There are countless myths that surround running, which is surprising, given how simple an activity running truly is. Many people believe there is a certain body type, pace, or training plan that must be followed in order to be the best runner possible, while the truth is that running is as diverse as the people who partake in this favorite form of exercise. Listed below are six common myths about running and their corresponding facts.
Myth: You have to be able to run a certain pace and distance to be considered a runner.
Fact: Anyone who runs is a runner, no matter how fast, slow, short, or far a person can run.
Myth: You must own special running gear to be a runner.
Fact: There is no gear requirement for running, other than a good pair of running shoes. Whether you only own cotton t-shirts or would never be caught dead without your favorite pair of spandex shorts, you are a runner if you run.
Myth: You will never be able to recover your fitness if you take time off.
Fact: Numerous runners mistakenly believe they should never take time off, not even after a goal race. The fact of the matter is that your body requires time to heal, absorb training, repair, and reenergize. Not taking a break from training puts your body at risk for injury, illness, thyroid disorders, overtraining, and mental burnout.
Myth: You have to run fast everyday in order to improve.
Fact: The most effective way to train is to run hard on your hard days, and easy on your easy days. While applying stress to the body is a crucial component of improving, recovery is just as crucial. Hard workouts should be run 2–3 times per week, while the rest of the time you should run easy base mileage.
Myth: There is such a thing as a runner’s body.
Fact: Contrary to popular belief, there is no height and weight limit that disqualifies a person from being a good runner. If this were the case, race finishers would cross the line in order of body fat composition, not ability
Myth: Every runner reaches a point where he or she will never improve.
Fact: Many athletes believe that once a certain age is reached, running ability will immediately begin to decline. While it may be true that as we age our bodies will require different nutrition, recovery, and training, there will always be room to improve. We must ask ourselves whether age is holding us back, or simply our willingness to adjust our training in the necessary ways.