The Best Running Style for Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type, According to Research

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If you’re an avid runner, you probably have a good idea of how your training shapes your strides. However, fascinating new research shows that your own traits may also shed light on how you run—and all you need is a simple personality test to find out how.

In an April 2024 PLoS One study, researchers found that your Myers-Briggs personality type can determine if you run in an earthbound style or in a more springy, dynamic fashion (both of which can affect your performance).

Here’s what to know about the Myers-Briggs personality test, what the study authors discovered, and how to apply the findings to your own training.

Experts In This Article

What is the Myers-Briggs personality test?

Formally known as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment, this tool is meant to help you understand your personality and apply those insights to boost their personal and professional effectiveness, per The Myers-Briggs Company.

The test identifies you as one of 16 MBTI personality types, based on the following four categories.


These are opposite ways of directing and receiving energy.

People with extraversion get their energy from the outer world of people and experiences—and focus their energy and attention outward, as well through actions.

If you have introversion, you fuel up on energy from your inner world of thoughts (and tend to focus your attention in that same inward direction).


This category refers to different ways of taking in information.

If you’re on the sensing side, you focus on what's “real” by taking in information from your five senses.

Those on the intuition side, on the other hand, prefer information by association and focus on the possibilities of what could be.


These are opposite ways of making decisions and coming to conclusions.

If you’re in the thinking category, you’re all about objective logic, and you try to analyze situations without getting emotionally involved with them.

If you’re in the feeling category, you prefer to make decisions based on values and weigh the human motives behind certain situations.


This category covers the different ways people approach the outside world.

If you’re on the judging side, you like to keep things planned and organized. You enjoy making a decision and having the closure that comes with that.

On the other hand, if you’re on the perceiving side, you prefer to keep your options open—opting for a spontaneous, adaptable lifestyle.

“The results of this study are really interesting, and in my experience as a running coach, there are certainly ways in which a runner's personality influences how they run, train, and respond to coaching.” —Alexa Duckworth-Briggs, running coach

What’s the research behind Myers-Briggs personalities and running?

In the PLoS One study, researchers wanted to understand how your Myers-Briggs personality type affects your running style. They analyzed 80 runners who completed randomized 50-meter running trials at various speeds and assessed their personality traits using the MBTI test.

The results showed that the sensing-intuition category, in particular, was associated with running style. The researchers found that runners who fall into the “intuition” category tend to treat their legs like elastic springs, using a dynamic running form with a stretch-shortening style.

Meanwhile, those who were on the “sensing” side erred toward running in a more earthbound fashion. These runners launched themselves forward with each stride, rather than upward.

“This exploratory study offers compelling evidence that personality traits, specifically sensing and intuition, are associated with distinct running biomechanics,” note the authors in the study. “Sensing runners, who pay attention to physical realities and prefer practical and specific facts, tend to adopt a more grounded running form.”

However, there are a few limitations of this research: For one, it’s a relatively small study, only looking at 80 runners. Plus, although the researchers recruited runners with varying training backgrounds, nearly 70 of them were male and all of them identified as Caucasian (so the study lacked gender and racial diversity).

The question of which running style is “better” also depends on the context.

“A running style that involves more dynamic, elastic movements is generally associated with better performance in sprinting and activities requiring explosive power,” says Alexa Duckworth-Briggs, a U.K. Athletics-certified running coach for We Run, based in Reading, England. “In contrast, a more earthbound running style might be more efficient over longer distances, where conserving energy is crucial.”

“I see a lot of value in a study like this. If nothing else, it will hopefully get coaches looking at athletes in a more holistic manner. One cue certainly does not work for all athletes.” —Kristen Hislop, CPT

What do the study results mean for runners?

Although these study results aren’t definitive when it comes to how your personality might affect your running, coaches agree that personality traits can affect your overall training.

“The results of this study are really interesting, and in my experience as a running coach, there are certainly ways in which a runner's personality influences how they run, train, and respond to coaching,” Duckworth-Briggs says. “The attempt to formalize our understanding of these links is fascinating—and could open up possibilities to further tailor a runner's coaching to suit them better.”

For instance, based on the results of this study, intuitive runners might find it helpful to include running drills or jumping exercises in their training to develop their natural propensity for dynamic running.

Intuitive runners might also benefit from understanding how they move up and down when running (called vertical oscillation) and tuning into their running rhythm to hone in on how much time their feet spend on the ground, adds running coach Kristen Hislop, CPT, a USAT Level 1 certified triathlon coach and AFAA certified personal trainer.

Meanwhile, a sensing runner might do better by thinking about the feel of the ground beneath their feet.

“I often say to think of the ground as a treadmill with no motor,” Hislop says. “You land on it and want to get the tread moving.”

Because the study assessed running style over 50-meter repeats (which isn’t a very common distance outside of sprint training), more research is needed to understand people's personality and running style over longer distances, especially when they’re fatigued.

However, the results may encourage runners to consider their own personality type and how it affects their running, even outside of the sensing-intuition category.

“Extroverted runners, for example, might find they excel in group settings and competitive environments,” Duckworth-Briggs says. “Or a preference for thinking or feeling might influence how a runner responds to feedback from a coach or competitive stress. These insights can prove very useful in tailoring a runner's approach to their training.”

Understanding an athlete’s personality profile may also help coaches better tailor their instruction for runners.

“I see a lot of value in a study like this,” Hislop says. “If nothing else, it will hopefully get coaches looking at athletes in a more holistic manner. One cue certainly does not work for all athletes.”

If you’re a runner, you may find it helpful to take the Myers-Briggs personality test to learn more about how your personality could be affecting your training, the pressure of races and competition, goal setting, and beyond.

By better understanding your personality, you may find you better understand your sport.

Well+Good articles reference scientific, reliable, recent, robust studies to back up the information we share. You can trust us along your wellness journey.
  1. Gindre C, Patoz A, Breine B, Lussiana T. Mind to move: Differences in running biomechanics between sensing and intuition shod runners. PLoS One. 2024 Apr 3;19(4):e0300108. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0300108. PMID: 38568899; PMCID: PMC10990178.

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