1. Don't say: "Running is so boring!"
Instead, try this: If you really think running is boring, ask your favorite runner how she keeps it interesting. You never know, you may pick up a few boredom-busting tips that change the way you view running.
2. Don't say: "Why aren't you losing weight?"
Instead, try this: Ask them what benefits they've experienced now that they're running regularly. Some runners find that they don't lose weight, but they feel more energetic and less stressed. Find out the reasons they run, and don't assume that one of them is to lose weight.
3. Don't say: "Why are you so upset about an injury?"
Instead, try this: No matter how much you think your friend is overreacting about a running injury, try to be sympathetic. Tell her how you know that she's trained really hard up until this point and you can understand why she would be disappointed. Make plans to do something fun, like see a show, to help get her mind off of her injury.
4. Don't say: "Are you sure it's safe for you to do a marathon?"
Instead, try this: Ask her how the training is going -- marathon trainees are always looking for an excuse to talk about her training!
Also see: Should I Run a Marathon?
5. Don't say: "Your feet look disgusting!"
Instead, try this: Hearing something like, "Wow, those are the feet of a well-trained runner!" may help your friend change her mind and realize she has brag-worthy feet. Then ask her if she wants to get a pedicure together!
6. Don't say: "You're almost there!"
Instead, try this: If you're spectating at a marathon or other race, pick an encouraging phrase that doesn't have a reference to the distance. Something like, "Way to go!", "Keep it up" or "Looking strong!" are always phrases that racers want to hear.
Also see: Tips for Marathon Spectators
7. Don't say: "I can't believe YOU are running a marathon!"
Instead, try this: Tell your friend how impressed you are with his or her commitment to the training and the decision to take on such a huge mental and physical challenge.
8. Don't say: "So, how far is this marathon?"
Instead, try this: Asking "So, what's the course like for this marathon?" tells the person that you're interested in her marathon goal enough to know that the course, not the distance, is different for every marathon and it can have a huge effect on performance. The runner will be happy to share pros and cons about the course, since she's most likely already studied it.
9. Don't say: "Do you feel guilty spending all that time away from your family?"
Instead, try this: Say something like, "I'm so impressed that you're able to manage the training with all your other responsibilities. What's your secret to success?" Your friend might admit that she feels guilty about missing time with family and friends. But she'll probably also tell you the training is beneficial for her physical, emotional, and mental health, and that makes her a better person. Personally, I'm much easier to live with when I'm running regularly!
10. Don't say: "So, did you beat Oprah's time?"
Instead, try this: Congratulate your friend on his or her incredible accomplishment! Instead of really putting her on the spot, ask her a general, "How did it go?" That will give her a chance to brag about which celebrities she beat or how she beat her PR, if she wants to talk about it.
Also see: More "What Not to Say" articles
How to Deal With the Naysayers