5 shocking running facts

Surprising facts all runners should know

Whether you’re a beginner runner or a have been training for decades, there may still be some things you don’t know about running. Here are 5 shocking running facts you need to know.

Stretching before running may lower your endurance

Many of us have been taught to warm up before exercise, however recent studies suggest that stretching before a run may not be beneficial to your workout. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that stretching before going for a run made a runner’s body less efficient so that they did not perform as well and were unable to run as far.

Instead of stretching, try warming up with a walk and running-specific moves to mobilise your joints before your run. You should then make sure to include stretches as part of your post-run routine.

Eating baked beetroot could help you beat your PB

You may know all about the powers of carbs like pasta for improving your run, however researchers at St Louis University have found that eating baked beetroot before a race could help you to run faster. The study recorded the running speed of 11 fit and healthy participants as they ran 5km on a treadmill; once after consuming a portion of baked beetroot an hour before, and once after consuming a similar sized portion of cranberry relish, which had a similar amount of calories.

The results showed that after eating beetroot the average speed of the runners was 12.3km per hour (or 7.6mph), while after the cranberry relish it was just 11.9km per hour (or 7.3mph). It is believed that this is due to the chemicals called nitrates which are contained in beetroot and which have been shown to also improve stamina when exercising.

Running a marathon could make you better at your job

Going for a run is not only a good way to some of your spend your free time, research has found that regular running could also help to enhance your working hours. The fact that exercise requires planning, application, dedication and discipline means that it can help to improve your character development as well as your health. In fact, a study of people training for a New York marathon found that regular exercise improves people’s goal-setting, organization and discipline – both at work and in other areas of life.

Research from Rhode Island College also suggests that aerobic exercise (particularly when involving activities that don’t require much thought) can kick-start your creativity and keep your brain cells tingling for a couple of hours afterwards, so head out for a run before a big brainstorming meeting to get your creative juices flowing.

Wearing cheap running shoes could cut your risk of injury

While it can be fun to splash out on a new piece of kit, research studies have suggested that, when it comes to your running shoes, opting for low cost items could be good for your health.

A study by a researcher at the University of Bern in Switzerland analysed 4,358 runners and found that runners whose shoes cost more than $95 were more than twice as likely to get injured as those whose shoes that cost less than $40. Later studies have revealed similar results, with research results published in Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise showing that runners who wore expensive shoes with additional features such as extra cushioning were significantly more likely to get injured.

Male runners are more likely to have daughters

If you’re trying to conceive and are hoping for a son, research suggests it may be beneficial for you or your partner to temporarily reduce your mileage. While maintaining a healthy weight and level of activity can improve your chances of conceiving, regular running could also increase your chances of conceiving a daughter.

Researchers at the University of Glasgow divided male runners into three categories, based on how often they trained while trying to conceive. The categories consisted of those who were taking a break from running, those who were running less than 30 miles a week, and those who were running more than 30 weekly miles. They found that the proportion of boys fathered by non-runners and those running less than 30 miles a week was 62 per cent, while for those covering more than 30 miles a week, only 40 per cent of their babies were sons. It is believed that this is due to the fact that a higher running mileage causes testosterone (the male hormone) to decrease.

Want to perfect your running technique? Check out these 5 things all runners get wrong.


Editorial Credit: Abel Tumik / Shutterstock.com

Comments (4)

  • RAllenSkriens 'I agree with most of this - & I have 2 daughters & no sons! I'm not so sure about the shoes, however. I wear more expensive stability shoes because I'm prone to discomfort/injury. Indeed, the reason why I am so prone is because I used to run in the 70s & 80s with cheap so-called running shoes. Since I've been using shoes like Asics Gel Kayano 18 my discomfort/injury has been significantly less. Is it possible that - generalising from my experience - the reason why people wearing more expensive shoes get injured more often is because they are more prone to injury & are therefore buying more expensive shoes to deal with it? As for beetroot - I'd certainly run faster to get away from it!'

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  • t_d 'The shoe study would need to be better explained. Are people that buy cheap shoes less likely to be injured because they are less likely to run very often/far. You could hardly suggest that having less padding and support is a good thing.'

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  • renton 'Ye I'm a bit sceptical too about buying cheap shoes to avoid injuries... maybe as t_d said more determined runners by more "pro" equipment, and of course training more and harder is equal to having more chances of getting injured... From my personal experience my long-term knee injury is far better since I've bought a more expensive shoes, of course being helped by an expert.'

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  • Cadigan 'Agreed. Cheap shoes are a false economy. Unless you get a usually expensive pair on sale, you're not doing your feet––or yourself––any favours by scrimping on footwear.'

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