Expensive shoes will make me a better runner
Year after year the big manufacturers come out with extremely expensive running shoes packed with ‘all new technology’ that they claim will make you run faster than ever before. Sadly this isn’t always true. Whilst bargain-brand running shoes should be avoided, there is no evidence to show that top of the line running shoes are any better than mid-range ones.
A University of Newcastle study could find no conclusive link between expensive running shoes and injury prevention or better running performance. Instead of simply buying the most expensive pair you see, head to a specialist running store where you’ll be able to get an expert’s honest opinion on the right shoe for your running style.
I need to stretch before every run
If there’s one thing every amateur runner is sure of, it’s that you should do some stretches before you run, right? Wrong. Far from warming you up for your run and loosening up your muscles, stretching pre-run can actually increase injury risk and reduce running efficiency.
According to research carried out at Florida State University, stretching cold muscles before a run reduces efficiency by about five per cent when compared with a light cardiovascular warm up. The main aim of a warm up is to get oxygen flowing to your muscles, which you can do with some brisk walking or very light jogging.
I’m too old to be a runner
Think you’re too old to take up running? Fauja Singh would like a word with you. At the age of 100 Fauja became the world’s oldest marathon runner when he finished the 2011 Toronto Waterfront Marathon with a time of 8:11:06. It’s not as if he had been running all his life either – Fauja only started seriously training for the sport when he was 89 following the death of his son.
Although running does get harder with age, that’s not to say you can’t still do it successfully. If you are an older runner try using a walk/run tactic to give yourself some recovery periods mid-session.
If I’m careful I’ll never get injured
Whilst warming up correctly, wearing the right gear and avoiding overtraining are all great ways to boost your chances, there is no sure-fire way to avoid running injuries no matter what anyone tells you. According to research by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, around 70 per cent of all runners will suffer some form of injury during their training.
The most common area for these injuries is the knee, closely followed by the Achilles, shins and heels. That means if you do get injured there’s no need to beat yourself up about it. Simply rest, recover, and get back to training when you’re ready.
Running is the only exercise I need
Ever since the running revolution of the 60’s and 70’s, jogging has been put on a pedestal as some sort of exclusive miracle exercise. There’s no doubting that jogging is great for you, but if it’s all you’re doing then you’re not getting the full benefits.
Adding other exercises into your routine will offer up a whole host of body-boosts, including muscle balancing, injury prevention, and cardiovascular development. If you still don’t believe us, Stanford University researchers found that runners who also play ball sports suffer from 50 per cent less stress fractures than those who don’t.
I don’t have time to run today
When you hear about people doing 15-mile plus training runs in the lead up to a marathon you could be forgiven for thinking that running is a sport that you simply don’t have time for. There’s no denying that long runs are beneficial, but they certainly aren’t the be all and end all of running.
By focussing on the quality of your training, there are plenty of great running sessions you can do in under an hour, or even on your lunch break at work. For example, try a 45 minute interval session with an easy 10 minute warm up followed by blocks of five minutes of hard running with three minutes light jogging as a recovery.
I should carbo-load before every race
If you’re sitting down to a mountain of pasta the night before a 5k fun run, the only thing it’s going to do is make you feel bloated and lethargic when you’re trying to run. Carbo-loading should only be reserved for half marathon races and above, otherwise you’ll see more drawbacks than you will benefits.
Carbo-loading efficiently is about more than eating as much as humanly possible the night before. The best formula to follow is to consume around 8-10g of carbohydrate per kilogram of your body weight during a carbo-loading period. For a runner weighing 70kg, that is roughly between 560g and 700g of carbs.