Myths about running

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My life right now revolves around running. I have started training for the full marathon… more about it in another post. It is too early to talk about FM (full marathon). Specially because am freaking out and terribly nervous. I have to run 28 km in 2 days this weekend- 10 km on Saturday and 18 km on Sunday and that is making me jittery. The 18 km run is the only thing on my mind 24/7 these days. The maximum distance I have run is 21 km and there has been considerable period of rest before and after the run. 28 km in 2 days is my Everest right now.

I have also joined a running group and there is constant chatter on WhatsApp about running throughout the day. Migma (a running acquaintance- more on this in the FM post) and I chat daily on our runs. It feels good to be part of a community…. there is always someone ready to offer advice or lend a ear.

I thought I should do a post on some of the absurd myths I have come across:

Myth 1: Shoes are the most important part of running

Reality : All juvenile runners think that. As you become more and more serious about running, shoes become inconsequential. Shoes don’t matter. Whether your shoes cost 2k or 5k or 10k, your running pace and distance don’t depend on them at all. I bought my Nike shoes when the Puma ones gave way last year. I have run 416 km in them this year itself and probably 100-200 km last year. They are still going strong and I am not too keen on buying new ones. Shoes are the last thing you should care about. If they did matter, barefoot (running without shoes and socks) running wouldn’t be a big trend these days.

Note to self- Try barefoot running in 2016

Myth 2: Running makes you lose weight

Reality : I burn 1600 calories in a half marathon (21.1 km). I need to burn 3500 calories to lose 1 kg of weight. So, running 21 km burns less than 500 gm. And then if I go and eat desserts and fatty foods, I will easily gain back that 500 gm. So, only running will not help burn that fat. I run in addition to strength training and yoga. Running is just one part of my workout. It is not the only thing I do. And neither should anyone else. Weight and fat loss is more about the food we eat than about exercise.

Myth 3: When people say “you don’t look like a runner”

Reality : What I would like to say “Yeah well, I don’t like to carry around my 5-6 medals” but am mostly non-bitchy at the gym and very nice to the trainers. I come across runners in all shapes and sizes. Your running pace and stamina does not depend on weight. It depends on fitness. And honestly, just because someone can run long distances does not mean they can do push ups. My respect is higher for people who can do push ups and pull ups because that is the correct measure of fitness. Again, you can be fit and yet “look” fat… and you can be thin but be extremely unfit and have “fat”. On Saturday, I met a ultra marathoner who is short and has a huge pot belly. It does not matter.

Myth 4 : You need running gels for energy

Shashank Pundir (ultra marathoner) debunked this myth today. I was asking him about running gels- if I need them, which brand I should try and where can I buy them. He told me he does not take gels. He carries an energy bar or chocolate or figs during his runs and eats them at regular intervals. Great!!! I just saved money.

Myth 5 : You should run everyday

Reality : Run as often as you want to or your schedule allows you to. I know a marathon runner who only runs 2 days a week. I was running 3 days a week with swimming on alternate days. I upped it to 4 days a week and my current training plan has 5 days/week (initial plan had 6 days but I cut out 1 day). Running more does not make you a better runner. Speed runs, tempo runs, interval runs, hill repeats (more on all of these once am halfway through my training) make you run better and faster.

Some people run for the pleasure of it. While others are training for the next half/full/ultra marathon. How much you run and what kind of a run it is depends on why you are running.

Myth 6 : Running is bad for your knees… back… etc etc etc

Reality : Few weeks before ADHM, a trainer at Fitness First was helping me with weighted squats. I still don’t have the form correct because one side of my leg is more stiff than the other side. He asked me to stop running because that would only acerbate the issue. He was right. I screwed up my knee at SCMM and in March’15 had foot pain for no reason at all. But, I did not stop running. I got physiotherapy treatments done, started stretching more, added yoga for flexibility to my training and started foam rolling. Everyone can run…. you just have to want it badly enough.

Myth 7 : If you take a break from running, you will lose your stamina

Reality : I take a break from running when it gets boring or I just don’t feel like running. The first run after a break I end up pushing  myself more. There is a sudden spurt in energy and I feel energized. It also reminds me why I love to run and what I missed out on during the break.

That’s it, people. Do add if you think there is something I missed.



4 thoughts on “Myths about running

  1. I really cant comment anything on it , as I don’t have any experience for any of it. But I like the post. 😉 and there is no liking button . 😛

  2. In my opinion it is either “barefoot” or “with the right shoe” running. if you are wearing shoes then it better be the right pair and not just any shoe. There is no one right-shoe-for-all.
    I can tell you from experience that right shoes are important for running long distance (21 kms). Every body works differently and bulkier and stiff soled shoes cause pronation problem in my case. Also, I am flat footed which has its own problems with the wrong kind of shoe.

    The most common myth around shoes is that some brands can make you run faster.

    Yes, gels are not important but I found eating a chocolate/ energy/ protein bar too cumbersome while running. The gels are easier to use and get absorbed in no time ( especially because I don’t like the taste of Glucon-d/ enerzal)

    A few more from my side:

    1. Running in winters will damage your lungs
    2. Stretching for hours before running
    3. The distance runners should perform strength training on your rest or recovery days – Heard this a couple of times and rubbished it. Hahahhahahaha

    Looking forward to more running related posts.

  3. Runner from the economically weaker sections do not have access to expensive shoes, clothes, garmin watches and running gels and yet they run long distances. Why do we need all of this? Because it is a whole industry created to earn money. I saw Milind Soman running in torn shoes and torn clothes. If he does not need good quality shoes, why do we? Pronation is about how someone runs and not about what kind of shoes one wears.
    The more run I run, the less I care about the shoes and clothes I wear for running.

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