The myths and misconceptions about running can negatively affect your running experience. We’re going to spend a few minutes debunking the most common myths about running and share with you how a better understanding can benefit you as a runner and fitness enthusiast.
Debunked Myth #1: Stretching Before Running Is Always Necessary
Contrary to popular belief, static stretching—where you hold a stretch for a certain amount of time before running—can hinder your performance and increase your risk of injury. Instead, studies suggest that dynamic stretching, which involves moving through a range of motions, is a far better way to warm up and prepare your body for a run.
Debunked Myth #2: Running Will Ruin Your Knees
A widespread notion exists that says running wears down the cartilage in your joints, especially your knees. However, research has shown that running can actually improve knee health by reducing inflammation—and one study found that marathon running actually helped heal some types of knee damage! The beneficial effect comes from the runner’s lower body mass index, which may be the result of weight loss. The number of knee injuries in runners also comes from overuse—so it’s important to take those rest days to give your joints time to recover.
Debunked Myth #3: Carb-Loading Is Essential for Runners
While it’s true that carbohydrates are an important energy source for runners, excessive carbohydrate consumption, or “carb-loading,” is typically unnecessary and can even be counterproductive for most casual or daily runners. In fact, moderate carbohydrate consumption combined with a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and healthy fats can effectively fuel your runs and overall health.
Debunked Myth #4: Runners Don’t Need Strength Training
Strength training is essential for runners because it helps improve their running economy, builds muscle endurance, and reduces their risk of injury. Incorporate targeted exercises that strengthen your core and specific muscles used during running, such as squats, lunges, and planks.
Debunked Myth #5: Running Guarantees Injuries
Although running injuries can occur, you can largely prevent them through proper training, rest, and self-care. Most running injuries come from overuse, changes in stride, or weak hips. Listen to your body, increase your mileage gradually, and invest in rest days to allow for full recovery.
Debunking these common myths about running can provide you with a true understanding of what it takes to be a successful runner. By dispelling these myths, you can optimize your running performance, minimize the risk of injuries, and enjoy the lifelong physical and mental benefits of running. So, put on your best sweat-diverting athletic headband and your best-fitting running shoes, and enjoy your favorite form of exercise!