There are plenty of myths flying about all over the place when it comes to running; mainly vocalized by non-runners with various degrees of truth and hilarity to them. However, I also hear two very distinct, performance hindering myths from regular runners, and they both surround the subject of TRAINING as a runner.
- MYTH #01 – “Runners don’t need to train legs because of all the running we do”
- MYTH #02 – “Runners don’t need to train upper body because you don’t need that for running”
I should point out here, that my job as a Personal Trainer has me working with a wide array of runners, in and out of the gym. I happen to believe that regular runners are right up there, as the most receptive people to personal training, but also can be among the most unwilling of groups to take it on.
Back in the 80’s, it was generally accepted that if you wanted to be a good runner, you would need to put in LOTS of miles; 100+ per week was the benchmark of the top end, club runner.
These days, it’s mostly now agreed that 100+ mile weeks are best reserved for the ‘elite, highly conditioned, don’t have another job to worry about in addition‘, type runners. It’s all about training SMART, and that’s where strength training, cross training and all-round conditioning come into it.
So to put both of these claims to rest and set the record straight…
Your muscles essentially act as shock absorbers for the joints. Ultimately we want to run in such a way that puts as little stress through the skeleton as possible; plus training the leg muscles for both strength AND speed will generate better propulsion, as well as protection.
As for arms and the general upper-body area – this all forms part of the kinetic chain. What goes on in the upper body WILL effect how the lower body works. The perfect runner (if such a thing exists) would have a good balance of upper to lower body strength, plus a rock solid core to hold little things like the spine stable as you move.
Obviously, there are literally bejillions of other myths on the subject of running a long way. Certainly, when you consider that as a sport, we, as humans have millions of years of practice and evolution behind us to get better at doing it. Any of these sound familiar to anyone?
- “Running is bad for your knees”
- “Running is bad for your back”
- “Running is bad for the joints”
- “Running makes you fat”
- “Running on the road ALWAYS results in injury
- “Barefoot running is the best way to run”
- “If you are an over-pronator, you need THESE trainers”
- “Orthopedic, motion control running trainers will prevent all the injuries”
- “Take carbohydrate gels every half an hour of every run”
- “You can eat whatever you like when you run a lot”
- …Plus too many others to list on here.
Like many myths, there is usually a slither of truth to most of them, but ultimately, non of these are 100% true. Particularly the “over-pronate” thing; the amount your foot pronates on landing is not some sort of genetic disorder that cannot be changed.
With a personal programme, we address the movement patterns BEFORE the foot strikes the ground, among other things. The correct footwhere obviously helps, but then again, so does fixing any muscle imbalances and whatever put your foot in that position in the first place. Guess which kind of fix is more long term?
It’s always better to treat the cause of an injury than the symptoms in the long run (pun not intended… Wait… Yes it was. I’m hilarious).
If you’re in the Macclesfield/Buxton area and you would like take that big step towards running further/faster/pain free, please get in touch!
I offer one-one personal training and group personal training for various budgets.
I also run a low cost, six week crash course for creating ‘stronger’ runners (see below).
Thanks for reading 🙂