Running is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle and sometimes all it takes is just one "runner's high" experience to make a casual runner into a marathoner. As you trot (or trudge) your way training toward race day, take a look at this list of common running myths we've pulled together – and then busted up – to help you stay on the straight and narrow road to success.
You should always stretch before a run.
No. For years experts stressed the significance of a good stretch before a jog. You know, the whole bend over and touch your toes for 60 seconds routine. But scientific studies now show that while runners tend to be notoriously tight, those types of static stretches aren't doing them any favors. Dynamic stretching, such as knee-high jumps, glute kicks, and leg swings get the blood pumping, oxygen flowing and the muscles warm before they have to work hard. Now commonplace among professional athletes, these dynamic stretches not only improve their performance, they also help them stay healthier and extend their careers. If adding old school static stretching is a hard habit for you to break, add them in 10 minutes in to the run or, better yet, hit a yin yoga class afterward for deep muscle stretches and a bit of relaxation too.
Long distance training runs mean you can eat whatever you want.
No. Many a marathon runner will tell you that instead of losing weight after months and miles on the road, they packed on a few more pounds instead. Yes, your body is blasting through its energy stores, but because it's really got your back, it immediately tells your tummy to replace them stat. So, the more you move, the more your appetite mounts. While carbo-loading the night before a big run gives you a boost, it doesn't mean you can consistently clean out the fridge or forgo the necessary nutrients your body requires. Making yourself into a healthy, lean running machine means balancing those bagels with plenty of the proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals found in other food groups. If you're getting overtired after your long runs, your body's fuel tank could be full of the cheap stuff, and not only are you eating more than you need, but also losing steam battling uphill on lethargic legs. Eating one part of protein for every three to four parts carbs within 30 minutes of a long run will make it a lot easier on your body the day after. Remember, the quality of tomorrow's training run depends on today's recovery, so fuel up with the good stuff to give yourself the best chance.
The Mileage Myth
First time half-marathoner training requires nearly 13 mile long runs.
No. If you're challenging yourself to stay the course to conquer 13.1 miles, conventional racing wisdom says completing a 10 mile training run (or even nine) should suffice. It may seem strange, but runners will tell you that on race day, you'll have plenty of adrenaline pumping to pull you across the tape.
Let's say you're a bit of an anxious closer and hope the confidence gained by one or two 12 milers under your belt will take you through the final stretch. That may bring you peace of mind, but if you're prone to injuries or pushing too hard, more mileage means more risk – and too much can run you right into the ground. Listening to your body is important, and in the end, it matters more than listening to the doubts in your mind.
Perhaps you're a regular road warrior with quite a few 10ks on your resume and feel ready for the half-marathon challenge with only eight weeks to train. It's a good bet that a final 10mile pre-race run will get it done. It all comes down to your training, your mindset and your goals. While some runners log 13 miles to boost their belief or some racers put in 15 miles to help quicken their pace, if a t-shirt or medal and the magic of finishing a half marathon is motivation enough, then trust your training and save the longest mile for the last day so you can savor the moment.
As an official sponsor of the Chattanooga Marathon, The Vein Institute is committed to raising awareness on the importance of vein health and blood circulation for long distance runners. Be sure to stop by our tent on race day to set up a free vein screening and get more information on vein health from our trained professionals.
For all the Chattanooga Marathon and Half Marathon runners, we wish you the best of luck!
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