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The runner's quotient exam—Are you a runner?

This is an excerpt from I Run, Therefore I Am STILL Nuts! by Bob Schwartz.

What Color Is Your Singlet?

Do you know your lactate from your pronate? Your swing gait from your heart rate?

Cool down by taking the runner's quotient exam.

I have never been a fan of those lists that begin with “You know you're a [fill in the blank] if you . . .” The lists were getting a bit too specific with titles such as “You know you're a conservative-leaning Northeasterner who loves food reality shows, indie folk music, baba ghanoush, and Scrabble if you . . .”

Plenty of lists address “You know you're a runner if you . . .” I try to cast a larger net and include everyone from the competitive female 50K runner to the 5K guy in cotton socks and a cutoff sweatshirt within my definition of runner. I figure if you golf, you're a golfer, if you shoot skeet, you're a skeet shooter, and if you run, you're a runner. But if you're a golfing, skeet-shooting runner, well then I'm not sure what you are.

Runners come in various types, and that's no truer than nowadays. I admit to being one of those old-school runners who didn't initially welcome the more recent running boom. The first running boom in the 1970s (which I admit to being a part of) brought runners forth from the darkness and included large doses of obsessive and eccentric behavior along with a competitively hard-core approach to running. Fitness was a byproduct and not a focus. We were viewed as being on the fringe, if not a tad unhinged.

R.Q. Test


One point for A

Two points for B

Three points for C

Four points for D (and no need to Google until the quiz has been completed)

No points if none of the answers applies to you.

Extra-point questions are worth a single point.

Choose the answer that best applies to you:

  1. When you meet someone for the first time who appears to be a runner, you:
    1. Don't ever think about who might be a runner because you're a runner who doesn't appear to be a runner
    2. Look to see whether he or she is wearing running shoes
    3. And then look to see whether the person is wearing a running watch
    4. And then hope he or she first asks you whether you're a runner
  2. You've been to a track:
    1. Because you were there to watch a high school football game or the band
    2. To run laps so you know how far you went
    3. To do a workout, but your speed work is predominately done on the roads and trails
    4. Weekly during racing season, and you often do at least 10 Yasso 800s1
  3. When a running injury may have emerged during a run, you:
    1. Schedule a doctor's appointment within one hour after the run
    2. Decide to take a week off and see how it responds to rest
    3. Elect to rest from running but first determine which cross-training option will not aggravate the pain
    4. Ignore the pain and load up on ibuprofen and run, limp, or crawl through the injury for at least three months before ultimately seeing a doctor
    5. Extra point: Continue “running” to near the date of the doctor's appointment and cancel at least once before finally going.
  4. When a running magazine arrives with its seasonal review of new shoes, you:
    1. Put it aside to peruse at your leisure
    2. Thumb through it to see the latest shoe colors and designs
    3. Experience a faster heart rate and sweating palms, and you immediately read it in its entirety
    4. Don't bother reading it because you've already researched upcoming shoes in depth online, printed out the information, and have calendared the release dates of two or more models
    5. Zero points: You don't subscribe to a running magazine
  5. In your house you have:
    1. A framed picture of yourself during or after a race
    2. At least one training book
    3. And at least one unopened box of your favorite running shoes
    4. And at least one running-related poster on the wall and a location for old race numbers with your race time written on the back of each number
  6. When traveling by airplane, you:
    1. Take no extra precautions with your running shoes and clothing
    2. Make sure you don't pack your running shoes within checked luggage
    3. And you also don't pack your running clothing within checked luggage
    4. And you also take on board at least two running magazines or a running book to read on the plane and a tennis ball or pillow to sit on should your piriformis act up
More Excerpts From I Run