5 Running Clichés That Must Die



Journalists do not have an easy time of it. As a group they are overworked, underpaid, and generally disliked. In a 2015 ranking of the nation's worst jobs, "newspaper reporter" came in at number 200.

That was out of 200 jobs total. Seriously.

As a journalism school graduate and a former newspaper guy myself, I sympathize with today's reporters and editors. I feel their pain.

So, reporters and editors, please know that it is with humility, gratitude, and all possible respect that I say this:

If you keep using the phrases below when you write about runners and running, I will find you and beat you about the head and shoulders with two copies of Strunk & White, one in each hand. Hardcovers.

Thanks in advance.

1. Lace Up

It is possible to write about a local race without saying runners are "lacing up" in preparation for it. Really. Just try it.

On a related note: Points for originality to the writer who wrote, in an article I saw some time ago, of runners "strapping on their running shoes." It's bizarre and inaccurate, but hey—at least it's not "lacing up." 

2. Hit the Streets

No one needs to see another story about runners "hitting the streets." And no, saying that runners "took to the streets" isn't any better.

3. Pound the Pavement

Ditto with runners "pounding the pavement." What's with all this violent imagery, anyway? Hitting? Pounding? Runners generally are not that angry, guys. 

Well, some of us can get a little irritated. When we see the same clichés used over and over, for instance

4. Toe the Line

In fairness, you don't see this one that much, compared with the others on this list. It's still a cliché. Even if you misspell it as "tow the line."

5. Avid Runner

I have complained about this one before. Amazingly, reporters are still using it. A lot. Obviously they aren't avid readers of my work.

Journalists, I have faith in you. I believe you can, and will, do better—eventually. With habits this deeply ingrained, change won't happen overnight.

That's OK. Beating back clichés is a marathon, not a sprint.