5 surprising running statistics

Running facts and figures

Running often revolves around numbers; from calculating your target time and selecting your race distance to trying to improve on your PB. However, we have found some figures you may not know. Here are 5 surprising running statistics.

5 surprising running statistics

Nearly 70 per cent of runners will become injured

While it may come as no consolation if you are nursing a painful injury, research suggests that you are not in the minority. Injury is an extremely common side-effect of running and, according to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, an estimated 70 per cent of runners will become injured in some way.

According to a poll by runnersworld.com, around 40 per cent of running injuries are knee injuries, but other common running injuries include Achilles tendinitis, shin splints and heel pain. While injury is common with running, runners can minimise their risk of injury by wearing the right running shoes; warming up and cooling down correctly; and cross-training, which will allow you to have rest days from running as well as improving muscle strength and balance. It is also important to increase your runs gradually. Following a good training plan can help with this.

Running less than 20 miles a week lowers runners’ mortality rate by 20 per cent

You probably know that running is good for your health, but did you know that research has shown that running a maximum of 20 miles per week can help you live longer?  Researchers at the University of South Carolina and the Ochsner Health System in New Orleans studied nearly 53,000 individuals, all of whom were free of heart disease, cancer and diabetes at the start of the study, and found that runners had around a 20 per cent lower mortality rate than non-runners during the course of the study.

However, the study also suggested there is a tipping point when it comes to the life-lengthening benefits of running, as the research showed that the risk of premature death was lowered for those runners who did not exceed more than 20 miles or run more than five times per week, more so than for those who ran more frequently and for longer distances.

1 in 3 female marathon runners will experience breast pain

Ladies, while you may be clued up on knee, leg and foot injuries, research suggests it may be your breasts that could cause you trouble during your race. According to research results published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, about one in three female marathon runners will experience breast pain.

The researchers questioned almost 1,300 women about their exercise habits as they registered for the London Marathon, and found that nearly one third of them experienced breast pain and that, for nearly one sixth of them, the pain affected their exercise. The researchers found that women with larger breasts were more likely to experience pain and that sports bras (which were worn by nine out of 10 of the women) did not always help. While the researchers have suggested that the design of sports bras may need improving, in the meantime ladies should make sure they choose a bra with the most support possible and get measured regularly, as it is thought that more than 70 per cent of women wear the wrong bra size.

The world record for the number of consecutive marathons is 607

Running a marathon is an amazing accomplishment and once in a lifetime event for most runners. However, for Ricardo Abad, one marathon was not quite enough. Between October 2010 and May 2012 Ricardo set an impressive running world record by running 607 consecutive marathons.

While this may seem enough of an achievement in itself, Ricardo managed to achieve this remarkable feat whilst also juggling his full time factory job, which required him to work a total of eight hours every day. Despite his hectic schedule, the dedicated marathoner was still able to achieve an impressive PB of 2:46. Ricardo, we salute you!

20 per cent of people don’t have the ‘marathon gene’

Many people believe that the beauty of a marathon is that anyone can run one with sufficient training. However, while it may be true that most people can run a marathon, research suggests that 20 per cent of people are unable to run a marathon in a good time, even with plenty of training under their belt.

The study by scientists at Loughborough University found that running a marathon in a good time requires a specific combination of genes, which nearly 20 per cent of the population doesn’t have. According to the researchers, those without this combination of genes will never improve their performance no matter how much they train, and they can even get worse the more they push themselves. This is because their muscles don’t extract as much oxygen as runners with this special mix of genes, and intensive training can further reduce their body’s ability to carry oxygen to their muscles. Therefore, researchers believe that these runners would be better building up their strength and muscle tissue in the gym.

Want to know more? Here are 5 shocking running facts.

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