5 Running Myths You Shouldn’t Believe
Traditionally, runners tend to be very programmed in the way they do things –pre-race rituals, running routes, shoe brands, and their beliefs. However, over the years these widely held theories have been debunked. We will go over some of these misconceptions to clarify the biggest running myths. What running beliefs do you currently hold? Keep reading to find out which ones to keep following and which ones it’s time to re-think.
Myth #1 – You should always stretch before running
You should never engage in static stretching (holding a single position for 20+ seconds) prior to a run. Lengthening cold muscles is a big no-no and can do more harm than good. Runners do not need to be super flexible. A healthy degree of stiffness or high isometric strength is desirable to encourage economical running form. Thus, runners should follow a dynamic (active movements) type of warm-up. A dynamic warm-up will lubricate the joints, increase your range of motion, and activate the necessary muscles that are needed for running. Some of the key muscle groups I try to get fired up before heading out the door for my runs are hamstrings, glutes, and core. If you would like a specific pre-run warm up routine – don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly.
Myth #2 – Running isn’t good for your joints
This is the most popular excuse I hear from people that try to justify why they cannot run. However, you may be pleased to know that the opposite is true. Running can strengthen your muscles and protect your joints from various injuries. A multi-year study including 75,000 runners was published in 2013 that not only proved this myth to be false but also concluded that runners are at less of a risk of joint damage and developing diseases just as arthritis. While many runners do suffer from injuries involving the joints, the cause is not the act of running itself, it is poor running form. Let’s learn correct running biomechanics to be able to run strong, run long and run happy!
Myth #3 – Real runners don’t walk
False, false, false! How else are you supposed to capture a photo of the beautiful sunrise mid-morning run? No but seriously, if you feel the need to walk a bit during your run, do not beat yourself up over it. There is no harm in taking a bit of an active rest. There are many running programs out there that incorporate a run/walk! Some days your legs may not want to run the entire way and other days your legs will want to run double that. Listen to your body and if it’s telling you to walk, then walk it out. Ay, west side walk it out, now here we go!
Shout out to all the real ones that got that reference.
Myth #4 – You need to carb load before running on race day
Despite not knowing the reason behind it, many follow this running nutrition myth. “Should I eat a bowl of pasta the day before my race?” If you like pasta, then eat up buttercup! If your race is under two hours, there is no need for all the pre-race day carbs. However, if you will be running for more than two hours than I would recommend increasing your consumption of carbohydrates for a week or two leading up to the race. One night before will not provide you with many benefits.
Myth #5 – Run every day
Most runners need at least one day off from running per week, some may require more. It is essential to your training to take at least one day off and allow your body to go into a recovery phase. During this time, your body processes all the hard work you have done and facilitates your muscles to adapt and strengthen. If you disregard recovery, you put yourself at risk for burnout and injury. Experiment with your training to find out how many rest days your body requires.
Link to the study I referenced under myth #2 – running is good for your joints: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3756679/