10 Running Myths That I’m Sick Of Hearing About And Why They Are Blatantly Untrue.
- That running is a good way to lose weight on it’s own – I need to make this clear. It’s not. If you want to lose weight then you just need to count the calories you eat or drink. Running on it’s own will not help you lose weight. I’ve gained 7 pounds since the start of the year and I’ve covered close to 1600 miles in that time. I’ve monitored and controlled my calories on maybe 10 days max during that period. Don’t get me wrong – running is a reasonable way to control your weight. If it wasn’t for the running then I’d probably be 400lbs by now and the star of a ‘Fattest Man In Ireland’ style documentary.
- That there is such a thing as junk miles – There isn’t. You gain something from every workout. I think of it like levelling up and gaining experience points in computer games. Towards the end of each run we manage to overcome small obstacles that seem huge at the time but that we forget about later on. This increases your ability to manage discomfort which is the major catalyst for a negative attitude when racing. When you experience discomfort on a longer run you’ll know that you’ve dealt with it before and that it will pass and that you can prevail. This leads to a naturally positive state of mind.
- That mileage is the only important factor in becoming a better runner – It isn’t. I ran 207 fucking miles in August and still struggled with my half marathon in September. I was training for the Great Scottish Run at the time but was rarely running over 7 miles. When I came to race day the course kicked my ass. I completed it, but it kicked my fucking ass. Looking back I needed to be bringing my shorter runs up to around 8-9 and that way my long slow runs would have naturally increased well past the 10 mile mark. The important thing to note is that completing so many 7 mile runs allowed me to start running 8 miles much easier. Running 8 miles makes running 9 miles easier…. You can see where I’m going with this.
This is what a runner looks like when he has his ass kicked by a course.
- That you need to adopt a specific diet to run – You don’t. It only becomes a problem when you start gaining weight and it impedes your ability to move. You could eat nothing but 10 packets of Skittles a day and you’d be fine besides the gingivitis and/or rickets. You’d have as much joy with the Skittles diet as you would with the Paleo diet. That whole “Our monkey ancestors did it, so should we!” argument is null and void when you take it to it’s natural conclusion “So should act like apes then and shit openly at one another whilst beating the weakest member of the clan to death with branches? “. Evolve and eat a fucking Starburst, monkey boy.
- That you have to take all sorts of wacky baggage, belts and bottles with you on a 10k/half-marathon/marathon – Most of the time you don’t. All major marathons have refreshments en-route. It’s much easier to just run as lightly as possible and to use the isotonic drinks and gels en-route as fuel. Belts and backpacks just tend to get in the way after a while and can ruin your race if you’re wearing them for the first time and haven’t adjusted them correctly.
- That there is a running guru who will have all of the answers for you –You are the only one who can find the best way to run for you. The most important thing is to enjoy it. If you’re don’t enjoy running then you won’t want to run. When you don’t want to run then you’ll run less. End each run in a way that will make you want to run again. And no, this should not involve masturbating in a forest park.
- That you aren’t a runner if you walk a little during races – Sometimes it is necessary to walk especially if you enter a race and you aren’t used to the distance. I’ve had to walk at the 20 mile mark in both of the marathons I’ve entered so far but I walked less in my 2nd marathon than in my 1st. I’ll walk even less in my 3rd in Paris. The attitude from the elite crowd fucking sucks when it comes to beginners. The general consensus seems to be that you should only enter a race when you are ready for it but they tend to forget that most sedentary people will never be in prime shape unless they have a place to start. Don’t feel bad for sucking at the start, you’ll improve if you don’t give up and give it time.
- That running will lead to you becoming a better person – On most of my runs I’m still daydreaming of homicide and mass extinction, but it’s just a way for me to vent naturally and harmlessly. I kinda feel bad about how much negativity pours out of me during the average run. Running should be a positive experience, but it’s more like an exorcism or a purging of sorts for me. I am a better person after running as I manage to run off so much of the nasty shit, but jogging alone hasn’t made me Buddha. I’m working on it.
- That you have to avoid alcohol before a race – You can enjoy yourself with booze the night before a race but you have to find what your body is capable of before hand. Unfortunately I found out the hard way when I was over in England for the Birmingham & Black Country Half Marathon 2011. I basically had too much whiskey on the eve of the run and slept in. The next morning I headed down the street to the local Burger King to stuff my hungover face full of Double Whopper. Mid-Whopper I received a text from a friend asking only “How did the race go?”.
- That you should run well every week (or else!!) – Some weeks you’ll feel like you fucking suck at running. It is not your best weeks that define you as your runner, it is your worst weeks and how you respond to them. I always make a point of remembering that one good run can not only change how I feel about running but also how I feel about life in general. If you feel like you’re constantly running into the wind, one day it will be at your back. You will live to see that day if you just keep on running and enjoying it for it’s own sake.
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