illustration of a checklist items that can go wrong on a run
(Illustration: Brendan Leonard)

An Almost-Exhaustive List of Things That Could Go Wrong on Your Run Today

Sure, maybe you get a leg cramp. But you could also get struck by an asteroid.

illustration of a checklist items that can go wrong on a run

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

A few seconds after I walked in the door on a recent afternoon, Hilary asked, “How was your run?” And I immediately replied, “Good,” without even thinking about it, which is what I do most of the time, unless something notable happens, in which case I might say something like, “Good—I saw a heron the size of a giraffe, over by the river.”

But sometimes things do go wrong on my runs. Usually nothing catastrophic, but little things. And I started thinking: Maybe I should make a sort of post-run questionnaire, kind of like the comment cards you sometimes see in restaurants to encourage you to rate your experience.

So I did that. Here it is—I hope it helps.

"Chart titled: What went wrong on my run today? With a list of possible issues followed by a yes/no box: Should have warmed up beforehand Was dehydrated Gastrointestinal emergency Bonked Too hot Too cold Shoe/shoes came untied Nagging injury New injury Ran into a concrete wall at full speed Beard not thick/full enough Didn't like show on TV at gym Am a mere shadow of the runner I was 3/5/10 years ago, another reminder of my inevitable march toward the grave Slipped on a banana peel, flew into air, landed flat on back Just felt way too fit, good-looking, and athletic today, so embarassing Stepped in dog poop Stepped in rotting deer carcass Shin splint(s) Massive asteroid hit earth Side stitch Not enough cheering from passing pedestrians and motorists Didn't find $100 bill on sidewalk/trail Attacked by a bear/other megafauna Attacked by a badger/other macrofauna Still mad about Choco Tacos being discontinued Was called upon to save the universe from villain with superweapon, ugh, again Dunno, just wasn't feeling it today"
(Illustration: Brendan Leonard)

Brendan Leonard’s latest book, Have Fun Out There or Not: The Semi-Rad Running Essays, is available now.

Lead Illustration: Brendan Leonard