So this is how we run

So this is how we run

Emily is describes herself as someone trying to become a regular runner, yet she runs twice and clocks 10 miles a week. Are we modest or underestimating our true ability?

There's a (often maligned) silicon valley phrase that goes something like "In God we trust. For everything else, show us the data". At ReRunnr we like our data as much as the next nerd so we surveyed a bunch of runners to find out about how they run and also how they deal with their shoes.

Didn't do the survey yet? Take it in 2 minutes now and add your data before reading the answers from everybody else.

Of course there are health warnings to the insights about our running habits from this data. The sample size was about 60 runners at time of writing which is small but statistically significant nevertheless. There's a degree of self-selection - very few contributors had little or no interest in running after all. Having said that, we learned 4 interesting things about runners:

1. We run a lot - more than three quarters of participants run twice a week or more. Furthermore, these runners are packing in the miles - nearly all of them run at least 3 miles every time and 30% of them head out for a 6+ mile run (that's a 10k for the Europeans) several times per week. This is a lot of mileage adding up - the majority of people surveyed can expect to hit more than 500 miles in a year. 

2. We may be underestimating our abilities - this data leaves us a nagging feeling that many runners feel that they don't live up to the image of a 'real runner', yet the same people are out there running frequently.  60% of those surveyed said that they were either occasional runners, trying to become regular, or just running to keep fit. Modest claims when three quarters of them are out pounding the streets twice a week or more! Maybe this says more about runners than anything - we stick to our routines and don't make a big deal of it.

3. We're solitary sports-people - the vast majority (80%) of these runners are usually running alone, with the remainder trying to train with friends or a club. Hardly surprising - solo running is an easy sport to fit around packed schedules and busy lives. Finding running partners who are available at the same time and like to run similar distances at a comparable pace is just too hard for most people. Let's hope we don't give up on social running - its really so much better when you try it.

4. We need to replace our shoes more often - The data here is a little surprising for a group of frequent distance runners. It's easy to assume that everyone is tracking their shoe lifetime using apps like Strava. The reality is that over 80% of respondents either have no pattern for renewal or simply wait until their shoes look to be worn out. Unfortunately this is probably too late as the foam cushioning tends to lose its protective spring before other signs of ageing can be seen on the shoe. We know that using worn shoes increases the risk of injury, so we probably need to get better at replacing our running shoes.

Interestingly the runners in this survey had a variety of habits for dealing with worn-out shoes that have been replaced. Unfortunately the most popular solution was to throw them away, although an encouraging number of respondents used their shoes for other purposes like gardening.

Recycling is another theme for improvement - after all, as runners we enjoy the environment that run in. Let's keep it that way.


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