4 Running Myths

"I can't run because …" Regardless of how old or out of shape you are, you can probably run. Even if you have health problems, you can probably run. Of course, confirm that with your doctor. You'll probably be surprised to learn you're capable of more than you realize. Running doesn't have to be synonymous with sprinting, competing, or travelling long distances. Beginners can start slowly and build running into their routines over time. Walk a bit, run a bit, repeat. Gradually increase the duration of your runs. Eventually, you may opt to cut out walking entirely. Your goal is to improve and the only one you need to race against is your personal best.

Myth # 1: Running Kills Your Knees

It's true that each step a runner takes exerts a force in excess of a runner's body weight on the knee joints. Everyone knows running is the worst thing you can do for your knees, right? Wrong. According to Johns Hopkins University researchers, running doesn't appear to increase knee problems in healthy people and might even protect against joint degeneration. Another study concluded that joint damage in runners is mitigated because runners take longer strides than walkers and their feet touch the ground less often than walkers going the same difference.

Myth #2: More is Better

Why run 5 miles when you can run 10? Why run 5 days a week when you can run 7? More is actually not better. There's no need to run long distances unless you're training for a long-distance event like a half or full marathon. Even then, distance runs should be the exception not the norm. If you run to stay in shape or lose weight, shorter runs during which you exert maximum effort are more effective. Similarly, running daily isn't necessary -- or advisable. Repeating the same exercise daily puts you at risk for overuse injuries like torn cartilage and bone fractures. Let your body rest and swim, bike, or do yoga a couple days a week.

Myth #3: More Food is Fine

Studies confirm what seems obvious: you'll torch far more calories running than you will walking. It's true that running at an intense pace can burn more than 800 calories per hour. Unfortunately it's not true that runners can eat whatever and whenever they want and not gain weight. If you up your food intake in step with your runs, you're cancelling out running's calorie-burning benefits.

Myth #4: The Treadmill Doesn't Count

Despite common belief, running on a treadmill - even without increasing the incline - is just as effective as running outside. Just ask any of the many marathoners with competitive finish times who say they train for their races almost exclusively on treadmills.

 

Now that you know the truth about running, run on over to a Sport Chek to outfit yourself with the clothes and running shoes you'll need to hit the road! Every mile you log brings you closer to your fitness goals.

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