Byline: GU
Story by GU

Myth busting for runners

What we need to consider..

The London Marathon is fast approaching as part of the International Marathon Season every year, it inspires many people to take up running.

Running, especially training for a marathon is all about preparation. Running is the most important physical component of almost any sport.
There are often many conflicting Do’s and Don’t’s, leaving many of us confused and concerned about how to take up running.

Here are a few of the most common myths to set the record straight on successful running whether you are training for a 5k or a marathon or running to keep yourself fit.

1. Myth – always stretch before a run

Getting your muscles loose and ready to run seems like a good idea but cold stretching tight muscles can actually slow you down and even cause injury.
You should do a light 5-10 minute jog to warm your muscles and get the blood flowing before trying to stretch.
Then go for your main run, gradually building up both speed and distance over time.
Stretching after helps reduce the build up of lactic acid which is what makes you feel stiff the next day after strenuous exercise, especially if your body is not used to it.
Keeping supple and activating your muscles during long periods of inactivity (such as sitting at your desk or driving your car) will help prevent stiffness.

2. Myth – Running will cause rapid weight loss

Running can be a very effective way to lose weight but you will not necessarily get instant or dramatic results. However, if you learn to run effectively, you should see results within 30 days.
There are many ways to run – long slow, quick short runs, sprints, all have different impacts on your metabolism and indeed your appetite. Weight loss comes from a calorific debt and to run effectively you need to fuel your body so be aware that you are getting the balance right to ensure you stay energised, strong and healthy.
To lose weight you need to raise your heart rate which will increase your metabolism and burn calories. As running is deemed high intensity interval training, your body will continue to burn calories after your exercise is finished.

3. Myth – Running is the only exercise I need

Running does not necessarily provide a total body workout. It will need to be supported by weight and resistance training, to strengthen posture and muscles making for a more efficient, effective and injury resistant runner.
Mix it up! High intensity interval training will help raise your metabolism, Strength training will promote lean muscle and support joints, combing shorter fast runs and long slow runs will improve your pace and stamina.
A varied approach to running training will make things more enjoyable and reduce the risk of boredom for both your body and mind.

4. Myth – its ok to skip a run if you are tired

Plan to rest, don’t just skip training. If you are tired and feeling fatigued take a few easy training days but it’s not a good idea to skip planned sessions. By undertaking a gentler training session, will get the blood flowing, the mind working and the body can recover through gentle exercise. Missing a session can leave you feeling like a failure.

5. Myth – Running is bad for your joints

Running is not bad for you. Running badly is bad for you! Good technique, the right running shoes to support your feet and a progressive training plan are all important to ensure you avoid risk of injury.
Running can improve bone density and helps prevent the onset of osteoporosis and arthritis.

A little note regarding correct footwear. If you are serious about running, then you may wish to purchase your running shoes from a specialist store, as opposed to your generic trainer shop. From a specialist they will take into consideration and assess the length of your legs, the shape of your feet and the depth of your arches. As this can affect the way you run.

Also be aware of the type of surface you will be running on; grass is more forgiving than the pavement.

Whether you are new to running or a seasoned pro take it one mile at a time to give yourself time to adjust mentally and physically to any new level of activity.
Remember if in doubt always consult your doctor or specialist before embarking on any new exercise regime.

Thanks to Louise Whelan and Kieron Vorster of Fit8 studios, revolutionising the industry's approach to #physiotherapy, #injuryrehabilitation, #personalfunctionaltraining.

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