Listen, I’m not a professional runner. I just enjoy it, do it relatively frequently, and have been at it for a while. As I got more interested in running, I noticed there were all these RULES and suggestions which, frankly, to me, seemed either wrong, outdated, unhelpful, or like a moneymaking scheme. So I thought I’d thought I’d debunk some of those myths (I mean, what is the internet for if not de-bunking). Note: some of “my” rules are also wrong, unresearched and possibly unhelpful. That’s why it’s on a blog, not in a magazine with glossy pages . Enjoy!
1. They say you should drink water to stay hydrated when you run. >>shudder<< I cannot so much as take a sip of water up to 2-3 hours before I run and DEFINITELY not while running.
drank…. 2 ounces of water…. before running…..
If I’m running that day, I drink a big glass right when I get up in the morning. If I have any liquid (or food) in me, I get cramps so incredibly badly, it escalates to a Sigourney Weaver/Alien situation on our hands. →
2. They say running makes you thirsty. Not me. I can count on one hand the number of times I have felt thirst when running. This includes many distance runs in July, jogs in Mexico and two half-marathons. Maybe it has something to do with #1? [NOTE: this is probably not normal. I think there is something wrong with me. I also was getting this, for lack of a better word, “syndrome” for like 5 years after long runs, in which an hour after I stopped running, I would get overwhelming flu-like symptoms and nausea rivaling the norovirus on a Carnival cruise. I
Googled learned later I was dehydrated. STILL never feel thirsty. Ever.]
3. They say to stop running when you are injured. I mean, if you have a compound tibia fracture or a ballooning, purple-veined ankle, for God’s sake stop, but I have found with minor injuries, ‘running through them’ has made them go away. I had a bad hip flexor issue a few months ago and just kept running. After a half-marathon with my shoes tied too tight, I think I had a TINY stress fracture so I rested a few days and it was fine. Same with a little issue with my right knee. I just kind of visualized the pain gone and it eventually went away. I also try to steer away from ibuprofen because I believe when you are truly injured you shouldn’t just keep masking it.
4. They *said* running is bad for your knees. That myth has finally been debunked here in a study of 75,000 people.
5. They say you shouldn’t run with headphones outdoors so you can stay attune to traffic. Bull. What am I going to listen to, my thudding footsteps and the internal rattle of an upcoming snot rocket?
You will never see me doing this or any variation of it.
6. They say you should warm up and cool down. I have never, ever warmed up or cooled down. I don’t even walk. I just literally hit the ground running off my front steps, usually only at a :15 pace slower than I can maintain at mile 8. Once in a great while I might do a half-hearted quad stretch or flap my arms around to loosen them up. Again, this is probably not normal or encouraged.
Garmin Forerunner 110. Obsessed.
7. They tell you to drink sports drinks to replenish your electrolytes. Stop. There is no reason human beings (save marathoners) should ever drink a Gatorade, Powerade, Propel etc (even that low-sugar crap which contains high fructose corn syrup, sucrose syrup, sucralose and acesulfame potassium).
Let’s say you run a nice 4-miler and burn 250 calories. In one Gatorade you have erased the caloric burn of half of your run. In like 45 seconds of guzzling. Besides the non-sensical calorie consumption, you are filling your body up with unnecessary chemicals, colorings and other weird crap. Just drink coconut water (all natural! tastes yummy!) or regular water and if you are really missing those man-made electrolytes take these Hammer electrolyte pills (I’m not convinced they do anything but for longer runs and hikes I do take one or two.)
8. They say running is exhausting. Of course this can depend on your level of fitness but I personally feel 10x more awake and energized after a run, especially my 7+m ones. I am just bursting with endorphins!!! Waving at the homeless guys off the Spa park trail, stopping to coo at dogs, smiling instead of flipping off the jerk in the Jetta who cut me off. I love it! I love you all! COME GIVE ME A HUG!!!!
POSSIBLE running lies:
- Running with a friend helps. I guess this depends on the expectations of your training and if you need someone to get your ass moving. I used to run with a friend at work but we would just gossip chat. If you’re chatting with ease, you’re not running hard enough. That being said, I run with my husband and he is a fantastically motivating running buddy. Sometimes I look over and he appears to be running soooo slowwww then I realize… it’s me, not him.
- Wear stylish running clothes. I’ll admit; I like cute running clothes in trendy colors and flattering cuts. I don’t like looking dumpy out there. That’s for pajammy time at home with the husband! But you don’t need to invest in super-expensive Underarmour swag or, god forbid, that gear from those weirdos at Lululemon. I wear cheap cotton Walmart socks my stepmom gives me for Christmas and $8 Pony running sorts from TJMaxx. They work just fine.
- Get your feet measured by a specialized store and invest in the right shoe. I simply studied the tread wear of my old sneakers, researched pronation / supination online, then read about 29,840,932 reviews online at Amazon before settling into my Asics GT’s. When I got sick of those, I researched and purchased Brooks Ravennas. No pushy salesmen required. Did I pick the right ones? I don’t know. I’ve never had a serious injury.
- Cross-training (Spin©, elliptical, hiking, weight lifting, even silly Zumba and especially HIIT) greatly improves performance. Enormously.
- There is nothing that burns more calories than running (not jogging; running).
- Track your progress- dailymile.com , Garmin Connect (my favorite) beginnertriathlete.com (my other favorite), mapmyrun, Runkeeper and PUMATRAC apps; anything where you can monitor your miles, injuries, successes, races, etc. It’s fun and satisfying to utilize their tabulated graphics and graphs. If they have any sort of social media connectivity, bonus. I’ve also personally found runner’s forums can be very motivating.
my Dailymile.com account
- Running changes lives. This I know is true.
So that’s my experience of truths and lies in the running world! Thoughts?