Tuesday, February 27, 2024

9 Ways Running Could Be Slowing You Down

Running Will Ruin Your Knees

knee running

There is a good chance you have heard that running will wreck your knees. This is one of the most pervasive running myths. The truth is that running has the potential to strengthen the knees and cause minor deterioration. Sure, each stride results in a pounding of the pavement yet the knees are built to absorb this impact. Though excessive running can eventually wear away at cartilage, those who run in moderation with the proper form will not suffer debilitating arthritis. A recent study shows that runners are actually less likely to suffer from arthritis than those who walk. All in all, the study’s results show that the arthritis risk posed to runners is half that of the risk posed to walkers. Part of the reason why runners are less prone to arthritis is that running decreases body mass index better than walking. Runners’ comparably lower body weight is critically important to warding off arthritis.

Be Sure to eat Carbohydrates Before Competing in a Race

eat carbs before running

Pounding a plate of spaghetti before a race is not a good idea. Though carbohydrates certainly fuel the body and taste fantastic, it is not necessary to eat a large amount before participating in a race. Carbohydrates replenish the muscles’ glycogen levels and boost energy. However, you can obtain such a boost with a moderate amount of carbohydrates. The little known truth is that muscles can hold a limited amount of glycogen. Additional glycogen stored beyond this amount will be turned into fat. So go ahead and load up on carbohydrates the week before your race but don’t overload on them the night before or the day of your race. Instead, try to consume a healthy diet with diverse colors and nutrients.

Failing to Stretch Will Lead to Injury

stretch before running

Most runners perform extensive stretching before they pound pavement. However, stretching is not as important as most assume. Failing to stretch before a run will not guarantee an avoidance of injuries or a failure to recover in a timely manner. Take a look at this Cochrane research network review and you will see that stretching has minimal, if any, impact on decreasing soreness. Admittedly, stretching is quite difficult to study due to the impact of variables like a runner’s fitness level, terrain undulation, sneaker quality and so on. Yet all of the evidence shows that stretching before a run is not nearly as important as most assume.

Heel-Striking is Bad

heel striking is bad running

The average person does not sprint at full speed throughout his run. As a result, it is possible to heel-strike with each stride. Heel-striking has been lambasted by running publications and runners for years. Yet the truth is that heel-striking might actually be more efficient than landing on the forefront of the foot. A study performed by the University of Massachusetts showed that heel-striking was 6 percent more efficient than striking on the forefoot or mid-section of the foot. The bottom line is that heel-striking is perfectly fine if it feels natural to you.

Strength Training is not Necessary for Runners

strength training nor necessary for running

Simply running a few miles every other day will not suffice. Eventually, you will plateau. Sure, you will burn calories yet running alone will not boost your performance or muscle strength. It is imperative that you incorporate strength training to enhance your muscles and joints. The strength and reliability of these muscles will prove essential in your quest to boost your performance and ward off injuries. Ask any experienced runner who engages in strength training whether he believes that such activity has reduced his odds of injury and he will respond in the affirmative. This does not mean you have to go all out on the weights several times a week. Rather, mixing in a few functional training sessions once or twice per week will suffice. Engage in push-ups, squats, lunges and other body-weight exercises in addition to your running and your performance will undoubtedly improve.

Trails are the Best Places to Run

trails best place for running

This statement is completely false. Though the dirt on trail pathways is often soft, the truth is that surface hardness makes little difference. Nearly every runner will intentionally land softer when running on a hard surface. Alternatively, most runners will land a bit harder when traversing a soft surface. Unlike running tracks, trails are littered with sticks, pine cones, animal waste and other obstacles that can result in a sprained ankle or other injury. Run on a trail and you will have to constantly dodge these objects and maneuver undulating terrain. Stick to the track or a level soccer field for your laps and you will be able to squarely focus on your running performance.

You can Avoid Injuries by Running Barefoot

avoid injuries by running barefoot
Stuart Jenner

The above statement is a bald-faced lie. Barefoot running is not practical. Furthermore, it is painful and actually heightens the odds of injury for many runners. Barefoot running certainly feels natural yet the vast majority of people require a running sneaker’s support to guard against injuries. Even if you find a large patch of grass, running on it for an extensive period of time without footwear will likely harm your joints.

Running at a High Frequency Will Improve Your Running Performance

running high frequency improves performance

The economic law of diminishing marginal returns also applies to running. If you over-pursue running, your performance will inevitably decline. In some instances, running too frequently will cause injuries that prevent you from exercising for days, weeks, months or even longer. Focus on quality running sessions rather than extensive running sessions. Always give yourself time to recover in between runs. If you feel sore or any type of pain, take as much time off as necessary to fully recuperate.

Running is Fun!

running is fun

Running does a lot of good things for your body. Yet those who claim that running is fun are stretching the truth. Sure, the first couple of laps around the track might feel invigorating yet running is rarely enjoyable. The bottom line is that running is hard work. Deep down, you know that you do not want to run yet you understand its importance to your physical health. Finishing a long run is certainly satisfying yet it is not fun.