Before I started running, I believed all the running myths there were. Then, I did some research, learned a good stance, and realized that most of them had no truth at all. Whether or not you are a runner, some of these running myths may sound a bit familiar and just as outlandish as they are.
1. Running Bruises Toe Nails
This is one of the running myths that is both true and untrue. Yes, running can cause bruised toe nails, but the only way that will happen is if you are a marathoner or wearing shoes that do not fit well. Shoes that are tight in the toe and loose around the ankles cause the foot to slide back and forth throughout the run. When your foot continues this sliding motion, the skin between the toe and nail is getting detached and our toes are hitting the front of the shoe. Shoes that are loose in the toes and tight around the ankles should not cause any toe pain or bruising.
2. Running Prevents Osteoporosis
Running is a great physical activity that reduces osteoporosis in our lower body, but not for our upper. If you are concerned about osteoporosis, full body activities like yoga, Pilates, and strength training will be best. These full body activities will work all of the joints and increase balance. Pilates and yoga will also increase flexibility and range of motion - something great for any runners out there!
3. Never Take a Few Days off
This is a myth that I am still getting out of my head. It is very easy to think that a break will decrease our performance. Actually, a break of five days or less from your normal training routine will not significantly hinder your performance. This does not mean we should all take five day weekends, but getting back on that horse does not need to be so scary. Take your first day back to ease into your routine, by the end of your run, you should be ready for your usual racing schedule.
4. Rest Days Are Not Important
Sometimes, it is easy for us to get a little over-zealous and forget that our bodies need a break. Taking one day off from training a week helps muscles repair any damage and reduce injury. By taking one day off, we can actually run faster. I like to take my rest day the day before my long run.
5. Timing a Run is Vital
Timing a run is not vital for a good run, or even good training. Running is a lot about personal preference. There are a lot of people who enjoy timing their runs (myself included), but just as many who hate it. Yes, timing a run will help you see improvements or areas that need to be worked on, but listening to your body can be just as beneficial.
6. You Must Run the Entire Time
Just because you walk during a run does not mean your body got nothing out of it, or that your training will suffer. New research is showing that interval training that includes fast paced walking, jogging, and sprinting will burn more calories and increase our race performance. Alternating between running and walking will also make our hearts work harder and help work different muscles. I try to get at least one day of interval training in a week.
7. Stretching Reduces Pain
Stretching before and after a run will increase athletic performance and decrease the risk of injury, but will not decrease pain. Research has shown no evidence to support the theory that stretching reduces muscle pain. To increase performance and decrease injury, warm-up with five minutes of dynamic stretches that will help increase your heart rate before your run. After your run, cool down with some static stretches that will increase flexibility and range of motion.
The best way to find out if a running myth is true or false is to get out and try. Running is an easy activity that will help burn calories and increase muscle density. Whether you are fast or slow, almost everyone can get something out of running. What are some running myths that you have believed?