Running is one of the most popular sports in the world.
At home and abroad, this sport owes its popularity in particular to its ease of practice. All you need is a pair of sneakers (and some say you can even do without them).
As simple as running may seem, at first glance, it is anything but easy. No matter how long you’ve been running, this sport is tough. This is why there are many opinions and misconceptions about how to run to make your job easier.
With this article, we bring some light into the darkness and differentiate the truth from what is wrong. We will show you the 10 most common running myths.
Myth 1: Running Damages Joints
This can happen if you increase your training pace from 0 to 100 in a few months, if the shoes don’t match your running style, or if you have a predisposition or favorable factors for joint problems. But otherwise, studies show that running promotes the supply of nutrients to joint cartilage. These form a protective mass that prevents two bones from rubbing against each other.
The articular cartilages develop according to the efforts provided by the muscle and, according to certain studies, people who practice running do not present a greater risk of having arthritis than others.
However, it’s not totally wrong to think that running a lot can be taxing on the hips, knees, and ankles, especially if you tend to run on firm ground, such as concrete. If you are a regular runner, you should increase the distance and intensity gradually instead of making big jumps during your running performance. This way, you will maintain a good technique. Hit the gym regularly to work your core and leg muscles, especially the glutes, which can protect and support your joints.
Myth 2: Stretching Limits Aches
It’s not true. The best way to prevent body aches is to stop gradually. This promotes the breakdown of lactate and the elimination of other metabolic end products.
Lactate is the salt of lactic acid produced in greater quantities during intense effort and leads to acidification of your muscles. If you have “burning legs” that tire quickly, lactate is in play. This process can take place independently of soreness, but the two often go hand in hand, especially for beginners. Increased lactate production can increase your recovery time.
By the way, ignoring body aches doesn’t work. If you train with sore muscles, you damage the muscle fibers more, overload them, and increase your risk of injury. Fortunately, our editorial team has good advice to give you to better overcome the aches and pains.
The only way to avoid them is to slow down and/or run less. If your goal is to run long distances, but still want to avoid soreness, schedule a longer training time and don’t increase training intensity or distance by more than 10% per week. But beware, having aches is not that bad either. And it certainly provides good mental training, because running a marathon is not child’s play.
Myth 3: Fat Burning Only Starts After 30 Minutes
Fat burning starts with the first running stride. Initially, it represents only a small part of the energy used. The longer you train aerobically, the more energy your body gets from fat. Aerobic training means your body uses oxygen to burn fat and carbohydrates into energy that you can use to run.
In anaerobic training, you run (to use simple terms) too fast for your body to have time to use the oxygen to process the transformation into energy. The fat then becomes too slow an energy carrier, so that your body only burns carbohydrates.
Myth 4: The Longer the Better
Among newcomers to long-distance running, the idea is that sticking to the miles and miles is the path to long-lasting success.
What is true is that doing long, slow endurance runs and a reasonably planned high number of miles per week against the target distance is important. But it is also true that (ultra)marathoners also need short, fast runs to increase their base pace and build a good tolerance for monotony over long distances.
Myth 5: Bodybuilding Slows Down
It’s the opposite that is true. Strength training is a prerequisite for a good running style, reduces the risk of injury, and thus allows you to train more efficiently and achieve better performance. Functional training is ideal for people who run.
However, we have to admit that this common misconception has a little something to it: muscle clumps resulting from maximal strength training, bodybuilding, and the like make running more difficult than easier.
Myth 6: Walking Doesn’t Count
Everyone started small and walk breaks are part and parcel of (re)starting a race and a sign of smart training planning. They spare your joints, protect against fatigue injuries, train your physical condition, and thus allow you to train more effectively.
Running with walking breaks is a form of interval training known for its high afterburn effect and its positive influence on improving speed and performance. Find out how interval training can help you run faster.
Myth 7: It Is Essential to Stretch Before Running
This misconception is clearly wrong. Sports scientists now know that static stretching reduces muscle tone and, therefore, performance.
If stretching makes you feel good before running, opt for dynamic stretching. This consists of moving slowly in the stretch, while in a static stretch, you maintain a quasi-immovable position.
Nevertheless, stretching after a run or as an isolated workout is an integral part of any running training, simply because it creates balance in relation to running by relieving the muscle tension you have built up during training. How does it work? Check out our ultimate guide to stretching and mobility for runners.
Myth 8: Running is the Best Sport for Weight Loss
Here too, there is a bit of truth. Running burns a lot of calories: in half an hour of jogging at a medium to fast pace, an 80 kg man can manage to burn approx. 400 kcal.
Jogging is also practical. Just put on your shoes, get out of your house, and go. However, running alone will not help you achieve your dream figure in a sustainable way. Strength training sustainably increases your basal metabolic rate and gives your body shape. The combination of HIIT training and running is a real guarantee of success.
Myth 9: Running in the Rain Increases the Risk of Catching a Cold
During autumn or winter temperatures, this received idea is the favorite excuse of those who do not like jogging. Cold viruses mainly spread indoors and the cold does not make you sick when you are healthy. But while running on a cool, wet day won’t make you sick, there are other precautions you should take.
It’s important to warm up your muscles before you start running, for example by doing a few squats, to make sure you’re wearing the right clothes and that you don’t get cold after running. Here are 4 reasons why you should absolutely run when it’s raining and cold!
Myth 10: Running is Boring
This is absolutely not true. Running offers so many possibilities, new routes, playing with the ABC of the runner and different rhythms, listening to podcasts, chatting with friends, or the phone call with your family that you had taken delayed. So do something with your shopping.
Running is a great form of exercise that offers numerous health benefits. However, over the years, various myths and misconceptions have cropped up, which can hold people back from taking up running or reaching their full potential.
By understanding the facts and separating them from the myths, runners can enjoy the full benefits of this popular form of exercise, reduce their risk of injury, and improve their performance.
Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just starting out, it’s essential to know the facts and not be swayed by common misconceptions. By dismissing these myths, runners can focus on their goals, enjoy their running journey, and reap the benefits of this fantastic form of exercise.
So, next time you hear a running myth, remember to question it, seek the facts, and separate the truth from the fiction.