Running can be both a great workout and downright therapeutic. So it’s no surprise that when it comes to the sport, people’s preferences vary pretty extensively depending on their objectives.
Exactly how much? To find out, you might want to take a look at Running USA’s 2017 National Runner Survey. The data (collected from more than 6,800 participants) proves that there are some things fans of the exercise agree on (like the best time of day to put in some miles), and others they definitely don’t (like where to do your distance work). You have to be a member of the online directory to see the full survey, but Runner’s World got a peek.
Here are some of the most interesting stats from this year’s polling.
Most runners are early risers
A whopping 77 percent of runners prefer early morning runs over any other time of day. And while 39 percent are happy to hit the roads in the early evening, very few are making it out for lunchtime runs.
Unsurprisingly, most don’t like running in harsh weather
Only 10 percent of runners prefer winter, and 11 percent love the steamy summer months. Most opt for the more moderate months of the year: 46 percent of runners say fall is their fave, and 34 percent dig the spring.
The half-marathon distance is the sweet spot
Half marathons have been steadily growing in popularity over the past decade. (Case in point: more than 27,000 runners completed this year’s Airbnb Brooklyn Half in May, and the race sold out in just 26 minutes.) And if it seems like everyone you know is gearing up for a fall marathon right now (#marathontraining #seenonmyrun), it’s not actually everyone: only 10 percent of runners say they favor that distance. (Meanwhile 43 percent prefer the half, 18 percent love a good 10K, and 14 percent are all-in for 5Ks.)
Not enough people are running with one important thing
While 59 percent of runners carry a smart phone on the run and 51 percent wear a sports watch, only 34 percent carry a personal ID on them. Seven percent of runners also say they carry pepper spray. (And power to the 4 percent who have the good sense to run with a stash of toilet paper. Been there.)
Lots of runners prefer flying solo
Group runs are also increasing in popularity—everyone from Nike and Lululemon to your local boutique fitness studio host them—but 55 percent of runners still say they prefer to go it alone.
There’s no such thing as a bad place to run
Here’s where the numbers are totally split: While 67 percent of runners pound paved paths and 54 percent opt for urban roads, runners are happy to get out anywhere. Forty percent love dirt trails, 47 percent run in a park, 44 percent go for rural roads, 20 percent regularly hit the track, and 16 percent head for the mountains. The least popular places to run: on the treadmill, where just 14 percent of runners get their miles in, and on the beach, preferred by 12 percent.
And there’s no rest for the hungry
On Thanksgiving, that is. Even though holidays make for a good excuse to snooze until brunch, 54 percent of runners saying they kick off Thanksgiving with a run.
Next time you hit the road for an early morning run, keep your eyes peeled for run-loving celebs like Karlie Kloss and Lena Dunham. Now all you need is the perfect playlist.