When you think of Kevin Hart, you probably think of movies like Central Intelligence or his comedy special, Kevin Hart: What Now?. Or maybe you think of his hilarious Saturday Night Live monologue. You may even think of his athletic prowess in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. What you probably don’t think of is running. But, you should. In case you didn’t get the memo, Kevin Hart has been running (literally) 5K runs since June—along with thousands of his fans. “I’m not a runner. This is something I’ve just picked up in the past year. First of all, it’s a relaxing thing to do—it clears your mind,” says Hart.
Now, he’s teamed up with Nike+ Run Club to make things a little more official. “I think the partnership with Nike is so amazing because through the Nike running app, I'll be able at one point to coincide with everybody that I've ran with through a chat, through a group, so regardless of where we are, we can still run together—that's the overall goal,” says Hart.
The runs started in Boston, and he’s hosted them in other cities since such as Philadelphia and Atlanta. Today, he went for a run in New York City—and we joined him. “Today’s run was not my best. Hitting that cold weather—my lungs—it takes you to a point where your breathing gets really deep. So basically, it got tough for me at one point but I still pushed through because I don’t quit,” Hart says of his 21-minute 5K time (hey, we’re impressed…). “My best is 00:20.03. I have to break the twenty mark—that’s the overall goal. To break it, you really have to pace. But I’m going to do it—there’s not a doubt in my mind,” he says.
Perhaps he’ll do it overseas, since that’s where his tour—and his runs—are headed. “My plan is basically to place the runs alongside my tourdates. My domestic side of my What Now tour is almost complete. We did history making events all throughout this tour, so now that were going international, we want to follow suit so Autralia, Berlin, Oslo, Norway, Amsterdam..."
And it makes sense that Hart wants to embrace the international running community since the sport itself knows no boundaries. “We want to be global, we want to show that running can bring people together all over the world, and regardless of where you are, you can do it,” says Hart. “To do it in a group makes it even better.”
So, how did Kevin Hart pick up running and quickly dominate the 3.1-mile distance—running an almost sub-20-minute 5K? Here are the top three tips he gave us this morning—just for MEN’S FITNESS readers. Plus, of course we had to ask what he thinks is funny about running—and what he'd say about it if he incorporated it in to a show. Click through to find out.
Tip #1: Go to the bathroom first
"Before you do it, if you’re running over a mile—go to the bathroom. Get whatever is in your system, out. You don’t want to get out there and get hit with [it]—it’s a situation that you can’t get away from. I don’t think any body wants that problem—I’ve been the guy that’s had that problem. To those that do not understand, take that serious. It’s a real thing."
Tip #2: Get great gear
"Running gear makes you feel better. When you look good, you feel like a runner, even if you’re not a runner. You get out there and you’re in proper running apparel and it gives you a different pep in your step. It makes you not only look the part, but feel the part. So dress appropriately. What runners do and what they wear is... you should follow suit. I’m a big Nike Pro guy. I love the ¾ tights with the matching tops with the sleeves cut off that you can wear under whatever it is that you’re wearing. Now that it’s cold, the Therma-Sphere—love that. It keeps you warm and it keeps you snug. You know, I don’t wear drawers with mine. I go in there loose caboose!"
"I’m also a big reflective guy now that I run at nighttime. It’s pretty dark so it’s good that you see me. So, I throw on reflective hats, bands, jackets—I kinda look like a blur in traffic—it’s just like a blur of lightning running by."
Tip #3: Download great tunes
"The biggest tip: You need music. Music is a great motivating factor, you know. When you run—I don’t care who you are—there’s a certain point that you reach that you go you know, 'I’m ready to break down,' and just stop for a second. Music pushes you through. [My playlist is the] most confusing playlist you’ll ever hear in your life. It’s an assortment of songs that make no sense at all. From the mixture of Rocky’s theme song to Justin Bieber, then it goes to rap music that’s life-threatening, and after that when you’re coming home close to the finish line, it’s probably a country song about how your boots kick. I’m a universal person. I keep anything I do universal—I like to be all over the board."
Plus: What he thinks is funny about running
MF: If you were going to talk talk about running during a show, what would you say?
"I would talk about the different running strides that you see. That makes me laugh. You have the ultimate runner whose stride is almost the stride of a gazelle—it’s so fluid. Like wow, look at that guy’s stride, look at the woman’s stride. Then you have the non-breather—the person that can’t breathe [does a breathing demonstration]. Then you have the run-walker who thinks they’re running, but it’s just walking at a fast pace. That’s what makes me laugh."