With so many self-professed running gurus, it can be very hard to separate fact from fallacy. It’s important to identify running myths as it can negatively affect your training. We cover ten of the most popular running myths…
Myth #1 – Cushioned running shoes are better and prevent injury
The closer you can get to natural running, the better. Protection for your feet is very important, but too much cushioning is not a good idea. Natural running relies on the strength of the runner’s feet and legs rather than the cushioning or support of a shoe. The foot controls the shoe, not the other way around. We’ve featured a great article on the benefits of minimalist shoes.
Myth #2 – Always stretch before you run
Static stretching before you run does not prevent injury or improve performance. You should rather warm up properly (think butts kicks and high knees drills), and that does help prevent injury and improve performance. Warming up properly allows your heart-rate to gradually increase and warms up your appropriate muscle groups. Do this for ten minutes before you run. It is however better to cool down after a run with static stretching.
Myth #3 – Running will be the end of your joints
This is another running myth that often creeps up, especially when runners make mention of “bad knees.” Exhibiting poor running form is more likely to cause you running injuries. In fact, certain studies have shown that running could potentially reduce the risk of osteoarthritis. To get a good idea of proper running form read our article on Form Matters. Work on it!
Myth #4 – The further I run, the better the workout
The distance that you run is not directly proportionate to your running progress. It is in fact far better to run through a mix of varying distances and intensities for best results. It is important to note that distance also should be task specific (i.e. trying to get better times for certain distances). Here’s an article we featured which covered great tips on this topic: (high-intensity) interval training for running – you will reap the benefits.
Myth #5 – No pain, no gain
While you sometimes have to push through gruelling, painful situations to get the best results, that is not always a good idea. Sometimes those pains are your body’s way of telling you that it needs rest. It is good to take a break and then get back into it fresh and rejuvenated. Rest and recovery is a large part of becoming a better athlete.
Myth #6 – If your muscles are cramping, you lack potassium
We often hear that you should eat bananas to reduce cramping. While potassium does have its benefits, it does not mean it will keep you cramp-free. Cramps are generally attributed to muscle fatigue and overloading, or from electrolyte losses, especially sodium and chloride. Your best way to avoid cramping is to stay properly hydrated and to increase your mobility and flexibility through proper and regular warm ups and cool downs.
Myth #7 – Drinking excessive amounts of water when you run is fine
Drinking too much liquid while running could cause you to cramp. Rather hydrate properly leading up to your run, so you can drink less during your run. Here is a great article on running and hydration that cover this in more detail.
Myth #8 – You will get the flu or a cold if you run in the cold or rain
As children, many of us were cautioned about playing outside, for fear of us caching a cold or flu. You are more likely to catch a virus by staying indoors, as germs are prevalent there. While the cold can sometimes weaken your immune system, in order for you to get sick, you will have to come into contact with the virus.
Myth #9 – You are way too slow to be a proper runner
This is a great deal of hoopla. From Bolt to gramps, we are all capable of being runners. Efficiency will differ, but anybody can run as it is a free-form practice; that means, speed, distance and pace is entirely up to you.
Myth #10 – In order to be a good runner you need to run daily
You don’t have to run daily to be a great runner. While it is important to have a running routine, running twice or three times a week is perfect to build up your endurance and fitness, as long as you practice diligently and also focus on good running form. Including high-intensity interval training on a regular basis is arguably an even better idea.
There you have it folks, some of the most popular running myths that have now been debunked. Take heed when you are offered running advice and make sure it is from a professional.
Did you come across any of these running myths before? What other running myths have you heard?