Running is one of the most popular sports in Germany. Almost 6 million Germans of all age groups regularly put on their running shoes. This sport owes its popularity at home and abroad in part to the ease with which it is practiced. All you need is a pair of sneakers (and some say not even that). As simple as it may seem to run at first glance, it is anything but easy. Because no matter how long you’ve been running, it’s a tough sport. And that’s why there are a lot of opinions and myths about how to run to make it easier for you.
Myth #1 Running hurts your joints
This can happen if you increase your training speed from 0 to 100 in a few months, if the shoes do not adapt to your stride or if you have an individual predisposition or factors that favor the appearance of joint problems.
If not, there are studies that show that running favors the supply of nutrients to the joint cartilage. This is the protective mass that prevents two bones from rubbing against each other. Joint cartilage also grows with your tasks, and according to studies, there is no evidence that runners have a higher risk of arthritis than other people.
Although it is not entirely wrong to think that running a lot can put a load on the hips, knees, and ankles, especially if you tend to run on solid surfaces such as concrete. If you run regularly, build up the volume and intensity little by little instead of making big mileage increases, all in the interest of maintaining good technique. Hit the gym regularly to work your core and leg muscles, especially your glutes, which can protect and support your joints. Are you looking for training?
Myth #2 Stretching prevents soreness
It isn’t true. The best prevention of muscular discomfort is to finish the race by slowing down gently. This favors the breakdown of lactate and the elimination of other metabolic residues. Lactate is the salt of lactic acid, which is produced to a greater extent during intense exercise and causes your muscles to over-acidify. When “legs burn” and tire quickly, lactate is involved. This process can take place independently of muscle soreness, but the two often go hand in hand, especially in beginning runners. Increased lactate production can increase your recovery time.
By the way, it doesn’t work to eliminate shoelaces by running. If you train with sore muscles, you will add more injuries to their structures, overload them, and increase the risk of injury. Fortunately, our editorial team has some great advice on how to get rid of shoelaces.
The only way to avoid them is to take everything more calmly and/or run less. If long distances are your goal, but you still want to avoid soreness, plan for a longer training time and steadily increase training intensity or volume by no more than 10% per week. Although the laces are not so bad either. And, of course, good mental training, because the marathon will not be a piece of cake either.
More on this: If you think “only soreness leads to muscle growth”, you’ve bought another myth. You can read here what all this is about.
Myth #3 You only burn fat after 30 minutes
The burning of fats starts from the first step. Although initially it only represents a small fraction of the energy used. The longer you train in the aerobic zone, the more energy your body will get from fat.
Aerobic training means that the body uses oxygen to convert fats and carbohydrates into available energy for running.
In anaerobic training, you run – simply put – too fast for your body to have time to use oxygen for energy conversion. So fat is too slow as a carrier of energy, so the body only burns carbohydrates.
Myth #4 The longer the better
There is a persistent myth among long-distance racing newcomers that success is all about racking up the miles.
In fact, long and slow distance runs are important, as well as a high and reasonably planned weekly mileage in relation to the target distance. But it is also true that (ultra)marathoners also need short, fast runs to increase their basic speed and create a good tolerance for monotony for long distance.
Myth #5 Strength training makes you slow
The truth is the opposite. Strength training is a prerequisite for good running technique, it reduces the risk of injury and allows you to train more effectively and perform better. The ideal for runners is functional training.
However, we have to admit a bit of truth to this myth: Lots of muscles trained for maximum strength, bodybuilding, or the like make running more difficult than easy.
Myth #6 Walking doesn’t count
Everyone has started small, and walk breaks are an integral part of (re)starting running and a sign of smart training planning. Walking breaks are safe for the joints, protect against overuse injuries, work on your endurance, and therefore allow you to train more efficiently.
Running with walk breaks is a form of interval training that is known for its great afterburn effect and its positive influence on speed and increased performance. Find out how interval training can help you run faster.
Myth #7 It is essential to stretch before running
This myth is clearly false. By now, sports researchers know that static stretching reduces muscle tone and thus performance. If stretching before running feels good to you, opt for dynamic stretching. In them, you move slowly during the stretch, while in static stretches you maintain an almost immobile position.
However, stretching after running or as an isolated training session is an integral part of any running training. Simply because it balances the race by releasing the muscular tension that you have accumulated during the exercise. What is that about? You can check it out in our definitive guide to mobility and stretching for runners.
Myth #8 Running is the best sport to lose weight
Here too there is a grain of truth. Running burns a lot of calories, since in half an hour of medium-fast jogging an 80 kg man can burn approx. 400 calories Jogging is also practical. You simply put on your slippers, walk out the front door, and you’re good to go. However, running alone will not help you achieve your dream body in the long run. Strength training increases your basal metabolic rate in the long term and makes you fitter. The combination of HIIT training and running is a guarantee of success.
Myth #9 Running in the rain increases your risk of catching a cold
In autumn or winter temperatures, this myth is the preferred excuse for lazy runners. Cold viruses spread mostly indoors, and the cold doesn’t make you sick if you’re otherwise healthy. But while running on a cool, humid day won’t make you sick, there are other precautions to keep in mind. It’s important to warm up your muscles before you start running, for example with a few squats, make sure you’re wearing the right clothing, and don’t get cold after running.
Myth #10 The more cushioning the better
This running myth concerns the cushioning of running shoes and is slowly losing its popularity. The cushioning is usually justified, especially for heavy runners. But basically, it leads us to run with heels, especially in combination with a high drop, rather than with less cushioned shoes. When it comes to cushioning, it’s important to find exactly the shoe that’s right for you. Better with professional advice at a running shoe store. These tips will help you find the right running shoes.
Myth #11 Minimalist shoes are the best running shoes
Each myth also has its counterpart. In this case, only barefoot running is really running. Basically, minimalist or five-finger shoes might be great for some people, while others feel more comfortable in shoes that offer more cushioning and stability. If you want to switch to minimalist shoes, you should gradually get your feet used to it over a few years. Until then, you’ll benefit from the protection and support that a properly cushioned running shoe offers, especially on longer or more intense runs. It’s all in the mix!
Myth #12 Running is boring
It isn’t true. Running has a lot of potentials: new routes, playing with the ABCs of running and with different rhythms, listening to podcasts, chatting about running with friends, or that pending phone call with your family. So take advantage of your runs.