Running the Wrong Way – Stories and Tips from the Sidewalk

Let the training begin! With this season’s running festivals only a few months away, more and more people are out pounding the pavement to get themselves in shape. But ask any runner for an embarrassing running story and you might be standing around for a while. From embarrassing sweat marks, bathroom blunders or even “butting heads” like Wendy at Weddedwonderland and her husband did in front of hundreds of spectators, every runner has said “sooner or later it’ll happen, it always does”. Here are some of those stories and a few tips to help alleviate some of your running worries.

A knee-d to know basis

Big falls happen to the best of us. Source: Veronika from Agoga.com.au

Veronika from Agoga recalls: I work as an exercise physiologist and PT and often take my clients to train at one of the nearby parks at Bondi. One day I was running with a client towards a park, a friend driving by yelled out at me. In that moment I tripped and smashed my knee and he rushed out of the car asking if I needed help. I wanted to disappear. I pretended to be perfectly fine and kept on running. It was hot, very hot and running just made my blood pump more and more. By the time we got to the park, my shoe was saturated. We finished the session, I still pretended I was fine and she left. I thought the worst was over but the stares on the run back to the gym along the busiest road in Bondi, made my cheeks redder than my knees.

Tread Lightly

Personal Trainer has witnessed some pretty odd gym habits but read on for one that takes the cake. Source Built by Dylan

Dylan, a Personal Trainer, was working in a gym writing programs one evening when he heard a large thump and crash. “I looked up immediately from my desk and ran onto the gym floor where I noticed a young man lying on the ground behind a treadmill that was going at full speed. I put two and two together and realised that he had fallen off the back of the treadmill which, believe it or not, does happen very occasionally. I turned to see if he needed assistance, he was adamant he was ok. As I walked away, he climbed back onto the treadmill and hit the ‘go’ button. The treadmill, as it does, kicked into life and began a very slow walking speed. I turned and walked back towards my office but stood outside just to keep an eye on him for a minute or two.

What I saw then I couldn’t quite believe

He put his finger on the ‘increase speed’ button…and left it there. The treadmill speed gradually began to increase firstly to a brisk walk, then a light jog, then faster still, into a run and finally a flat out sprint at 20kph all the while his finger remained glued to the speed button. He was at this speed for about 4 seconds before he was promptly flung off the back of the treadmill- with a loud thump and crash. He ended up in the exact same position he was in a few minutes earlier. I rushed back to see if he was ok, he once again assured me he was fine. About this time I looked down at his knees and noticed he had similar marks in almost the exact places but they looked different. Older. He told me it happened last week, on a treadmill. He then dusted himself off and walked off to the change room like nothing had happen.

Wiggling the wrong way through winter

Former Elite Gymnast Lauren Hannaford tells us why her boyfriend Simon Wiggles had to walk 5kms in pink leg warmers Source: Loz @LozHannaford
Former Elite Gymnast Lauren Hannaford tells us why her boyfriend Simon Wiggles had to walk 5kms in pink leg warmers Source: Loz @LozHannaford

With limited time on tour with the Wiggles during a Canadian winter, Loz (@LozHannaford) (a dancer and former elite gymnast) made a tradition of exploring new cities on foot as it was “the best way for us to take in the City and feel like we had been able to get out and about.” She recounts:  “we would entertain ourselves on 8-10 hour bus rides and map out a run for the next morning for when we would arrive at our next destination.“

On this run she convinced her new boyfriend to accompany her on the run. “After bringing up maps on the screen of my phone, I was all sorted with my bearings and directions. It was left out of the hotel and away we went. We ran past where we had breakfast with the other cast members and they waved as they headed back to the hotel. Everything was going great, we’d run through the hustle and bustle of the city and now out on the open road.” I turned to Simon and said “In approx. 2 kilometers we are looking for Tim Horton’s coffee on the left.” We continued running but the Tim Hortons never arrived…it started to rain and we were in the middle of nowhere.

I scramble for my phone and realised we had been running for kilometres in the wrong direction.

We turned around and headed back but the bus for the show was gone. We were in a country town so getting a taxi was not the best option. We had no choice but to continue on foot in the right direction.  About 7kms in, Simon stops and says “Hey Loz, I think I’ve just torn my calf”. It must have been from the cold and all I could give him was my pink leg warmers and beanie as we continued another 5 km and straight into a show.

Image by Loz @LozHannaford


With those stories in mind, here are a few simple things to consider whilst out running:

Know your limits

  • Pushing yourself is one of the core components of training, but sprinting straight into a marathon probably isn’t the wisest thing, (I guess neither is running at full speed on a treadmill)

Run with a friend

  • Company is good and if you’re accident prone at least someone will be there to pick you up.

Plan your route

  • The feeling of completion of goals is one of the best forms of satisfaction, just make sure you run the right way.

Have you faceplanted while running recently? Or had a epic fail during a workout? Don’t keep those good stories to yourself, share in the comments!

Feature image by Loz Hannaford

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