A recently published study confirmed what all non-runners have long since suspected about runners: Even runners find running sucks. The team of researchers at California State University that conducted the study rounded up a group of 10 amateur long-distance runners, ranging from 29-52 who were all training for a half-marathon or longer race, and who all run at least three substantial distances per week. The runners were then given recording equipment to record their thoughts while engaging in runs 7 miles or longer.
After the study was concluded the researchers were left with about 18 hours of footage to evaluate and were able to break down runners’ thoughts into three different categories. While 40 percent of thoughts focused on pace and distance and 28 percent of thoughts concentrated on the running environment itself (whether it be appreciation for the scenery, obstacles, or temperature), the runners spent a whopping 32 percent of their time thinking about the pain or discomfort they were in.
Well, obviously. I myself fall into the amateur long-distance runner category and typically run a couple of half-marathons per year, and I can certify that no one likes running, or getting up at the ass-crack of dawn to make it to a race. It’s the high after the run that makes it worth it, and being able to justify putting away half of a large pizza and a six-pack of beer afterward.
However NY Mag points out that in an interview conducted last fall with a researcher who studies elite long-distance runners — a category all their own — found that while the “non-elites” have the tendency to “disassociate and to try to distract themselves,” elite athletes are “consciously focusing on how they’re doing, what their muscles are doing, and how fast they’re running.” Oh yeah? Well, the heck with those guys.