You shouldn't run. It's bad for your joints. You'll get saggy skin and you'll look really old. Running will kill you - you'll die of a heart attack or something (said while eating a cheesburger and cheetos).
Then you have the flip side of that - Real runners run every single day. You won't nail your PR if you miss that workout. You need to use 47 GUs and drink at every hydration station. You need a hydration belt for your mile race.
You've heard it. We've all heard it. Just remember who you hear it from.
Today's post is going to address some of these statements.
1. You Have To Run Everyday
- How is this possible? First of all, your body needs a break. Second - sometimes life gets in the way. Some people like to run 6 days per week, while some run 3. You need to find what works best for you. Find a training plan that you can handle and is conducive to your schedule. If you only have time to run 20 miles per week, don't start a training plan that is asking you to put in 60. You will get discouraged and likely give up. That being said, make those 20 miles count.
2. You Cannot Miss A Workout
- Life happens. Bad days happen. The flu happens. You just have to deal with it. If you miss a workout, it is ok. Don't worry about it. Of course, don't make it a habit, but life will go on. If you cannot make it up, move on. Your training is not going to be totally derailed because you missed a set of 400 repeats or a fartlek.
3. You Have to Wear "X" Brand Of Shoes
- No. Why would you wear a brand of shoes that doesn't work for you just because someone says so? If a certain make or model has proven over and over to hurt your feet or legs, try something new! Just because your running pal wears Asics or Mizuno doesn't mean they are right for you. Head to a local running store and check out the shoes. Maybe even try a gait analysis. It's also good to have several pair of running shoes in different brands. For example, one of our runners rotates a few pair of shoes. One day is Nike Vomero day. Then she moves on to Brooks Ghost, and then to New Balance 980. This helps to keep too many miles off one pair of shoes, and it helps to keep the legs and feet from getting hurt.
4. Runners Do Not Need to Strength Train
- No. Sorry. Hit the gym and pump some iron. Multiple studies have shown that strength training is beneficial for runners. Strength training improves performance and reduces the risk of injury when performed correctly. Remember that a strong core is essential to good running form. Plus, a strong upper body helps you propel forward. Not to mention, it helps you look good.
5. A Runner Doing Yoga? Pansy.
- No, you don't have to be super flexy. But, yoga does help counterbalance the tightness that runners find in their hamstrings. Additionally, yoga helps to work the core and upper body (see number 4). Plus, many runners tend to move at a very fast pace in life. Yoga helps us to slow down and enjoy what is happening around us.
6. Mileage Is All That Matters
- Is mileage important? Yes. But, it's what you do with those miles that matters. Running 6 miles 5 days per week at the same pace is fine - much better than sitting on the couch. But, if you want to increase your performance, alternate hard days. Add tempo runs, hill work, and speed work. Varying the intensity and mileage during your workout will help you make greater performance gains than running at the same pace every. single. day. Plus, doing the same thing every day gets boring after a while.
7. Running Is Bad For Your Joints. That's Why I Sit On The Couch.
- Enjoy your couch time, pal. Aerobic exercise improves most body functions including joint health. When you exercise, the cartilage in your knees, ankles, and hips compresses and expands. This draws in oxygen and flushes out waste products keeping the cartilage healthy. Without exercise, cartilage cells get weak. Also, running strengthens the ligaments that support our joints making them more stable and therefore less susceptible to sprains/strains/etc.
But knees - what about your knees! Isn't running just AWFUL for them? Actually, a running regimen can actually improve healthy knees.
So - run responsibly. Wear good shoes and replace them when necessary. Rehab your injuries properly, cross-train, and take rest days.
8. You Must Have A Certain Body Type
- Look at our group! We have all types of bodies. Each of you is a pretty strong runner. So we know this isn't true. Are certain types of bodies better for certain distances? Sure. But anyone can be a runner.
9. Stretch Before You Run
- This isn't necessary because your muscles are not yet warm. It's really imporatant your muscles are warmed up before stretching. Disagree? Take a yoga class (which is primarily about flexibility) and you will notice there are many poses that will not be attempted until later in the class when the body is warmed up. Cold muscles are at the highest risk for injury which can happen while stretching.
10. While Racing, You MUST Drink At Every Water Station
- Cute. Drink for thirst and you are less likely to be overhydrated and have stomach troubles. You really don't want to be stuck in the bathroom for half the race. Many runners now are trained that they need their hydration belt for a 5k. That's not really necessary. For an ultra, yeah - take it with you. Just remember that your body is tough. That being said, don't deny it fluids.
11. Runners Are Suppose To Peak In Their 20s. I Guess I'm Too Old To Be Any Good.
- Good try. You can still kick butt at your next race. Yes, your aerobic capacity does fall with age. It is not your heart's stroke volume or your ability to extract oxygen from blood that decreases with age - it's that your max heart rate declines. The reality is, your max heart rate declines by a beat per year according to Sandra Hunter, PhD, an exercise scientist at Marquette University. Usually the age-related issue that runners start to notice first is their ability to recover from hard workouts and races. Muscles store glycogen so when you lose muscle mass with age, you also lose some of your glycogen reserves meaning it will take longer to recovery. So, yes, there is an inevitable decline that comes with age, but just because you may not be able to be as fast as someone in their mid-late 20s does not mean you don't have it in you. Keep running and training. You'll see improvements. Trust us.
12. You Have To Carbo Load The Night Before A Race.
- Yeah it's totally a good excuse to hit your favorite Italian place with your friends. But, there's no reason to carbo load unless you eat that way normally. Why do something that isn't in your routine the night before the race? (If you don't know why you wouldn't try this out - give it a shot and see how many times you end up in the lovely port-a-pottie).
You never know what running related myths you may hear, but do your research and keep up the good work. Remember, you're lapping everyone on the couch and you look good doing it.
Who Picks the Topics?
Each week, we notice different things. We try to incorporate the questions we are receiving or the training issues we are noticing into our post(s) for the week. If there is something you'd like us to cover, let us know!