Distance runners are a colourful bunch. We know what we want, and we want weird things.
In this list, we will take a peek into 17 wacky and wonderful habits and quirks that come hand in hand with running far.
1. Daydreaming of races
You may have accrued a mental bucket list of dream races- from the small to the mighty.
We distance runners often catch ourselves browsing race websites looking for our next adventure.
And there are just so many crazy adventure races out there! From the 4 Deserts Ultramarathon Series to the Badwater 135 Ultramarathon, we can dream.
And that heart-in-throat-thrill of signing up to a big race is hard to match!
Sitting back after you press ‘complete purchase’ and letting the reality of what you’ve done sink in is a feeling like no other.
After all, thinking about a race is the first step to actually doing one, so we can classify daydreaming of races as a productive use of our time!
2. Having intense feelings about shoe sole thickness
Whether you’re a fan of a thick cushion, zero drop, or a minimalist shoe, you’ll have your reasons.
Get a distance runner talking about their preferred shoe sole type and you could be there for a while. Stats will be quoted, and anecdotes will be given.
3. Getting excited about socks
Socks are a notoriously terrible Christmas present– but not if you’re a distance runner!
Distance runner’s feet are one of their greatest assets, so the socks that they don are almost equally as important.
From searches like ‘best socks for runners’ and ‘toe socks vs normal socks’, we lep up all of the information we can get!
And through trial and error (and the odd blister or two), we distance runners have refined our taste in socks.
Some like them double-layered, some like toe socks, and for others, regular sports socks will do.
To ensure you get that sock Christmas present of your dreams, don’t forget to keep mentioning how comfortable and affordable your specific socks are when you’re around your nearest and dearest.
4. Eyeing up other runners
Now we don’t mean this in a creepy way. More in the sense of an attempt to analyse what kind of runner they are.
How much liquid are they carrying? How far could you run with that amount of water?
Do they have any gels poking out of their pockets or running vest? Are they beginning a run fresh-faced or are they just really, really good?
What kind of shoes are they wearing? Have they run on trails or road? Are they covered in mud?
I’m probably faster than them, or they are probably waaay faster than me. Either way, I can probably run further than them? Right?
Endless analysis, endless fun.
5. Eating 7 Meals a Day
Being a distance runner means being HUNGRY ALL THE TIME!
And I mean all. the. time.
Breakfast, brunch, lunch, linner, dinner, dessert, midnight snack. Yes please!
7 meals a day seems perfectly reasonable if you have the appetite of a distance runner.
Friends and family may be shocked by the amount you can put away, but you do you! No shame in doubling your food intake- you’ve been doubling your exercise output!
6. Waking Up at The Crack of Dawn
Being a distance runner can mean chipping away at your weekly mileage before your coworkers have even woken up.
Being jerked awake by the 5 am alarm and groggily lacing up your trainers is tough- your body and mind battling over whether to get back into bed or to head out into the icy morning air.
But once you step out of that front door and start running, you get to feel your body come alive, and you know you’ve won the day before it’s even started!
The 4-5 am window is a strange one.
It’s a time reserved for the two ends of the spectrum- the super fit, and the super drunk. And there’s nothing funnier or more ironic than running past a group of people on their way home from a big night out.
7. Using runs as a time to socialise
Full work schedule and no time to squeeze in both your run and a coffee catch up with a friend?
No problem! Just invite that friend out on your run.
Granted, this may not work for every friend, but if you manage to convince one to come out with you on a shorter run, you’ve hit the jackpot.
After all, chatting as you run makes the miles go by quicker.
8. Pizza for breakfast
What do hungover people and distance runners have in common? You guessed it! Pizza in the morning!
You know your sports watch is going to tell you you’ve burned an ungodly amount of calories, so why not load up before your run?!
Giving your body energy to run far is a great excuse to eat fat-laden carbs from dawn to dusk, right? Sometimes that morning oatmeal just doesn’t spark joy.
9. Prioritizing a run over a party
Sometimes an invitation just comes at the wrong time and that long Sunday run just cannot wait.
However, seeing that run upload to Strava and looking sifting through its stat breakdown has been known to bring distance runners far more joy than hitting the town.
Your long term goal of running can be far more meaningful than going to a fiesta, so ‘sorry everyone but I’ll catch you at the next one!’ will have to do for now.
10. Saying ‘only’ or ‘just’ in front of ‘lower’ mileage runs
You may have noticed yourself saying something along the lines of, “I’m just heading out for a five-mile run,” or, “I only have a six-mile run planned today.“
It’s crazy to think just how far you’ve come in your distance running game. Just look back to your first days as a long-distance runner, and you have no choice but to be proud of your progress.
11. Carrying toilet paper on a run
Hopefully, you have never been ‘caught out‘, or maybe you have??
We have all heard the stories of runners out on the road and realising a bit too late that they should have spent a little bit longer in the bathroom before leaving for their run.
There’s no shame, even marathon legend Paula Radcliffe has found herself in this situation!
If you’re hitting the trails and will be far from a toilet, carrying a little sandwich bag of toilet paper is perfectly reasonable.
You never know when it may come in handy! Even if it is just for a runny nose…
12. Using recovery products at all times
Maybe this one doesn’t resonate with you, in which case, I think it’s time you up your recovery game.
Distance runners have been known to wear compression socks under their work clothes, stretch at bus stops, or work from home with their legs deep in air compression leg massagers.
And for good reason! Recovering should be a key part of training.
Fancy gadgets are all well and good but just don’t forget that they will never top sleeping and eating well.
13. Snacks everywhere
What happens when a distance runner doesn’t have all the time in the world to cook unlimited meals in a day? Endless snacks of course!
You will find snacks in every crevice of a distance runner’s life- stuffed into their car door, swimming around the bottom of their bag, on many spare surfaces around their house.
Just in case.
14. Considering medals and race bibs legitimate interior decor
We’ve earned them and they deserve a place to shine.
There is surely nothing wrong with hanging up a medal rack and race pictures to boot in the guest bedroom, bathroom, or even living room.
Making the room running race-themed is both classy and understated.
15. Bond over injury stories
What happens when two distance runners get together?
They compare past and present injuries of course!
“Hey listen to my knee crunch when I bend my leg!”, followed by “Oh wow! I also have bad knees!”
Nothing bonds two people quite like a mutual complaint, and distance runners sure do have a fair share of them.
16. Check Strava more than any other social media platform
Pictures of your friends on holiday or enjoying a fancy meal are nice and all, but they don’t quite compare to looking at a breakdown of even mileage splits.
No one loves running stats more than a distance runner.
Even on our rest days, you’ll find distance runners flicking through the app, reminiscing over past runs, and checking in to see what our running pals are up to.
17. Run up and down our street to hit a whole number distance
You simply cannot end a run on a number like 4.97, 9.85, or 14.93. In the distance running world, this is technically considered a criminal offence.
But there’s nothing a few laps of the block can’t fix. Just don’t make eye contact with the neighbours as you do your third lap of the cul-de-sac.
Want more weird distance running content?
Check out this article on 7 Bizarre and Interesting Facts About Long Distance Running