With the popularity of running on the rise, many of us are left to navigate its complex and often confusing domain filled with its conflicting advice and opinions about the do’s and don’ts. Topics such as stretching, diet, and proper gear have been exhausted to a mess of contrasting information where it becomes difficult to select the most effective route. No two runners are the same, and therefore the “perfect” routine of one athlete might differ from the choices that are best for you and your lifestyle. Let’s take a look at some common myths about running that you might have heard and get to the truth about them.
Stretching is an important part of any avid runner’s preparation. It can help reduce the risk of certain injuries such as muscle pulls. While often immensely helpful, the importance of stretching is often drastically overemphasized in the running community. Overstretching can actually hurt you rather than help you in many cases. Stable and strong joints are the most important things keeping you safe and healthy on your run. Joints that have been overworked by excessive stretching can actually be rendered weaker and less stable by this bad habit. Weaker joints equal a higher risk of injury, so it’s better to look out for your joint health preemptively than have to deal with an injury later on. Joint health is crucial to a healthy running routine, so make sure that you’re staying informed about options to better your capabilities. Follow a light stretching routine and know your limits to avoid overstretching crucial muscles and therefore weakening your joints.
The latest trend in the running community is running barefoot, or as close to barefoot as possible. Companies have even begun producing running shoes that work to imitate the experience of barefoot running. Humans were running around for hundreds of years barefoot before shoes were a societal necessity, so why can’t we return to that simplicity? Well, in this new modern era that we exist in, technology has developed new gear that enhances performance while decreasing the stress on your body. Running puts a tremendous amount of impact on the body, especially your feet, and barefoot running only maximizes this damage. Running barefoot takes away the support and cushion of a more traditional running shoe and leaves the body vulnerable to injury.
Eating pasta before a big race or marathon has become a beloved tradition in the running community. The extra carbs have been rumored to help energy levels stay high throughout your run. The entire procedure often leaves runners feeling more sluggish or sick to their stomachs rather than the intended effect. So why do we do this? It’s true that loading up on carbs is an important aspect of every runner’s diet, but right before a race is not the time to double down on heavy foods like pasta. Instead, it’s suggested that you maintain your regular diet for shorter races to ensure that your stomach remains in prime condition. As for longer races, high carb, but low fiber foods such as bananas, will provide you with the energy that carbs provide without the queasiness that high fiber can bring. Small swaps such as this can make a massive difference in your overall well-being and efficiency as a runner.
Your overall health is the most important thing as a runner, so it’s no surprise that we’re all always searching for the perfect routine. The truth is, is that there is no one “perfect” routine that will work for every runner. It’s important to do proper research and learn all that you can, but then also take that information and tailor it to your needs and lifestyle. Work towards increasing efficiency and decreasing your risk of injury to better your entire regimen. Keep these three things in mind when your developing your ideal routine to maximize your full running potential!
To keep your body in peak running condition, or to book an appointment with a sports medicine specialist today, visit The Woodlands Sports Medicine Center.