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How runners are portrayed vs. how they look in real life

Usually mid-race there's a pain face over a smile, and post-workout you're on the ground, not posing for a photo

Running is a gritty activity. It takes a lot of effort to push your body through a marathon or complete a track workout. Despite this fact, runners are usually portrayed as well-groomed, calm and collected during their exercise. It’s not to say that runners can’t look this way, but usually mid-race there’s a pain face over a smile, and post-workout you’re on the ground, not posing for a photo.

Cross-country runners

The first picture shows a well groomed path, perfect weather and wonderful scenery. In reality, cross-country is usually on a very muddy golf course while it’s half snowing, half raining. The second picture is a realistic cross-country day. 

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Marathon training runners

The man pictured in the first image is wearing leather gloves, and lots of heavy material, considering he’s about to go for a run. The second picture shows a woman fitting in some sweaty early morning miles before work on a treadmill. That’s more realistic. 

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Mid-workout runners

The first runner is not sweating, and is calmly taking a sip of water before resuming her workout. The second runner is dumping water over her head because her rest is almost up, it’s probably 40 degrees, and she’s so dehydrated that she’s given up trying to re-hydrate. 

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Post-race runners

While it’s entirely possible that a runner is excited post-race, especially after a personal best, for most of us post-race is a little relief and a lot of pain. 

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Stretching runners

Runners are notorious for forgetting their upper bodies, and it’s unlikely many runners use of this stretch as part of a running warm-up. For most runners, stretching or activation happens on a foam roller. 

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Runners on the start line

The first photo shows runners in a three-point start position, readying themselves to run a marathon. The only races that begin from a three-point start are races under 400m, and there the runners use blocks. No one would ever start a marathon this way. 

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Winter running 

While there is such thing as a perfect winter running day, as is portrayed in the first photo, more often than not winter running is a snotty and snowy pursuit. 

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