26 Useful Facts About Running
A nonexhaustive list
1. It is OK to take breaks while running. Sometimes breaks last a few seconds, and sometimes they last a few years.
2. There are no rules for what constitutes running or minimum required speed. But in the sport of racewalking, one foot is required to be in contact with the ground at all times or the walker is considered to be “running.”
3. There is no requirement that you have to own a couch to do the Couch to 5K program.
4. One hundred percent of the participants in the first marathon died upon completing the event.
5. No matter who you are, there is a very good chance that you can run five kilometers faster than you can run five miles. You might think, “Hell, I’ll just run kilometers from now on, then,” but unfortunately, that’s not how it works.
6. Eliud Kipchoge, who holds the world record for the fastest marathon ever, puts his shoes on one at a time, just like you. Which is nice to think about, but he would also fucking crush you in a marathon.
7. There is no “required clothing” for running. You can wear super-short shorts or take your shirt off in the middle of your run if you want to. The most important thing is that you’re comfortable.
8. Correction: many states and municipalities have laws requiring you to wear a certain amount of clothing in public spaces.
9. You can run in super-cushioned shoes, you can run in very minimalist shoes, and you can run barefoot. Any of these things can change your life.
10. People close to you or people you’ve just met may eventually tire of hearing how your particular footwear changed your life.
11. The top recorded running speed of a human, sprinter Usain Bolt, is 27 miles per hour. The top speed of a running grizzly bear is 35 miles per hour. Data does not yet exist, however, on how fast a human can run while running from a bear.
12. There are no hard-and-fast rules on what you should and should not eat before running; there is only your answer to the question “Have you ever pooped your pants during a run?”
13. If you’ve been running regularly but would like to find someone to tell you that you’re doing it wrong, you can find them on the internet.
14. 13.1 miles is half the distance of a marathon, which is 26.2 miles. When running a marathon, at the 13.1-mile mark, you are halfway. However, at 14 miles, you are also halfway. And at 15 miles, 16 miles, 17 miles, and 18 miles, you are also still only halfway. This continues every mile until mile 25.5, when you are almost finished.
15. It is a commonly held belief that ultrarunning is “not really running.” This is only one interpretation of ultrarunning, and there is some truth in it, as running is only one component of ultrarunning. Other components of ultrarunning include but are not limited to eating snacks, hiking, running with trekking poles, hallucinating, being sad, losing toenails, bleeding, despair, blisters, talking nonsensically, shuffling, and socializing with nice people who live in the forest next to folding tables displaying snack foods.
16. People who hate running and would prefer to avoid it at all costs may refer to running as “cardio.”
17. People who hate running and would prefer to avoid it may refer to running as “running” and do it regularly for decades.
18. The first human usage of treadmills was in early 19th century English prisons. Since then, treadmills have evolved to make it possible for humans to safely watch cable news while running.
19. Lots of longtime runners say they love the simplicity of running because all you need to do it is a pair of shoes.
20. Any real runner knows that in addition to a pair of shoes, you also need a steely resolve and the hard-won psychological tools to continually, day in and day out, drag your procrastinating ass out the door and actually begin running.
21. It is generally acceptable for runners to share usage of the same running path or trail at the same time, giving space to each other when passing.
22. It is generally unacceptable for runners to share usage of the same treadmill at the same time.
23. Many musicians have written songs that mention running in a metaphorical and/or literal sense, such as Iron Maiden's “Run to the Hills,” N.W.A.’s “100 Miles and Runnin’,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run,” and, more cryptically, the Nirvana song “I Hate Myself and Want to Die,” which is about ultramarathon running.
24. There are many ways to use technology to improve your running practice, such as using an app like Strava, which, with a few clicks, will communicate with satellites in order to tabulate your time and distance covered, or another app like GrubHub, which, with a few clicks, will enable you to have a bag of takeout food appear at your front door at the exact minute you arrive home from your run.
25. Many runners experience what’s called “runner’s high,” a euphoric feeling caused by chemicals released by the body during or after strenuous exercise.
26. Many runners also periodically experience a completely unrelated runner’s high, which is caused by extreme gastrointestinal distress while running and then making it to a restroom just in time to release other chemicals produced by the body.
Brendan Leonard’s new book, I Hate Running and You Can Too, is out now.