Running Myths – What’s Fact And What’s Fiction?
We’re in the height of running season, but with every budding Mo Farrah we see a disconcerting pessimist who’ll tell you everything from ‘running is bad for your knees’ to ‘running will cause you to contract the plague and die’…okay maybe not that far but you get the idea. In this article we’ll go through the biggest running myths and facts and shed some light on what to believe.
- Running Is Bad For Your Knees
By far the biggest thing you’ll hear from any non-runner is that running is bad for your knees. Apparently, the amount of force impacting upon your knees will deteriorate them over time meaning you’ll have to resort to wheel chair use by your 40’s. If you run yourself you’ll know that, that is complete nonsense. The only way running will damage your knees is if you have poor running form. Running with good form with the right fitting footwear will promote healthy knees and joints.
Atlanta based running coach Carl Leivers says, “Running is one of the best activities for your health and there aren’t any studies that show joint damage is related to running”.
Running on a regular basis will strengthen your knees, joints and muscles surrounding that area so in actual fact your knees will become healthier due to running.
- Stretch Before You Run
A lot of people believe that you need to stretch before you run. The general consensus is that by stretching before you run then you’ll loosen up muscles which will make them less susceptible to injury. What you’re actually doing, however, is making them more susceptible to injury as stretching cold muscles will put strain on them. When muscles are warm and there’s a higher blood flow going to them, they’re more pliable and will stretch easier.
A personal trainer once said to me that you need to think of your muscles like chewing gum. When gum is cold, you can bend it in half and it will snap. When it’s warm after chewing you can stretch and mould it. The same applies to your muscles. Just do gentle exercises before your run such as jumping jacks or push ups to warm your muscles up. Then just stick to stretching afterwards.
- You Have To Run Everyday
Running every day is only good for one thing…getting tired and injuring yourself. Your body needs time to recover so it’s in its prime condition. Running on tired muscles that are already strained will cause damage to them. If you need weeks or months to recover from an injury, then your goals will be hampered. After a run, it’s vital that they recover by eating the right foods, consuming plenty of water and finally getting the right amount of rest. Sometimes just sitting in the front the T.V is the best thing for your muscles so you can hit the track hard the next day.
- You Don’t Need To Do Strength Training
While not doing any strength training won’t hinder your progress as runner, you’ll fulfil your potential by a huge percentage by incorporating strength training into your running schedule.
Focusing on core strength training will improve your performance as runner as your whole body will be stronger as a unit. By purely just running with no strength training what so ever, then your body will get used to training just one set of muscle groups. Once your body is in this state, then you’ll hinder muscle growth. Therefore, by mixing up your training and performing strength training, then you’ll optimise your results and reach your goals easier.
To view a range of core body exercises, view our previous post on how to build a strong core using simple home equipment such as Ab Rollers, Yoga Balls & Balance Trainers.
- Training With A Treadmill Is A Waste Of Time.
This is a bit of a touchy subject with keen runners. The general consensus among runners is that treadmills offer no benefits as they’re easy. As an avid runner myself I can confirm that running on a treadmill is much easier than running on the road. However, this doesn’t make them useless. Treadmills can offer a great work out by using a variety of speeds and inclines during the workout. I can guarantee that you can sprint for longer on a treadmill than you would be able to on the road. Use this to your advantage and get your heart racing for a longer period of time.
Treadmills are also great for HIIT workouts. A HIIT workout on the treadmill will provide you with high periods of fat burning so it’s great for getting lean. Next time you’re at the gym or on your home treadmill, try this HIIT treadmill workout:
- 40 seconds at a high pace (almost sprinting), followed by 20 seconds of rest. Do this 10 times over a 10-minute period and you’ll be leaving a swimming pool of sweat behind.
If you’ve heard or taken on board any of these myths in the past, then discard them like that old sweater you’ve been keeping for over 10 years. Running is a fantastic way to get fit and to keep fit. Whether you’re training for a marathon or just looking to lose a few pounds, there really is no alternative to hitting the road or the treadmill.
To view a great range of treadmills, visit www.jllfitness.co.uk/cardio/treadmills or visit the JLL Fitness Amazon and eBay stores.
You can also view a range of Ab Rollers, Yoga Balls and Balance Trainers which improve your running performance vastly.