With more and more people putting on their running shoes, there’s a great influx of running advice. Of course, for beginners it’s hard to sift out the real deal from the crude. The number of running myths floating around are quite surprising, and alarming. Like a bad game of Chinese whispers, myths about running make their way around the world and people start taking them seriously. So we decided to debunk 5 running myths that you hear about over and over again. hopefully this will help you wisen up!
Myth 1: Running is bad for your knees
There are many activities that can be bad for your knees. Martial arts, snowboarding, falling off a horse and so on, but counting running as one of these activities would be a disservice to you. Runner’s are at some risk of knee over-use, but a recent study found out that runner’s are at a significantly lower risk for needing hip or knee replacements surgeries than non-runners. This is because regular running keeps the cartilage healthy, and their knees become used to the activity. They also usually have less body weight which means their knees have less burden on them in everyday activities.
Myth 2: Trails are better for you on account of being soft
We are not saying that trails are bad for you, but we’re debunking the notion that trails are good for you because of the softer surface. Surface hardness makes no/very little difference to our running, as numerous studies have shown. Our bodies are pretty good at keeping impact forces constant no matter what we’re running on by subtly changing how we land. That said, trails are still good for you but because trail running requires constant dynamic movements and stride adjustments, which leads to lesser injuries.
Myth 3: Running is easy
Running is great for you. In fact, how you feel after you finish a run is something words can’t describe. The euphoria is palpable, and you don’t need any equipment to start off. But let’s face it and not kid ourselves, the actual act of running is anything but easy. It’s challenging, physically demanding, satisfying but fun doesn’t creep into that plethora of emotions. Ever seen a runner on his run smiling at the world? We didn’t think so, but he sure does beam after it.
Myth 4: Load up on carbs before a race
Carb loading helps fill your muscles’ stores of glycogen (stored energy from carbohydrates). This is great for a short period of time before a big run, say – loading up on carbs for a week before a marathon. But muscle tissue can only hold a certain amount of glycogen. Anything above that is stored as fat, and that’s never good for you. Eating a healthy balanced diet with high intake of all nutrients is essential. After all, proteins help our muscles recover and gain strength.
Myth 5: Taking a break results in loss of fitness
This is absolutely untrue. In fact, quite the opposite. Taking a break from running of less than two weeks will not hamper your performance or running levels as much as not taking rest days will. Remember, your body doesn’t get stronger and faster during runs. It actually improves during recovery, when your body goes to work repairing the damages done during your workout. Taking rest days is the best thing you can do to up your performance, and help your muscles, bones and joints cope with the exertion and the energy spent.
Keep these in mind for your next run, and you will thank us for clearing up these myths. Lace up and happy running!
Main Image: Steve Bonini