Running: you either hate it or love it. Whether you’re on one side or the other, there are some unbelievable misconceptions you may not know about. If running classes have been on the back burner in your weekly class schedule, I hear ya. It happens to the best of us: myths that keep us from taking the plunge on something unfamiliar. If that’s you, read on.
The biggest running myths, debunked
There are many running myths out there including the myth that running is hard on your knees, and that you have to run every single day in order to improve your running performance. In fact, the opposite is true.
We’ve outlined the top five most common running myths, and debunked them.
Stretching improves your performance.
You’re probably not aware that this is even a myth, because it’s been a part of our routine for so long! Oddly enough, it actually decreases your performance from sprinting to endurance runs. How so? While you do want to properly warm up your muscles, prolonged static stretching is a no-no. It decreases muscle recruitment and stiffness (important for sprints). Instead, do dynamic warm-up techniques.
Running is hard on your knees.
Believe it: Studies have shown no results that running is bad for your knees! Sounds crazy, right? While knee-related injuries can be common for runners, it’s not the joint itself. By strengthening your glute muscles and core, many of these injuries will go away. If you’re prone to health concerns like arthritis, softer surfaces like trails are a better option. Either way, running has some major benefits to outweigh any of the cons you might come across.
Running every day is the only way to get better at it.
Not true at all! While you do need to keep a regular schedule to condition your body, daily runs can actually impede your growth. Did you know that running alone only maintains your muscle strength? It doesn’t add to it. What does increase your muscle strength to get faster is good old fashioned strength training. Pair two to three runs a week with a day of lifting to lower your mile time!
Running helps you to slim down.
One of the most common reasons students came to my treadmill classes was in hopes to slim down and tone up. It’s a small step in the right direction, but it’s not the whole solution. While cardio does help to burn fat, it won’t do all the work for results. Just like the saying goes, “abs are made in the kitchen.” As a personal trainer, I’ll hit you with the cold hard facts: diet is 80% of your results. The biggest wrecking balls to your diet are late-night carbohydrate intake and sugar.
The longer your runs are each day, the better you get.
This is a myth that has a gray area. Yes, distance improves endurance. However, long steady state runs will not improve your speed and muscle responsiveness. It’s important to take a class that’s balanced with long runs, shorter tempo runs and sprints to see visible results on your mile time.
How’s that for motivation? Make a promise to yourself to step out of your comfort zone, and book your first (or first in a long time) running class. We know you can do it!