5 Things That Make Runners Feel Fast (But Probably Shouldn’t)


We can’t all be pro­fes­sion­al run­ners, but there’s noth­ing stop­ping us from feel­ing as fast as one—even if for a fleet­ing a sec­ond. Even if it means wear­ing your kids’ cos­tume cape “as a joke” to a fun run. (You may grin, but try it. You’ll be sur­prised what a cape can do to your pace. Some­times you just have to take what you can get in life.) From con­ver­sa­tions with run­ning friends, I know I’m not alone in the sil­ly things that some­times make me feel faster than I real­ly am—do you rec­og­nize any of these?

The Span­dex
Why does this sil­ly mate­r­i­al make us feel so fast? It is a mys­tery of ath­letes every­where. What is it about skin-tight out­er­wear that makes us feel like a gazelle at top speed? It seems to be that the more span­dex you wear—considering you are con­fi­dent while wear­ing it—the faster you feel. Do any com­pa­nies plan on mak­ing Span­dex shoes any time soon?

New Shoes
Run­ning shoes only stay new-look­ing for a week at best—or about 5 min­utes if you’re a trail runner—so it is an expe­ri­ence most run­ners get only a few times a year. Some­thing about squeaky-clean shoes offers a fresh start, a chance to stick with your train­ing sched­ule, push your long run to new dis­tances, try a new route, or attack a hill you’ve been avoid­ing for months. New shoes can restore our inspi­ra­tion and moti­va­tion, which dri­ves us to push hard­er and longer.

Pass­ing Some­one
Any­one. It doesn’t mat­ter if it’s anoth­er run­ner, the geri­atric morn­ing walk­ing crew, or a 10-year-old head­ed to school. The act of run­ning past some­one trig­gers a sense of pride and feel­ing of, “Wow, I am faster than some­one!”

Out­rac­ing Your Dog
Nev­er mind that Rover is 14 years old, con­sid­er­ably arthrit­ic, and has been school­ing you on runs for 13 ½ of his years. One day, he’ll slow down in the final half mile, and you will be a few paw lengths ahead. For any­one who runs with dogs, this is a very odd expe­ri­ence, but will no doubt make you ques­tion your pace, won­der­ing if you’re sud­den­ly so super fast your dog can’t keep up. Enjoy it, because even old Rover will find gas in the tank and take back the lead if an inter­est­ing-enough squir­rel cross­es his view.

Run­ning in the Rain
Per­se­ver­ing through less than Rainyide­al weath­er or envi­ron­ments con­jures our inner war­rior. If you throw in some wind, you’ll not only feel fast, you’ll feel tough as nails. Don’t be sur­prised if Eye of the Tiger or Char­i­ots of Fire starts blast­ing in your head.

You have to be a lit­tle dif­fer­ent to be a run­ner in the first place, so it’s not too much of a stretch to believe that some­thing so sil­ly could change your whole per­cep­tion of your­self for a few brief moments. Enjoy it. Few run­ners tru­ly do move at a speed the whole world would agree is ‘fast’—the rest of us get to expe­ri­ence it only in our own heads for occa­sion­al and short peri­ods of time.

By Audra Run­dle