Football coaches don't let their players have sex the night before a big game. Micky famously tells Rocky "women weaken legs". But what about the night before a marathon or another big race?
With the New York City Marathon fast approaching, runners are easing up on their mileage, decreasing their post-workout taco, pizza, and ice cream consumption (confession, I single-handedly devoured a pint of gelato last night), and amping up their foam rolling game. Our running coaches tell us not to change anything or do anything "different" from what we normally do. But with all the myths and stigmas associated with sex before athletic endeavors, this made us wonder what other runners think about sex before marathons. We surveyed over 350 runners and got some hilarious responses. Hopefully they will inspire a marathon cheering poster or two...
To be completely clear these are runners’ opinions and this “study” has no basis in science whatsoever. At all. This is the running equivalent of diagnosing yourself with a disease from reading Yahoo Answers comments. Ok it’s business time...and by that I mean a business-y looking pie chart of our results.
As you can see, at 62.1%, the majority of runners we surveyed are all for having sex the night before a marathon or big race, while 29% of runners said no way would they have sex the night before the race. The neutral 8.9% of runners reported they either had no such experiences to compare (many people volunteered to be part of a study should that ever materialize and I now have a lot of friend requests), or that it just depends on the circumstances. Below are some of the arguments people made and our favorite hilarious comments.
The majority of the runners we surveyed were pro-sex the night before a big race. Some said it was an important part of their pre-race ritual, others said whenever you can get consensual sex is the right time, and hey, you have a rocking body from all those miles you put in, so why not? Runners reported sex before a race:
- Reduces stress and releases pleasure hormones
- Helps them sleep
- Increases circulation
- Is part of their pre-race or warm-up ritual
- Puts them in a PR-mindset
Many other runners we surveyed were against having sex the night before a race as it takes too much energy, can lead to sleep loss, and messed with their race mentality. Runners against having sex the night before a race or marathon argued:
- “...sex is a massive adrenaline process which requires a lot of energy and it would for sure affect your performance”
- Depletes your energy stores
- Is bad in men, good in women in that it increases testosterone in women, decreases it in dudes (mainly men used this as a reason why they didn't want it the night before a race)
- Too fatigued the next day
- Football coaches don’t allow players to have sex before a game, so why should they risk messing up a race
- Sleep loss
Some runners were neutral on the topic as they had never had sex the night before a race or contributed other funny commentary (as you will see below). The good news is we now have a sizable pool of volunteers should we ever decide to conduct an actual study on having sex the night before a race.
Don't do anything new the night before a big race, and get plenty of sleep. If you have time for sex and it's going to set you up for a PR, then #justdoit! If not, then don't risk injury or stress it could cause. You do you runners.
Below are some of our favorite comments from our Facebook group posts.
"definitely a good idea:
"it helps open up the hip flexors"
Several women attributed their PRs to having had sex the night before a race, and several men quoted Hal Higdon's opinion on the matter:
"is that on the race amenities section?"
"As long as it's a short, Z2 workout"
Some people clearly have rituals and rules surrounding the combo:
But remember, it only counts if you add it to Strava or a fitness tracker:
These were also tallied in the “pro” category but interpret them as you will:
What's your opinion? Would you have sex the night before a marathon? Have you PR'd in a race when you had sex the night before? Comment below with your thought! (Yes, we want to know what you think!)