Solid Ground: 7 Running Myths, and the Truth Behind Them

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We’ve all heard it. Well-meaning but ultimately misguided advice on how you really should be running. The actual correct footfall pattern, real training hacks, or my personal favorite — how running really isn’t healthy for you (usually from a cheerfully confident relative, mid-holiday party).

So what’s real, and what do we leave behind as we forge ahead in training?

Myth 1. Running Will Hurt Your Knees — Probably the most common myth on this list, you’ve likely heard this one if you’re ever made the mistake of mentioning that you enjoy running. Ironically, this myth is not only false, but potentially damaging to your joints too! Running with proper form has been proven to help keep weight down and joints healthy.

Myth 2. Carbo Loading is a Must — This one is a bit trickier. The days of promoting massive pre-race pasta-bowls are thankfully passed, but it’s still advisable to increase your complex carbohydrate intake slightly for 3-7 days before a race. Delicious options include quinoa, whole grains, lentils, potatoes, and beans.

Myth 3. Mileage is King — As runners, we can’t help thinking about, talking about, or noticing mileage milestones (who doesn’t love a good bumper sticker!). But distance isn’t always what makes a good run. Training wins can and should include small goals like proper form, improved pace, and variable challenges like hills and speed work.

Myth 4. Never Miss a Run — More prevalent within the running community than without, this myth can be downright dangerous. Overtraining, pushing through pain, or ignoring signs of sickness can all (literally) take you out of the race. Consider at least 1 day off per week for some well-deserved R&R.

Myth 5. Open Buffet Season — The most heartbreaking myth of all! If your calorie intake exceeds calorie expenditure you will gain weight, no matter how many miles you log. Eating clean with the occasional tasty treat is a choice your body will thank you for in the long run.

Myth 6. Run Don’t Walk — This myth is simply not true, and can even shame runners into pushing past safe training goals. Walking can be beneficial for breaks, or changing up your routine. Some coaches even use it as an essential part of their curriculum.

Myth 7. Flexibility is Required —  While dynamic stretches can be beneficial for some, over-flexibility can actually make your joints less stable. Focus instead on healthy cross-training. This can include items like strength work and balance drills. 

Running is a sport that has been around for centuries. The first event at the very first Olympic games in 775 B.C. was a footrace, which means there’s been plenty of time since then for speculation and theories to pop up!

Deciding what running advice to take or leave comes down to knowing your body, doing your research, and trusting your gut (despite what Uncle Steve might say at Thanksgiving).

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