Three Downsides of Being a Runner (if You’re a Girl)

Don’t get me wrong, the upsides of running far outweigh the downsides. But there are a few things that come with running regularly that can be annoying if you’re female.

1. Plan Out Your Pedicures
Calluses are a good thing if you’re a runner; they build up and toughen up after miles and miles of running, making the constant rubbing and pounding less irritating. I’ve made the mistake of going for a long run after a pedicure. Ouch. Super smooth and soft feet look great but don’t feel great rubbing against sneakers for a long period of time. Pedicures are fine for the casual runner but when training for a long race, I’ve found it important to plan out my pedicures. I like to avoid that painful rubbing so I only get pedicures after races, when I know I don’t have anything on the calendar for awhile. I’ve also asked my pedicurist to not smooth down my feet completely, which I don’t think they mind at all. Runners’ feet aren’t usually pretty but I’ve learned to accept that and be proud of those well-earned calluses.

No pedicure but painted toes and an awesome Birkenstock tan

No pedicure but painted toes and an awesome Birkenstock tan

2. High Heels Can Be a Problem
I used to wear high heels to work all of the time. Then I got a calf strain during the summer of 2013, followed by another calf strain a month later. I stopped wearing high heels both because my PT said not to while I was healing and because it was painful. Calf strains take awhile to heal so I invested in several pairs of very comfortable flats. High heels engage your calf muscle, showing off your well-defined calves, but tightening them up at the same time. Tight calves led to my calf strains (not because I wore high heels – mainly because I didn’t stretch enough and jumped back into running too quickly) so I tried to keep my calves relaxed by doing yoga and not putting excess strain on them.
Flats for work; post first sports massage for my calf strain summer 2013

Flats for work; post first sports massage for my calf strain summer 2013

After my calf strains healed, I wasn’t anxious to jump back into wearing high heels. My legs and feet are tired after running, especially during marathon or half marathon training, and I don’t want to re-tighten my calves or put pressure on my feet by wearing high heels. It’s just not comfortable. If I decided to wear heels at work, I’d commute in my Birkenstocks and put on my heels once at work, when I wasn’t going to be walking as much. High heels are known to not be great for your feet, if you’re a runner or not; here’s a Runner’s World video on why “High Heels Are Horrible for Your Feet.

3. Skinny, Ankle Pants/Jeans Don’t Always Fit Right
It’s hard finding the perfect fitting pant. I usually buy the same “Marisa” straight leg style at Loft. But with the popularity of skinny, ankle fit pants, I’m having trouble finding a pair to fit over my calves. Skinny pants just don’t fit my calves that have grown strong with running, strength training and yoga. I don’t have huge calves but the pants feel like they are cutting off circulation below my knee. Check out how you can literally see my calf muscle through these Loft skinny ankle pants in pretty tomato color – not a very attractive look. I’m proud of my strong legs but would really like to find a pair of tomato ankle pants that fit. Loft – bring back the straight pant!

A little tight on the calves...

A little tight on the calves…




  1. Yeah when I worked in a running store I would always hear women complain about calluses and they would even want to return shoes because of them. I just told them it is part of running and it is the body’s biological way of helping protect your feet, so get use to it

    1. Haha good advice 🙂 No way around it really!

  2. I have the same problem with my calves. Skinny pants/jeans just look funny.

    I also stopped wearing heels, flats all day for me too.

    1. Haha – hopefully skinny pants will go out of style soon 🙂

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