Running is possibly the most popular form of exercise in the country! From marathons to 5Ks to Iron Man races to jogging in the park, millions of people around the country spend hours every week running or jogging. But are they doing it right? It’s amazing how many people don’t understand the truth about running. Here are a few silly myths about running a surprising number of people tend to believe:
Myth #1: Keep it Moderate
Jogging is the best way to lose weight, right? After all, you can jog for up to an hour without burning out, and you’re burning calories all that time. Sorry to say, but that’s wrong! While jogging does burn calories, it doesn’t burn fat–mostly muscle and blood sugar. If you really want to shred fat, you need to kick the intensity up a notch. Or a few notches, by doing sprint training. The key to burning a lot of calories of fat is to mix periods of high intensity running with lower intensity walking or jogging. This keeps your body burning glucose, but it also builds muscle and burns fat. At least 20% of your workout should be at 90% intensity, and the rest at 60 to 75% of your Max BP.
Myth #2: Stretch Easy before Running
It’s amazing how many people spend their time warming up using static stretches before they run. Static stretches are the most common way of warming up before a run, but they’re also the least effective type of warm-up. Those hamstrings stretches, standing knee pulls, and arm stretches aren’t going to help you run better; in fact, they may even decrease the effectiveness of your run. Static stretches decrease endurance performance, as they cause your body to try to “protect” your muscles from being over-stretched. The result is reduced muscle function, all because you stretched the wrong way. If you’re going to warm up before a run, spend 2 to 5 minutes walking, then get into the run.
Myth #3: There is Only One Way to Run
Contrary to popular opinion, there is no “one right way” to do anything. Your body is slightly different from the person running or walking next to you, so what works for them may not work for you. Yes, you do need to try to keep your head up, back straight, and breathe through your mouth, but there’s no “one right way” to run. Your body knows what works to help you run properly, so listen to it as you start to run. Find what feels right for you in terms of gait, stride, and posture, and run with that!
Myth #4: You Need a Certain Type of Running Shoe
We’ve all heard runners bragging about how they use a certain type of running shoe: stability shoe, minimalist shoe, padded shoe, and the list goes on. But what works for them may not be your best option. In fact, you may end up wearing the wrong shoes, all because you listened to someone else. Find a pair of running shoes that feels comfortable and works well, and go with that. Don’t be caught up in trends or peer pressure, but run in the shoe that’s right for YOU!
Myth #5: Cool Down at the End
If you’re doing a cool down lap, you’re wasting your time! Warm-ups will help to stop you from being sore after your workout, but cool downs won’t do more than help your body cool off after a tough workout. You won’t increase flexibility or mobility, improve your heart rate, or promote muscle growth. You don’t NEED a cool down after your workout.