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Running Quiz: How Much Do You Know?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
For the past 3 1/2 years I have spent countless hours reading all I can on the subject of running. In fact I have well over 70 running books in my home library. What I have found is there are lots of myths and misconceptions related to running, so I decided to put together a quiz to test your knowledge. I hope you will take time to take the quiz to see how much you know or don't know in order for you to become a more educated runner. Have fun!


  1. Tall runners make better runners.
  2. In order to become a runner or a better runner, one should run every day.
  3. The muscles, bones, and connective tissues take longer to develop than the cardio-respiratory and energy systems in a runner.
  4. Low carb diets are the perfect runner's diet.
  5. You don't need special shoes to run, especially if you are just starting out.
  6. Shoes can be blamed for every runner's injury.
  7. The perfect running temperature is 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. You must run the whole distance in order to call yourself a runner.
  9. Running burns lots of calories which means you will lose lots of weight.
  10. Running increases your risk for developing osteoarthritis of the knee.


  1. FALSE-Height has nothing to do with how well or fast you run. The world's fastest male marathon runner Haile Gebrselassie is only 5'3". What determines your speed is the composition of your muscle fibers (fast twitch to slow twitch), leg turnover, VO2max, and development of the energy and musculo-skeletal systems. While we cannot change genetics, training will allow for better leg turnover, greater VO2max and better development of the energy and musculo-skeletal systems which over time will bring you greater speed.
  2. FALSE-Running every day does not allow for proper muscle recovery, consequently your risk for injury increases with each day you run back to back. Know that it is during the rest and recovery phase that your body makes the adaptation to running. This does not mean you can't do other cardio cross training activities on your non-running day, just don't run. Over time you will be able to run more frequently, but do not rush the process, your goal is to be a "Life-long runner, not just a once-in-a -lifetime runner."
  3. TRUE-When one decides to take up running, the body's cardio-respiratory and energy systems are quick to change, but unfortunately our musculo-skeletal system-the bones, muscles and connective tissue-needs time to develop and for many this process may take as long as a year. This is another reason why you should not run every day. And you should not increase your mileage by more than 10% of your previous week's total mileage to your long, slow distance run.
  4. FALSE-Carbohydrates are a runner's friend. These nutrients supply the muscles with the much needed glycogen in order to help the mitochondria (the power house and energy makers of the cells) make ATP needed to fuel your run. Following a low carb diet will not provide the energy your body needs to run. A runner's diet should consist of at least 50% carbohydrates.
  5. FALSE-Shoes are one of the most, if not the most, important pieces of equipment a runner needs. This is why being fitted at your local running specialty store is essential. The store personnel are trained to fit runners and walkers with shoes designed for your particular pronation.
  6. FALSE-While wearing the wrong shoe can cause injury, so can other issues such as poor core stability and muscle weakness. After developing an IT band issue (a thick fibrous tissue that runs along the outside of the thigh from the hip to the knee) I started working with a corrective personal trainer and lo and behold my IT band issue seems to have been caused from poor lat and back muscle development. This is why Pilates and yoga make great cross training activities for runners. Injury can also be caused from what the experts call the 'terrible too's'--too much, too soon, too far, too fast, etc.
  7. TRUE-While many runners prefer warmer/cooler temps, 55 degrees is considered to be the ideal running temperature. For every 20 degrees above/below 55 degrees a runner will see a 7% degradation in their running ability. In other words, weather conditions (temps, wind, humidity) will affect your speed/pace which is why you should not compare your race times. As my former running coach once told me, "You are only as good as you are on that particular day, on that particular course, under those particular circumstances." Coach Lee
  8. FALSE-Nothing says you can't throw in some walk breaks during your race. In fact I did so in my marathon and still do so on my long, slow distance training runs. The trick is, take the walk breaks from the get-go and do not wait until you are too fatigued as you may find it difficult to get started running again.
  9. FALSE-While running is a great calorie burner, tracking your nutrition is still very important. The reason, many times our appetite will increase tremendously once we start running, therefore we find ourselves hungry. Keep in mind though, hunger is your body's cue it needs fuel, so do not ignore the signals--if you are hungry, you need to eat.
  10. FALSE- Studies have actually shown runners are at no greater risk of developing OA of the knee. So if you have always desired to run but were afraid to because of knee injuries, do not let this be a deterrent.

Now that you have completed the quiz, how did you do? Were you surprised at some of the answers?

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RACHAEL2020 8/18/2020
Enjoyed the quiz. Report
VHAYES04 7/15/2020
Ty Report
Thanks Report
thank you Report
thanks Report
This is why I always tell my Teams to self educate on the wonderful articles in SparkPeople! When I first started running in 2011, I was clueless and failed when I took this test. Because of SparkTrivia (which I've done every day for the last 7 years) and reading articles like these, I've become less injury prone on my run. Thanks, Coach! ;-) Report
Love this information. As a beginning runner, I have a goal to run my first 5K in July. Report
lol...I got them all right but don't run!!! Maybe I should work toward that goal! Report
I got them all right, but I don't necessarily agree with the all.

For example...55 degrees is not Sharon's perfect running temperature, no matter what any book says. :-)

and being fitter for running shoes. My first pair of shoes were just regular running shoes that I picked out. I wasn't going to spent loads of money for something I wasn't sure I would like and keep on doing. I can totally understand anyone who do that. Report
Missed one - 55 degrees. Report
9 out of 10..... I guess I knew more about running than I thought. Thank you for all the helpfull information. Report
I got 100% - woohoo! I suppose I know more about running than I give myself credit. :) Report
Every time I read one of the articles about running I get so jealous. I wish I could or would run. I do walk by myself, but think I would need a fellow beginner runner to take that up . I am 65 yrs old and know I would have to start very slowly, but it just looks so darn neat and does so much for a person's health. One of these days I am going to do it. Report
It was great learning things I didn't know. I really have never been a runner. In high school and junior high I was one of the ones who walked the track due to health problems, but it is good information to know. Thanks! Report
Great info for a beginner runner like me. Report
I am not a runner. but surprise to me I got all 10 right, I was shocked by that. someday I hope to have lost enough weight to go running. I will keep these answers in mind, when I do. Report
I'm not a runner and never will be (Dr's orders) but got 9 of 10 correct. I only missed the one about running in 55 degree weather. That was news to me but I like the idea of not comparing one days run (in my case walk) with another because of all the variables. Report
As always, you've provided solid, useful information.

Thanks for all you do! Report
I do buy into the reasoning & arguments that, for many runners, the overly structured running shoe leads to poorer running form; weaker muscles, tendons, ligaments in the feet and lower legs; and eventually to increased running injuries. Report

In response to the shoe debate, there is no evidence to support one way or the other as to which shoe is best, which is why being fitted is essential. Would I try the Vibrams or barefoot running...No. There isn't enough evidence to support that these make anyone a more efficient runner. However, I currently have no issues with my running shoes that I wear so if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it.

We, as runners, are truly an experiment of one, meaning what works for me, may or may not work for you.

The big push to barefoot running and using the Vibrams could be a genesis to a whole new way of running, but history will tell. But as with everything else, this way of running is not necessarily for everyone. I personally run in a minimal shoe (Newtons) and have found great success with them, but that does not mean others will.

As far as the shoe companies are concerned, they actually do quite well in a down economy as people leave the high cost gym memberships and opt to buy shoes that are the fraction of the cost but allow for great health.

I knew most of that stuff already. Nice to be reminded Report
GREAT blog Nancy!!! This is stuff that people need to know! *WOOT* Report
loved this! Report
loved this! Report
I don't think that your comments on shoes are necessarily accurate, considering the information that's floating around these days in running circles about how well some people with recurrent injuries are doing after switching to minimal or no shoes.

In light of the trends and what's been coming out (including an article that's also on DailySpark now about the Vibram line), and also the fact that there are people who've completed -- and won -- marathons with no shoes at all, it seems irresponsible to me to make a blanket claim that fitted shoes is an absolute requirement of the sport.

It doesn't seem that there's adequate evidence on either side of the debate over running shoes to make a blanket claim about what works best. We can certainly draw conclusions that SOME kinds of shoes are totally inappropriate for running (stiletto heels would be more than a little bit of a bad idea, and a number of other sport-specific shoes have qualities that would probably make them problematic), but if well-designed studies exist on which we can draw clear conclusions about which shoes really work and what % decrease they offer to rate of injury etc, I've yet to see anyone cite it (and I'd have thought it would have been brought up in one of the many articles that are floating around addressing the possibility that modern shoes are doing more harm than good). Considering their economic interests in the matter, I would have thought the big shoe companies would be falling all over themselves to make the newspapers and magazines print the truth that these shoes are helping if very solid evidence existed to back that position.

Edit: Replying to Nancy's comment... what you're saying is basically what I'm saying. The evidence doesn't exist to draw a firm line on either side and say "this is what is best." My objection is to the fact that the blog post draws precisely that line and says that it is "essential" to be fitted in a running store and that you need specialty running shoes. It's simply not clear that that's true.

Until real studies are done, people should listen closely to their bodies, and at least acquaint themselves with the basics of the shoes vs no shoes debate so that they can try to make decisions that minimize their own chance of injury. Report
This was very interesting to learn. Ty Report
Thank you for number 8 especially. I'm just working on my first 5K and it's nice to know that finishing means however you make it over the finish line (side note. . . I am DETERMINED to finish a 5K running the whole thing, then I'm determined I will do a 10K sometime. . . we'll see how I feel after accomplishing those!) Report
100%! Woo hoo! By the way, Nancy, Bob cheated off my paper! Report
Thanks for helpful info. Report
100%!! Woohoo, yay for running!! Thanks for the info! Report
ok, 100% can we make a little harder next time?? great info for runners especially newbies. Report
100%- 2 1/2 years of Spark time = 70 books, I guess. Tee hee.
I'm training to do a 12K in May, so I'm glad I got this all ok. Good feedback loop. I'm a 'fast walker'- but I'm doing good. Age 55, 100 pounds down, 45 to go. Yeah! Sparks! Report
I got most of them right. But I wanted to say. My son, who does ulta marathons(the last being 50 miles), also does yoga. So I have heard from many, serious runners this helps. As for me, I like the two mile walks with my dog. Report
really great information. I was afraid of knee injury actually and literally stopped running... will start back now :) Report
I also got it all 100%!! WOOHOO... I LOVE running!! Report
9 out of 10!

I started reading everything I could about running once I started training for a 1/2 Marathon in August.

I missed #5 perhaps because so many of my veteran marathon running friends are now on the "barefoot" running kick and they are convinced that it's the high tech shoes that are causing so many of our foot problems. Since I'm so new to the long distance running game, I'm letting them lead the way with the "anti-shoe / bare foot craze" and I'll wait to see the outcome. Yes, I'll admit it, I'm no trailblazer :-) Report
100% for me! And I'm so glad that studies have started confirming what I've known for a long time--running doesn't give you arthritis in the knees. In fact, my knees ache MORE when I HAVEN'T run for about three days. Report
100%!!!! 10 out of 10....... WOO HOO!!!! Report
10 out of 10! I have been reading everything I can find on running since I started training to run in June.
I got 9 out of 10 :) Report
Great information to have. I knew the basics but I love knowing more detail. Report
WooHoo! 100% right! Report
I got 9 out of 10!

Woohoo! Report
Whooo Hoooo 100 % Report
10 out of 10. Learned #9 the hard way while training for my first marathon... Report
I got them all right, I have read alot. I was impressed that I did however, know them all. Report
Wow! I know more than I thought I did, I got 100%! Good info. Report
Glad to know my brain has become a runner just as my body has transformed into one. 100% here! Report
I got all of the questions correct, thanks to Spark and all the wonderful articles that there are available on about running. I aspire to run! I got to the walk-run-walk phase this summer. I hope to continue this over the winter on the treadmill, and then back outside in the spring. Slow and steady... Report