Top 6 Running Myths – Misconceptions About Distance Running

Top 5 Running Myths

Distance Running is considered an effective muscular and cardiovascular exercise. Running offers calorie burning and mind-boosting benefits. It has a firm place in training for almost any sport, despite the most common top 6 running myths.

We’ll explore some nonsense beliefs attached with running usually termed as “running myths”. These misconceptions about running may scare off beginners. In this article, you’ll learn about the top 5 running myths that are not true.

Keep in mind HIIT running sprint circuits are not the same as distance running. Here we’re focused on distance running myths.

Distance running myths apply to outdoor surfaces such as pavement, sidewalks and sand, as well as treadmill running at gyms such as Olympix Fitness in Long Beach CA.


MYTH 1  Eat lots of carbs before running

When I was a kid this was the absolute standard rule. Carb load the night before or even the day of a big sporting event. The idea was we needed to carb up for energy. Many runners think that a high carb intake before the race will provide added energy but new research on the subject suggest otherwise. Pasta and other fast burning carbs are good to build body carbohydrates, but if you’re already following a clean nutrition program leading up to the race you’re likely to actually slow down your overall performance. Why? You’re putting extra stress on another body function: digestion. Bottom line- carb loading for a well trained and well nourished athlete will most likely make the athlete sluggish on event day. Large quantities of pasta even 2 to 3 nights before a race can cause poor performance. It is advised to athletes to bring no change in their diet before the event. Eat carbs according to your normal plan with no changes leading up to a big run. I’m looking forward to emails from old timers who are sure to disagree.

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MYTH 2  Running on Soft Sand is Bad for Joints

Over the years this subject has been debated so let’s end the confusion. Some hardcore runners insist you should only run on wet sand, which offers less give to each step. While wet sand sunning is great for fast paced long distance running it’s certainly not the only safe sand running. Soft sand is actually good for the joints. The extra ‘give’ soft sand offers is extra resistance and will therefore make a tougher workout and strengthen your joints. Use caution if you have a history of joint problems from previous injuries.


MYTH 3  Missing day of running will slow progress

So you’re striving to increase your distance or decrease your running times? If you’re under the impression you need to run every single day to make improvements you’ve been misinformed. Running long distances every can lead to burnout or cause injury. You need rest to heal. It is the healing process that allows you to perform just a little better each time you go for a run. When you allow yourself days off, this will rebuild your body and improve your future performance big time. Run a little less, heal a lot more.


MYTH 4  Running is bad for the knees

This running myth is negated by research as the occurrence of joint issues is more common among non-runners. It is also true that if you have a genetic base for joint problems then running might increase the problem but this is rare. Check running myth 2 above for advice about getting proper rest and recovery time. This will help you avoid injury.

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MYTH 5  Barefoot running reduces dangers of injury

The widespread notion that barefoot running can cut down on injury risks isn’t accurate. The idea of running barefoot is that it’s the most natural way to run, unfortunately most people don’t have a perfect stride. Without perfect running alignment most adults require shoes offering proper support.


MYTH 6  Stretch before you run

Simply not true. Stretching enhances your flexibility and speed in addition to preventing injuries associated with exercise. However, stretching before running can be harmful. One should stretch only after a full-body warm-up or during days off running. Yoga and some forms of pilates offer great non-running day stretching.



Important Running Tip:

Drink lots of water to retain body hydrates:
Okay, so how much is LOTS? It is commonly advised to drink 3-4 liters of water per day. Runner’s World offers some hydration requirements for runners with a simple multiplication rule based on sex and body weight. The rule remains same for runners while it is not possible to drink enough to retain body water and this practice may cause gastrointestinal discomfort. So drink according to your body requirement. You may take sports drink if the workout is more than 2 hours. But for a lesser time, a sports drink is not recommended.


Photo credit: Alain Limoges


Jed Miller

Certified Master Fitness Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, Fitness Blogger and all around fitness and health nut. In addition to highly personalized fitness training, JM has worked in health club management as well as corporate wellness.

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