5 Running Myths You Should Know
As a runner I’m sure at one point or another you’ve heard one or more myths pertaining to running, racing, training or just exercise in general. The sad truth is that most of these myths are still unknown as myths to many athletes today. So below I’ve put together a quick list of 5 random running myths I’ve found quite common. Feel free to post your thought or comments on them.
- Running Mechanical Aren’t Important - Many runners don’t necessarily say that this is not important but what I find is that they lack in putting in the time to improve their running mechanics and form. As a distance runner especially, one should know that any extra movements you do will add up over time and slow your time down. Doing exercises like kick-butt, high-knees and other form running activities can help train your body to be a more efficient runner. The more efficient you are the more the less energy you’ll be wasting.
- Any Shoe Will Do - Now this is one that tops the list as one of the leading causes of running related injuries. The shoe you use to run in actually is very important. Most shoes sold at common shoe stores are manufactured for one foot type (a neutral foot or in other words a perfect foot). But the truth is that each of us has a different foot structure and no one’s foot is the perfect shape (unfortunate, I know :). There is more to our feet than length and width, which is what generally gives us our shoe size. Knowing what foot type you are and then getting a shoe that fits that type is half the battle to beating injury. Also we must realize that gate (the movement/motion of your our legs and body when running) can be as important as our foot structure or type.
- Higher Mileage is Always Better - This is not technically a full myth, more like a half myth. Higher mileage can be good if done correctly, although higher mileage is not always the best thing. Many runners think that putting in as much mileage as possible will make them the best runner. This is only true up to a certain point. And the sad truth is that the type of running you put in is more important than the mileage. How fast did you run it… what was your pace? Are all important questions you should be asking. It’s also been suggested that 70 miles a week is usually the max most runners will ever need to do. Now of course if you’re training at a higher level than the average runner you’re mileage might be higher.
- Long Slow Distance Runs Are Best - This is one of those half myths that if you don’t get it could cost you valuable training time. Running distance is great and is necessary fortraining for certain types of races. Although the downfall is the “slow” in long slow distance (LSD). Most slow paced running is not giving the body the workout needed to generate muscle strength and endurance. The reason is that you’re not working the body hard enough. A better approach is to run at a specific pace that is in some ratio or percent of your actual race pace. For example if my race pace is a 5:00 mile then Imight want to train on my distance runs at 70% of that pace which would be about 6:30 mile pace. Of course that is all relative to your race pace and distance you’re running.
- Runners Don’t Need Strength Training - Many coaches and runners today are holding on to the belief that strength training provides no benefits to runners. Although researchers, runners and coaches have proven this one wrong. In fact I knew this was a key to training as a college runner. So I started lifting regularly. I got looks from people all the time, wondering why a cross country runner was lifting so much. Later on that season I ended up running my fastest times! So strength training can improve your muscle elasticity and allow you to be more economic when running. As well as helping to keep you injury free.