The Personality Traits of Long Distance Runners

Many experienced long distance runners will all tell you that completing a marathon or another long race is just as much about your personality and psychology than being physically fit. Running attracts diverse types of athletes as there is more or less something for everybody.

Perhaps some runners do it purely to keep fit and do not really like doing it, if so, they tend to develop a style to match their personality. Some sports scientists and psychologists actually believe certain personality traits are best suited for different running distances and even how you work-out and train. In this blog we look at which types of running are best suited to the individual.

Common Traits of Runners

Although it is impossible to pigeon hole all the traits of runners, two of the biggest are neuroticism and conscientiousness. The neuroticism is a drive that lies within and helps focus on the task at hand. Being conscientious obviously speaks for itself, being dedicated and committed.

These traits can be developed if you do not have them, and most runners understand that it is not only physical fitness that matters in running, time taken to develop your mind is just as important. Being a thoughtful person is an advantage in running, you can picture goals and milestones in your own mind.

So why do some people wish to run sprints than long marathons? Some people are more sociable than others and enjoy training with a group of pals, however some runners are more solitary and like longer ultra-marathons. An athlete who can maintain his attention for a long period of time is more likely to be better at marathons as he can maintain monotonous activity better.

Being an introvert is not necessarily the best for long distance running, in fact if this your trait you may find that shorter distances are more suited to you. Although experts do say that extroverts enjoy the company of others, introverts can also be great sprinters as they have the ability to isolate themselves from the runners in the other lanes.

Strong Coping Skills

If you have strong coping qualities and can live with discomfort for a while, then these skills are excellent for long distance running. They are also ideal for speed workouts and help you develop at a faster rate as you can work through a level of discomfort. People who actually enjoy instant gratification and immediate feedback on their training also will benefit from speed workouts, but are more likely to prefer shorter distance running when competing.

In summary, if you are looking to improve and spice up your running then take your personality into consideration. And although some sports psychologists have stated that they have discovered personality traits directly related to types of running it must be remembered that runners a very much a diverse group, so individuals will always buck the trend. In other words, no personality trait is a guarantee that you will be a successful long distance runner.