Running Myths Uncovered

Perhaps you or someone you know wanted to start a running regimen but heard a myth about running like “running is bad for your knees” and decided against it.  Or possibly you are a new runner hesitant to intensify your runs due to running myths. Or maybe, you are an avid runner who heard these myths but continues to run because you love it so much – especially with your spi belt. No matter which category fits you, find information debunking some of the top running myths below.

Running Myth #1 – Running is bad for your knees.

This belief is very common; even non-runners have heard this one. However, do not let this myth deter you from starting a running practice or from running more. Although it’s logical to believe that pounding the ground would be hard on knees, let’s look at the facts. Research published from numerous scientific sources shows no evidence that runners are prone to knee cartilage loss or more knee issues due to running. Some studies show that running lessens inflammation in the knees and thus protects the knees against osteoarthritis, the most common form of knee arthritis.

However, this myth remains controversial with strong views on both sides. Humans were born to run, but not born to run on concrete, and multiple factors contribute to knee health. To maintain healthy knees, take into consideration the surface on which you are running. Is it a hard surface that does not give? Is it an uneven surface? Running on uneven, hard surfaces can damage knees. Furthermore, to help maintain knee health, make sure to wear the correct running shoes.

Running Myth #2 – You burn the same amount of calories walking as you do running.

This belief, especially coupled with the running myth “running is bad on your knees,” has many people choosing a walk over a run. Even though every step counts towards health, it is simply not true that walks and runs burn the same amount of calories. Due to the intensity of running, mile for mile, running burns up to 25% more calories than walking. Why? Running has an afterburn effect which leads to the post-workout benefit of continued caloric expenditure. 

Running Myth #3 – You need to stretch before running.

This opinion is also very common, however, it is false. Stretching has not been shown to increase performance. Furthermore, stretching is not as beneficial before runs as most people think. Also, all stretches are not equal, and the type of stretch you do before runs matters. Static stretching before running may decrease performance by slowing start speed or increasing energy expenditure. So, it is best to warm up with dynamic stretches which actively mobilize the body. Keep the static stretches post-workout.

Running Myth #4 – You cannot progress without running every day.

Although running can be addictive, you do not have to run every day to see progress. Taking a day or two off will not decrease your running performance; it may increase it.  Furthermore, taking time off is necessary to recover and avoid overtraining that can lead to injury. Even running only once or twice a week is enough to see improvement – albeit slower. However, slow and steady still wins the race!

Running Myth #5 – You should carb load before a race.

Many runners believe it is best to load up on carbs before a race. Yes, carb loading is a way for your muscles to store glycogen (an energy source), but going overboard is not optimal. What is not stored as glycogen is stored as fat. It is good practice to diversify carbohydrates (yes, there is more to life than pasta), and instead of slamming the body with extra carbs all at once, start increasing carbs gradually – up to seven days before a race. Furthermore, diabetic runners should take extra care with the practice of carb-loading, and while training and running, keep in mind the Spibelt insulin pump belt or the Dual Pocket Pro for carrying extra supplies. 

The above are some top myths about running, and most of them are false. Despite the misperceptions, running is a great cardio exercise. You can help demystify the world of running by considering joining a local running group or follow SPIbelt Ambassadors to learn more about their day-to-day and running goals.

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