Along with the interest in running, the number of myths about it inevitably grows. While there is no doubt, for example, that running is good for you, in parallel false myths are generated that it would give far more benefits than it does or even that it is bad for you. In short, a constant of popularity seems to be confirmed: the higher it is, the more rumors about what is popular go uncontrolled. Nor can running escape this ruthless rule.
So let’s see what are some of these myths that-alas or fortunately, in some cases-are not true.
1. Running makes you slim
I can already feel you jumping on your chair. “What are you saying? You always say it makes you thin!“. This is true and we confirm it but we wanted to start with something strong. The more correct formulation is “Running does not make you lose weight as much as other sports.” Sounds better?
As always, everything is relative: if you have always lived a sedentary life and have been running for 6 months, it is almost mathematical that you have lost weight. On the other hand, if you have been running for 6 years, it is likely that you have not seen such noticeable effects on your weight for some time. And luckily, we should say: if you’d keep on losing weight, that would be a problem! Let’s say that running helps you to lose weight, and then it helps you control the weight and keep it checked.
Other sports, however, are more effective for losing weight: cardio training, HIIT, crossfit, and generally all high-intensity disciplines are more effective in this regard. Running, let us never forget, is a low-intensity but high-endurance sport: this means that you practice it while maintaining a constant but not very high effort (except in a race) for a long time.
2. Running fast is better than running slow
First of all, “What’s the rush?” Also: will we ever stop this time madness? Let’s start to think that time says nothing about the runner’s skills. The distance and the consistency a runner can afford tell a much more interesting story: that, in the long run, about building the runner’s endurance.
What is more important, however, is to alternate workouts: enriching the build-up of preparation with both fast, technical workouts and longer, more relaxed ones in which you train endurance is the right mix to find a balance.
Also, never forget that the faster you run, the more you expose yourself to injuries. In short, the measurement of time changes: no longer about the timeframe but instead it’s about the duration.
3. Running is bad for your joints
Hold on: this is one of the most frequently used arguments by those who advise against running. Since joints are used to practice it, then it can only hurt them. From this point of view, everything hurts, even to the point of arguing-even rightly, mind you-that living is deadly. Indeed it’s like that: you cannot die unless you have lived in the first place. But paradoxes aside, how much of that is true? It is undeniable that joints are involved in running, at least as much as it is true that, in running, you use not only those but also your muscles. Unlike joints-which eventually, like anything subject to wear and tear, wear out-muscles can change in volume, especially when you train them and thus they get stronger. In other words, while you are strengthening your muscles, you’re also unloading the joints. The more you exercise, therefore, the more your muscles strengthen and the more load they take off your joints.
4. You need to change your shoes every 500 km
The truth about this is that there is no definite rule, or rather: it depends on the type of midsole, the sole (which is a different thing from the midsole) and your running technique Let’s put it into a bullet list:
- The material (foam) of the midsole also defines its durability. The extremely reactive foam used in recent years in faster shoes generally have faster decay, while good old EVA lasts longer.
- The material used in the outsole also defines its durability. Those with added materials that increase their strength for example are more durable
- The posture assumed during running (overpronation, neutral, etc.) also defines the wear of the outsole.
In this regard, it is good practice to “feel” the shoe. Inevitably its mechanical and elastic qualities will deteriorate over time, but in this regard it is more important to understand when a midsole is deteriorated (i.e., has lost its elastic characteristics).
Next, an often overlooked parameter is the age of the shoe: given the same model and material, a shoe with more miles but younger may behave mechanically better than one with fewer miles but older. In fact, midsole foams change not only with use but also with age, because their composition and elastic response are affected by exposure to air. The longer it is-regardless of use-the more likely it is that their dynamic response will be compromised.
5. If you are overweight, you can’t run
There are slow runners and fast runners, and there are also slow lean runners and faster sturdier runners. However, it is generally true that, with due caution and a great deal of patience, being overweight is not an overriding factor in whether or not to run. It can be done even if the state of physical fitness is not excellent, as long as you do not overdo it and do not demand too much too soon.
Running also teaches patience and the value of time: as often in life, you can’t have everything right away and you can’t start at top speed to get something done.
You have to play the long game, that is, having in mind that results will be reaped after a long time. It takes perseverance and patience, but the important thing is to maintain focus and know what is the goal you are aiming for.
In many cases, the best goal to set is to run for the sake of running. And everything else will follow.