5 Running Myths Debunked Once And For All

5 Running Myths Debunked Once And For All

Learning how to run can be overwhelming.  And for every positive article about the benefits of running, you can find another article officially declaring how running is “bad for you” in one way or another.  But are they right?

Over the past 5 years that I’ve been running and racing, I’ve heard it all. “I can’t run because of (insert myth here)”.   And so many people that I’ve tried to encourage to start running don’t because of all of the misconceptions.  It really is a shame.

If you’ve never run before, getting started can seem very intimidating!  And even when you become more experienced, you’ll hear the craziest things from people who may want to discourage you from running.

But you’ve got to know the facts before you turn away from a form of fitness that could completely transform your life.  Here are 5 of the biggest running myths you may have heard, officially busted!

1- If you’re a runner, you can’t walk

There is a common misconception that if you’re a runner, you must run for your entire distance or it “doesn’t count”.  This is something that even more experienced runners seem to believe.  Good news:  it’s false!

Many beginner running programs will include a run/walk interval that will gradually transition you from walking to only running.  But even if you don’t fully make that transition, you are still a runner!

Believe it or not, walking can actually help you run farther and sometimes run faster!  Giving yourself the freedom to walk when you want or need to will encourage you to stay active and stick with running.  And taking a couple of minutes to walk before picking up your speed again can really give you a nice boost.

Still skeptical? The Galloway program created by Jeff Galloway over 40 years ago has been followed by hundreds of thousands of people who successfully race using run/walk intervals.  This could be a great way to ease into running and training for a race.

2 – If you can’t run 10 minutes a mile, you’re not a real runner

Here’s the truth:  there is no magic number that quantifies you as a runner.  Now, if you’re training for the Olympics, that’s a completely different story.  

But for the average runner, what business is it of anyone else whether you run a 12-minute mile or a 7-minute mile?  If you’re out there challenging yourself and enjoying it, does it really matter how fast you’re going?  The answer is no!  

There are runners who will probably never run a 10-minute pace and I can guarantee you that it hasn’t stopped them from going out there.  Personally, I can’t run a 10-minute pace regularly, but I will never give up the joy I have for running!  

Don’t worry about your pace or how you compare to other people.  If you consistently work on running, over time, you will get faster.  Accept where you are now and continue to work towards your goals.  

3- Running is bad for your knees

This is probably the most common misconception about running:  Running does not inherently damage your knees!  What can happen is that the impact of running can alert you to weaknesses in your knees, especially if you have muscular imbalances in the hips, quads, or hamstrings that cause you to add extra stress to your knees while running.  

Working on improving your running form and strength training with squats and lunges can help ease your knee pain and keep you running.    Here are some great tips on how to protect your knees.  

If you already have underlying knee issues, discuss with your doctor whether running could aggravate your condition.  Better yet, look into working with a specialist that regularly works with runners.  There may be options for you.

4 – Bigger people can’t run – there’s a specific “runner’s body”

Here’s the truth:  not only do you NOT have to run at a certain pace, you do NOT have to be a certain size to be a part of the running community.  Have you seen the Women’s Running  magazine cover with Erica Schenk, a plus-sized runner?  She is such an inspiration – and has been at it for over 10 years!  

There are plus-sized men and women who are running outside or on the treadmill every single day!  And if you’ve ever gone to watch a race,  you will see runners of all shapes and sizes. That’s the great thing about running – anyone can do it!

If you’re worried  that you won’t be able to run due to health reasons, be sure to see your doctor and discuss your concerns.  And if you’re shopping for running shoes, head to a specialty running store so that you can be fitted with the pair that will provide you with the right type of support.

Now when it comes to having a “runner’s body”, don’t believe the hype.  When you’re out running or at the gym, most people are so concerned with their own workouts that they won’t even notice you.  Everyone has insecurities and areas they wish they could improve.  Focus on your run and be proud that you’re able to do what you can.    Don’t ever feel that your body isn’t thin enough, good enough, or strong enough to be a runner.  

5 – You have to spend a fortune to be a “real” runner

$150 running shoes.  $200 GPS watch.  $100 running outfits.  $75 race entries.  Running can cost you a fortune before you even head out the door – but it doesn’t have to be this way!

The first marathon runners back in the day wore flimsy Chuck Taylor’s.  There was no Nike.  They didn’t have technical fabric.  And they weren’t constantly tracking their pace during a run.  And yet, they made history.  

Have you ever gone on a ski trip?  Have you seen some of the flashy outfits that people wear – bright-colored jackets, expensive goggles, super-fancy snowboards and skis?  Now, have you ever seen those same people fall flat on their face on the bunny hill?  

Just because they look good doesn’t mean they have any idea what they’re doing.  Don’t be fooled.  You can run in $60 sneakers, use a phone app to track your runs (or nothing at all), and shop for cheap running clothes at Marshall’s.  And Amazon always has great deals.  Running is actually one of the cheapest sports to get into – as long as you watch what you’re spending!   

Now that these 5 running myths have been effectively debunked, you should be well-equipped to start out on the right foot!  If you hear anyone saying these myths are true, let them know the real facts!  What are some of the craziest things you’ve heard about running?   

anelle Johnson is a runner and blogger at http://www.runwithnoregrets.com.

Janelle Johnson is a runner and blogger at http://www.runwithnoregrets.com.  For more running tips including race training, injury prevention, and healthy eating, sign up for the Run With No Regrets Newsletter.  

 

32 Replies to "5 Running Myths Debunked Once And For All"

  • comment-avatar
    Lynda
    Twitter:
    October 2, 2015 (10:06 am)

    Even though I know these are all myths, it sure was nice to read them and just remind myself. I have had some of these thoughts in my own head. I am going to continue my running and when I have an “off” day or a short run, I will still call myself a runner 🙂

    • comment-avatar
      Janelle
      Twitter:
      October 2, 2015 (3:12 pm)

      I’m glad you found this post helpful, Lynda! If you run, you’re a runner, it’s as simple as that! 🙂

    • comment-avatar
      Diatta
      Twitter:
      October 2, 2015 (4:02 pm)

      Because you are a runner.

  • comment-avatar
    Deborah
    Twitter:
    October 2, 2015 (3:02 pm)

    #2 is something we talk about a lot in our running group. As long as you move in a forward direction you are a runner!

    • comment-avatar
      Janelle
      Twitter:
      October 2, 2015 (3:14 pm)

      I do have to remind myself of this from time to time when someone on the trail flies past me, which is often, lol. We’re all out there doing our best, there is no magic number! You know once you get there, you’ll still want to be even better!

  • comment-avatar
    Marcia
    Twitter:
    October 2, 2015 (4:30 pm)

    Great myth debunking here! I wish so many people weren’t hung up on what a “real” runner is.

    • comment-avatar
      Janelle
      Twitter:
      October 3, 2015 (8:29 am)

      It holds so many people back! We have to work to bust those myths for them!

  • comment-avatar
    Artney
    Twitter:
    October 2, 2015 (6:20 pm)

    Many are afraid to get out there and try for all of the myths mentioned. This is so encouraging for so many people!

  • comment-avatar
    Wendy October 2, 2015 (8:44 pm)

    These are all great tips…and I do love that you’ve got Janelle here!

  • comment-avatar
    Jenn - a traveling Wife
    Twitter:
    October 2, 2015 (10:27 pm)

    I loved this and everything is so true. I am a runner/walker but my mile is anywhere from 8:15-9:30, I don’t have any knee problems, I’m not super lean, and I use my phone as a tracker. Also, I am a big fan of Old Navy’s athletic gear – super cheap and comfortable. 🙂

    • comment-avatar
      Janelle
      Twitter:
      October 3, 2015 (8:57 am)

      Yes, Old Navy is a great place to pick up running clothes!

  • comment-avatar
    Ariana
    Twitter:
    October 3, 2015 (1:48 am)

    Great myth debunking! I wrote a similar post last week about some other running myths – it’s so important to spread the good word about running!

  • comment-avatar
    Rachel October 3, 2015 (9:08 am)

    Yes!! Love this list.

  • comment-avatar
    Kathryn
    Twitter:
    October 3, 2015 (9:19 am)

    I’m 100% with you on the first myth. I’ve been using the run-walk method since I first started running, and I’m fully convinced that I wouldn’t be as strong as I am today without being able to use it.

    • comment-avatar
      Janelle
      Twitter:
      October 5, 2015 (7:31 am)

      That’s awesome, Kathryn! It’s a great way to get started and I think makes running less “scary” for beginners!

  • comment-avatar
    Ivanna
    Twitter:
    October 3, 2015 (11:51 am)

    These are all great! I agree too. I am a slow runner for sure but at least I get it done!

  • comment-avatar
    Nicole
    Twitter:
    October 3, 2015 (3:57 pm)

    Great post, Janelle! My mom always tells me running is going to ruin my boobs! haha! I told her about the magical thing called a sports bra.

  • comment-avatar
    jill conyers
    Twitter:
    October 4, 2015 (8:55 pm)

    So true! I’ve been guilty of thinking it’s not very runner-like to walk. haha

  • comment-avatar
    Cayanne Marcus October 9, 2015 (12:05 am)

    I love this post and agree completely! Sometimes I feel bad about my running when I see people post about their “short run day” “only 11 miles” when 3 miles is long for me. But it all goes back to comparison being the thief of joy especially when it comes to the fitness industry. Thank you for this post; I hope many people see it and it encourages non runners to give it a go because anyone can run 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Lex
    Twitter:
    October 14, 2015 (6:01 pm)

    Great post! I think the bit about walking about pace are the most important things I talk about with my friends who want to give running a try. Who cares if you’re not The Flash? For me, running is special because it’s something that I can do by myself, for myself. I’m my biggest competition!

  • comment-avatar
    Mike December 29, 2015 (5:31 pm)

    As someone who has been running for 15 years, those are still great points to read from time to time. One of the things that got me into running was noticing the fact that runners DO come in all shapes, sizes an speeds! And despite where I sit on the size spectrum (I’m at 240 lbs now) I still see people on the running paths and in races that look like me! Running is such a great sport, I decided long ago to just run for me and not care how people define me!
    Mike recently posted…Friday Five…Wednesday Edition!My Profile

  • comment-avatar
    Irene February 25, 2016 (9:47 am)

    Yes to all of this!

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