Why are runners so stubborn?

Two days until the adventure of my first triathlon.  I’m as ready as I’m going to be, although I’d appreciate if the rain and thunderstorms would stop.  We even got an email today that our race parking location was changed due to flooding.

I also decided to squeeze in a last minute doctor appointment to get some input on my aching shin.

I was pretty sure I was going to race regardless, but I wanted to hear the sports doctor’s opinion.  How does that make any sense? Tell me I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

Good news: it’s not a stress fracture.  Bad news: it appears to be a pulled muscle or strain, as I can go from feeling fine to limping with no warning.

The doctor actually told me I can do it. (I was expecting something along the lines of “you really shouldn’t race, but since you’re going to anyway, here’s how to minimize the recovery afterward” speech).

My shin is completely happy in compression gear.  I even decided to feign confidence and wear the sleeves to teach my spin class last night.  I added the right leg to balance out the look.

I am seriously considering wearing them for the triathlon.  I even showered in them after spin class to see how they like the water.  They seem up for the challenge.

I’m gathering the rest of my gear and have my borrowed tri top, belt and shorts ready to go (thanks, Liz!).

I don’t want to think about what would have happened if the doctor said it’s a no-go.  I hope I would have been smart enough to listen.  But any good sports medicine practitioner knows that runners are stubborn.  And they seem to couch their answers around that knowledge.

So why is that? Are people with stubborn personalities more likely to  become runners because they have the determination to stick with it? Or do runners become stubborn as they train and get attached to their training and race goals?


58 thoughts on “Why are runners so stubborn?

  1. I’ve often wonder the same thing Laura. I’ve had doctors who seem to get exasperated when dealing with runners LOL Then, they resolve to accept the stubborn and try to help minimize.

    For what it’s worth, when I pulled/strained my abductor compression was the key to continued running pain free and without making the injury worse.

    I’m hoping the rain stops for you! You’re going to do awesome and look cute doing it 🙂
    Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness recently posted..Fitness Friday || Benefits of a Plant Based DietMy Profile

  2. First of all, GOOD LUCK! I am glad that wearing the compression “leg warmers” is helping you out! And how nice to have a supportive doctor!

    Second, I think runners are an interesting group and that it’s probably a mixed bag- we are stubborn to begin with AND running makes us even more so!

    When I first started running, I was much more lax about my diet, was fine with skipping a run or not running for an entire week, etc. Now, I have to run on a schedule or I feel like my whole day is off…probably to my own detriment! 🙂
    Kelly @ Runmarun recently posted..Happy Friday!My Profile

  3. Best wishes on the tri, Laura! I hope your shin cooperates for you!

    For me (and most runners) I think it is a combination of being highly competitive, goal-oriented, and having a strong stubborn streak – and that doesn’t allow us to quit when we should! 🙂

    But again, good luck and godspeed!

    • I forgot to add, on the flip-side, when we channel that energy in a positive direction, GREAT things can happen with a go-get-’em spirit…… so i know you’ll do great!

  4. Oh so funny! I’m sure it’s a little of both. I definitely seek out doctors who are runners or who have a large running client base. But I haven’t thought which came first: the chicken or the egg. I live in compression socks too, even when I’m feeling the least bit creaky. Have so much fun this weekend!!!
    Kelly recently posted..Fun Day at WorkMy Profile

  5. I’m so glad the sleeves are working for you! Definitely tri with them. Hard question: chicken or egg? I suspect running appeals to a certain kind of person. And when we set goals, we want to reach them no matter what. It’s hard not to push through when eyes are on the prize!
    Good luck and have fun this weekend!
    Marcia recently posted..Scale InterventionMy Profile

  6. At least he gave you some advice but honestly you probably still would be doing the triathlon. I can be stubborn and Im not a runner.I think it has more to do with training and goals. I believe none of us like to miss the natural rush of endorphin’s. Good luck on the race. Your pretty styling in your compression gear.
    Lilli Toby recently posted..Pregame jittersMy Profile

  7. Good news that it’s not a fracture. And good point on runners and stubbornness. I’m def stubborn, long before running. Maybe you have to be a bit stubborn to bully through running? I mean, you have great runs, but you have those tough ones and you have to be pretty stubborn to keep going!
    Heather (Where’s the Beach) recently posted..Double Workout & A Sick PupMy Profile

  8. I feel like I run through pain because I don’t want to be told to quit. I don’t want to be a wimp so I think, “I’m hardcore, I can run through this!” When, really, the hardcore thing to do would be let myself heal.

    Especially because you CAN run through some injuries, while other injuries require time off. So I just assume every single injury is the kind that will go away on its own 😉
    Amanda K. recently posted..Running: That old familiar painMy Profile

    • Exactly! I have the hardest time convincing myself an injury requires absolute rest… it’s so hard to find that fine line between pushing through and backing off.

  9. Good luck with the race! I think that as far as stubbornness and runners go, it’s a mix of both. I think we are already stubborn, but once we start reaching for goals, we are even more so! It’s also funny how easy it is for us to give other people advice that we would never follow!
    Travel Spot recently posted..Just Call Me BabyMy Profile

  10. I agree with Sarah – “I think the stubbornness comes from putting in so much training and not wanting to feel like it was wasted effort.”

    I’m glad the doctor gave you the go ahead and that the sleeves seem to be working!
    Mandy recently posted..When Lazy Has It’s RewardsMy Profile

  11. I just kind of thought it was a runner personality trait! Glad you got the ok, and so excited to see the post-race post!

    The sleeves are hot – there’d better be photos.
    Kate recently posted..For the Love of RunningMy Profile

  12. I am glad it is not a stress fracture and good luck at the tri! Have fun! 🙂

    And I do think that the “stubborn” and driven personality people (us!) are much more likely to become competitive, dedicated runners. I have other friends with different personalities who run, but not with the same drive or commitment. They run for fun when they feel like it and don’t chase PR’s or print out training schedules. Everyone is different and everyone runs for their own reasons. I am proud to be in the stubborn club though. I have great company! 🙂
    Erin recently posted..Ongoing saga…My Profile

  13. I’m glad that he said you could go ahead and to your race!
    We just have so many goals and plans, it’s hard to think of letting anything get in the way of that! Everytime I have a pain, ache, etc- I think “After this next race, I will have to get that checked”. A little backwards, but that’s the stubbornness coming out :).
    Jerilee@Mom’s Gone Running recently posted..Back at it and engaging my quads…My Profile

  14. Good luck – and you are right on the dot…runners are stubborn, particularly marathoners! I found it first hand at the running shoes store last week. The sales rep coaches marathoners and he basically said, I could give all the advice to the runners, but they won’t listen. 🙂

  15. Hmmmmm…I think I was always stubborn. Running just became the a positive means to channel my stubbornness. lol

    I have a triathlon sprint next month. It’s been 4 years since I last competed in the sport and I am a nervous wreck. I’m not saying I wish I had an injury or heavy rains to get in the way of my training or the race, but it might put my nerves at ease. 😉 Totally kidding, of course! I heard those compression socks really do the trick. Let me know what you think and GOOD LUCK!!! Glad to hear your injury is nothing to serious!
    Run DMT recently posted..Piña Colada CupcakesMy Profile

    • I can totally relate to always being stubborn! I am nervous too- I signed up just for fun, and now I’m wondering how I got talked into this… but it should be a good experience.
      Yes- I LOVE compression gear. Wish I had come across it sooner.
      Laura recently posted..Why are runners so stubborn?My Profile

  16. Glad the compression sleeves help so much! As for stubbornness, I think you do have to be stubborn to stick with running. Otherwise, you wouldn’t push through the tough days.

  17. You sports doc sounds like mine–he has NEVER told me not to run (he left that dirty work to my PT :^) ).

    I think the investment and time we put into building our fitness makes us stubborn. Getting injured is sort of like those “Bankrupt” spins on Wheel of Fortune. So not fair!

    Good luck in your tri, Laura! I am camping with my kids and husband this weekend, but I’ll check on you when we get back Sunday night. :^)
    Terzah recently posted..Why I’m Glad I Hired a CoachMy Profile

  18. SO glad it is not a sfx! And that you got the green light to race–great news!

    Yes, we are a stupidly stubborn group. There’s always that “if I can just do one more run/race, then I’ll rest” mentality going on, which is how we get into trouble! Running is crack.
    misszippy recently posted..Free agentMy Profile

  19. I’m the same way! In 2010 after battling painful shin splints, having massages, being stretched out, twisted and turned by the chiropractor, I went to a sports medicine doctor.

    First he told me that once he tried to run a marathon but couldn’t get past mile 18 so he quit running. Then he told me that the only way I was going to feel better was to quit running forever. Oh is that a challenge?! He went on and on about how horrible it is and why people are masochists, etc (I just put it all down as he was still super bitter about not being able to complete his marathon). Such a Debbie Downer.

    So I stopped running long enough to allow it to heal, then started training again. I ran my 1/2 marathon and sent him a picture of myself at the finish line with my medal because it just felt so good!
    Sheena recently posted..Bia is where it’s at!My Profile

    • Wow- that’s so unfortunate that a sports medicine dr is telling everyone to quit running! Way to go for pushing through, and letting him know you did it. I’ve always had sport med drs who were also runners, which helps so much since they “get it”.
      Laura recently posted..Why are runners so stubborn?My Profile

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  21. hmm I think we all have a bit of stubbornness in us and race day even if we are not competitive brings that out! its totally normal (or so I tell myself!) Anyway I hope you arent limping anytime soon and you go get that race!!
    Courtney recently posted..the change from withinMy Profile

  22. I think that all runners are very stubborn people- I am VERY guilty of this. Every doctor I have ever seen for a running related “ache” has said the same thing- they really don’t like treating to runners because we never seem to listen. Ha. I have learned the hard way to listen, but it took some serious tough love.
    I hope that your shin will continue to improve and that you were told it was okay to compete. Even though if he had said no you still probably would have anyways (it’s okay I would have made the same decision as you). 🙂
    Tasha @ Healthy Diva recently posted..I graduated to 300 repeats!My Profile

  23. I know I tend to go back and forth on being stubborn. When I have a goal in mind with running I do want to stick with it no matter what! However in general I let my running lapse and use other areas of my life for dedication and passion. Maybe I need to learn to focus better?
    Julie (@ROJRunning) recently posted..Product Review : Bulu BoxMy Profile

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