The heck with gyms. Americans are hitting the roads, trails and tracks during a pandemic and see no need to head to those indoor spaces filled with sweaty people and germs. At least that’s the obvious takeaway from a recent runrepeat survey that found that less than 10 percent of runners feel they need to hit the gym for their exercise needs.

Runrepeat’s Paul Ronto explained in a recent post that a survey of 2712 runners, which asked what they plan to do in 2021 to hit their fitness goals, that runners like the outdoors much, more than gyms. This was part of another study runrepeat just published on

Among the key findings:

  • 84.78 percent of runners said that outdoor activities like running and working out at home would be their primary source of exercise in 2021.
  • Only 5.62 percent of runners said that gym memberships were key to their fitness goals in 2021, down 69.5 percent from 2020. 
  • The number of runners that said hiring a personal trainer or nutritionist as their top fitness priority in 2021 is up 64.58 percent compared to 2020.

In an earlier survey back in April runrepeat found that moderate runners (those running just one-to-three times a week) prior to the lockdown were finding more time to run and as a group were logging 55 percent more runs.  

Now as the pandemic continues to drag on, running has become even more prevalent as a primary source of exercise. 

In 2021, 71.53 percent of runners plan for outdoor activities like running to be their primary source of exercise. This number climbs to 84.78 percent, when you add in runners that said they plan to work out primarily at home in 2021. 

People who plan to run outside or at home in 2021 has increased by 19.1 percent from 2020. 

Runners still have fitness goals in 2021, gyms just seem not to be a part of it. Hiring a personal trainer is now a priority — up 64.58 percent. 

Ronto concludes that “until it’s safe to be back in the gym, runners clearly prefer to just keep running as their primary source of exercise heading into 2021. While races are slowly coming back, it's encouraging to see running holding on and possibly even gaining popularity, a very thin, yet silver lining of this worldwide crisis. 

The survey was conducted on

Ronto can be reached at [email protected].