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Answering the internet’s most asked running questions

"Google, why do runners..?"

Ever wonder what people want to know about runners? Google autocomplete is a great way to find out. And truthfully, the questions asked to Google about running are significantly more valid than lots of the questions asked about celebrities or food. Below are the Internet’s most-asked running questions, answered.

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Why do runners wear arm sleeves?

Runners wear arm sleeves because they’re cold. Arm sleeves are their choice layer for one of two reasons: they’re racing and need to wear their competition kit (so they can’t wear a long sleeve shirt) or they’re anticipating getting warm and wanting to take off a layer during their run. Arm sleeves are the easiest layer to drop as someone gets warm throughout a long run or workout.


And then there’s Mo Farah, who basically wears them all the time, but you can do that when you’re that good.

Why do runners wear compression socks?

The socks (and other compression gear) are marketed as helping to increase blood flow to muscles, in turn improving recovery and performance. Some runners swear by compression gear, other runners opt out.

Why do runners look old?

This is a funny one. Running keeps many people fit and healthy, but our best guess as to why runners “look old” is time spent in the sun. If you’re a runner, chances are you’re outside a fair bit, so remember that running hats are great and so is sunscreen. Use this Google search as a cautionary tale.

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Why do runners drink pickle juice?

Pickle juice was once very popular as a hydration product. Salt is a key ingredient in a runner’s diet, especially through the summer months when sweating is at a high. Putting pickle juice in your water bottle has been said to keep cramping and dehydration at bay.

Why do runners wear high socks?

Some runners think it looks cool, and for others they’re worn for more practical reasons like warmth and compression. Please see answer number two for further clarification.

Why do runners have heart attacks?

This is a much more serious question and one many people, runners or not, have asked. The New York Times ran a piece in January on the topic. They said, “Marathon running can increase your risk of cardiac arrest in the short term, but it also lowers the overall likelihood that you will experience cardiac arrest or other heart problems, according to science, statistics and sports cardiologists.”

Why do runners wear gloves?

The same reason everyone else wears gloves–to keep their hands warm.

Classic short shorts

Why do runners wear short shorts?

Read: split shorts.

Clothing can inhibit range of motion and become distracting, so the less of it you wear, the less likely it is to get in your way. Also, runners like to show off the legs they’ve worked so hard for.

Why do runners carb load?

Carbohydrates provide the quickest and most accessible form of fuel for your body, so before a big workout or race, you’ll often hear runners talk about carb-loading. Runners will eat higher than normal amounts of carbs to ensure that they’re properly nourished for their race, especially in a marathon scenario.

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Why do runners lose toenails?

Great question. Losing toenails is usually a product of a shoe not fitting properly. If you find yourself consistently ending a season with toe issues, getting fitted for a shoe could be a good idea.