Whether you’re running your first 5K or going the full distance with a marathon, running data can be invaluable. Thankfully the advent of fitness trackers and smartwatches has made tracking your runs easier than ever. Today’s wearables keep tabs on everything from calorie burn to VO2 max.
Essential reading: Gone for a run – ten great watches with GPS for running and training
One of the pioneers in this space is Polar. After developing the first wireless heart rate monitor, the company has continued to grow in the wearables market through innovating on heart rate monitor devices and developing a line of activity trackers. Polar now boasts a large community of users giving it an unprecedented wealth of data it can use for research studies.
From time to time, the company taps into this user base to bring us some interesting insights. Its latest study anonymized a user sample of over 45 million runs across 30 countries and regions to provide a unique look into trends, differences between countries, and more.
So what can we glean from the data?
When it comes to distances, the French have the most stamina. Their average run over the 12 month period under observation measured 9.1km. This was ahead of Poland and Italy which were both just shy of 9km mark. Nearly a half of all runs measured between 5K and 10K. The duration of an average run was 53 minutes.
The French might go the furthest, but when it comes to pace it seems no-one can keep up with the Poles. Their average running pace of 6:22 edged out Spain 6:27, Denmark and France both with 6:35. Most runners are putting in a decent amount of effort, spending 35% of their runs in Zone 4 and most of the remainder in Zones 3 and 5.
Knowing the heart rate zone you train in is important. To burn the largest amount of fat calories, you need to work out in zones 2-3 for the majority of your work outs. To move your Anaerobic Threshold up and improve cardiovascular endurance you need to train in zones 4-5 a couple of times a week.
Not surprisingly, Sunday is the most popular day of the week for training. That is unless you live in Norway and Finland, in which case it is Monday. Perhaps someone from Norway or Finland can leave a comment below on why that is. Most prefer to put in their run around 10am on a weekend, or between 6 and 7pm on a work day.
Check out the infographic in full.
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