Weird Talents Runners Have

Whether you run 5-minute miles or 12-minute miles you’ve got some talent for running. However, there are certain things runners become talented at BECAUSE they run. Okay, talented might be pushing it, but we at least get better at these things.

  1. Mental Math

Unless you’re the type of runner that doesn’t carry a watch with you or care about race times, chances are that you have to do some mental math from time to time. I know I’ve gotten pretty decent at calculating splits and estimating how far I’ve run. When I forget my GPS watch at home, I’ll try and estimate what pace I’m running at and about how many minutes I need to run in order to run a certain amount of miles. It sounds more complicated than it actually is.


  1. Planning Details

Although I love running races, there are a lot of little details that need to be thought through in order for things to go smoothly. You need to remember your pre-race packet, all the clothes you need, what time the race is at, what time you need to leave by, the right food and snacks to bring, what time you need to eat them by, etc. Add in coordinating with other people and things can get kind of tricky. Although I haven’t mastered this skill yet, I’ve definitely improved. I still remember the time in high school when I forgot my spikes for an indoor track meet… definitely not my finest moment. There was also that time where my friend and I almost wore the wrong bibs. We were running in a two-person relay at VCM and almost missed the detail that one bib had “LAST LEG” written on the side of it. Luckily, we spotted that standing in line for the porta-potty 20 minutes before the race started! Unless you like running on stress and adrenaline, you’ve got to master thinking ahead for race day to turn out right.

  1. Estimating Distance

Although we still tend to overestimate, we’re definitely better than the average person at estimating how far away something is. We also know strange distances like, “from that mailbox to the top of the hill is .36 miles” because we run intervals on it.

FUN FACT: I think in miles and meters – neither solely metric nor standard. I have no idea how far 50 feet is, but 50 meters I can visualize pretty clearly. I’ll blame this on running track.


Why I can never fully enjoy downhills.

  1. Knowing the Weather Forecast

We probably are more aware of the weather forecast than the average person. Let’s face it; it’s no fun getting stuck 4 miles from home in a thunderstorm. The only way to avoid these types of things from happening is to look ahead at the weather forecast. Don’t even get me started on the week before a race. We only check the weather forecast like 20 times before race day. The fact that the weather keeps changing kind of drives us crazy. By the time race day rolls around we know the forecast hour by hour.


  1. Distracting Ourselves

Runners are pretty mentally strong people. It takes a special type of person to enjoy distance running. You can get bored being out there, so you have to be good at distracting yourself. People will often ask me what I think about when I run. To be honest, I think about the strangest things! From “will light up shoes make me run faster?” to “Hello Mr. Six pack. Thank you for running shirtless so I can admire your abs” to “Oh, crap. I need to go to the bathroom. Where’s the nearest patch of woods I can dash into?” I’ve learned that my mind is pretty weird when it’s unfiltered. Who needs music when I’ve got my brain to deal with?! It can keep me occupied for hours.


Do you have any of these talents? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below!


24 thoughts on “Weird Talents Runners Have

  1. We are multitaskers! We are running, listening to music, thinking about various things, people watching, watching our breathing, smiling, and all while watching our step to make sure we don’t trip on various things like the moving sidewalk.

    • That’s another good one! Thanks! sometimes I wish I was a better multitasker, though. A couple weeks ago I almost ran into a sign running because I was distracted talking to someone. Luckily, I saw it before it hit me in the head!

  2. Awesome. I don’t run with music either. Sometimes I come back from a long run and my mind feels totally clear. Other times, I’ve confused myself even more! And math – yes, but only in terms of percentage completed. Haha!

    • Thanks so much, Bryan! I would have to agree with that. Sometimes running helps things to make more sense, but sometimes the opposite happens. When I’m trying to do mental math that I would normally need a calculator for my brain will sometimes just shut off on me, haha. Thanks for reblogging this! 🙂

  3. I was once asked by one of my non-running friend about what I think during my long runs. My response is as similar as your response for Number 5! Especially the running without music part, which is 100% true! I was surprised to the amount of things that my brain started spewing at me, to the point where I crack a really stupid joke and start laughing at myself… Yep, I’m odd 🙂

  4. During my first half marathon, I had this uncanny talent to say I needed something and have it appear. First I wished I had a tissue and lo and behold, at the next water stop, a very nice spectator was standing there with boxes of tissues. Then I was hungry. Next water stop: OREOS. Unfortunately, it didn’t last beyond that day. Seriously, I wish this happened all the time during my runs!

    • That’s awesome! I wish I could have that talent ALL the time. Whenever I seem to need the bathroom I somehow always find myself the farthest away from one, haha.

  5. Keeping ourselves distracted… (Actually, I lost the honor of speaking in the first person in this case a long time ago, but I remember my running days quite fondly!) I remember the first time I left the house to run without my music. I thought, “OMG, what am I going to do??!!!!!” That’s when I discovered quantum physics. There is not one, not two, but bazillion parallel realities in my head!!! While it can sometimes be exhausting being in my head, it’s never boring!!!

    • hahaha, love that! I agree, we have a bazillion parallel realities in our head! It’s crazy! With walking you still have to distract yourself sometimes, so I’m sure it still comes in handy. 😉

    • I wish I had that talent! The times I’ve tried normally end with it getting all over me – bleh! I probably should’ve included spitting, though. I’ve gotten pretty good at that!

    • Of course you’re still a real runner! 🙂 Don’t worry, math was definitely my least favorite subject in high school, probably one of my worst as well, haha.

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