds of tips for avoiding overuse injury and staying hydrated during long runs, I'm gonna go ahead and give you the best tip I have for tackling the Sisyphean laundry task that's just one of the many hidden perks of marathon training: commit to a color family in your running clothes.

Variety may, indeed, be the spice of life, but if you wear the lights and brights in your workout wardrobe in equal measure, you're gonna end up doing twice the laundry. Decide now if your running clothes will lean toward the lights (white and pastels) or the brights (black and bright colors). That way when it comes time to wash the stinking masses, you can throw the whole lot into the washing machine without a thought. Added bonus for women who choose brights? You never have to worry about your orange-and-pink-striped running bra shining through your light shirt like so much Vegas neon.

Catherine Elcik is running her first marathon to raise money for a scholarship fund for Grub Street, Inc, and independent writing center in Boston, MA. Sponsor the run at

1 comment:

  1. Haha! I do have a few well-loved whites that I wash infrequently, I mean, separately.

    Try living in a house with TWO runners, one of them male and the other the world's most atrocious housekeeper. I've been known to go an extra mile or two when I felt lousy just because I'd already started to sweat and thus created laundry.

    My tip: Sprinkle some baking soda in the hamper every now and then, between layers of sweaty clothing. It cuts down on the stink and helps in the wash, too.

    Congrats on your new endeavor!