When I was running regularly I used to read every article in Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Runners World and Run4Life with devotion and interest as if it was gospel. Before learning to look at things with a little more analysis and tact I believed that if it was to be published in such a reputable magazine it must be true, it must be checked and agreed upon to be correct.
No, in fact if many times if you truly look at these articles the publishers have grabbed one sentence, out of context from a journal of sports or medical research and used that line to spark conversation and debate. These sentences then get passed around as fact or stories by other runners between one another until it becomes a new fad.
Additionally, those who do not understand or enjoy running also manage to let you know the “facts” they have heard about running which they may have picked up from a current affairs news show or pop-culture magazine. I’ve heard quite a few myths over the years, “you’ve only got so many heart beats”, “my friend used to run a lot and now he needs a knee replacement” and “barefoot running is the natural way”.
- Forefoot strike creates less injury risk
I think Craig Payne said it best when it comes to statements such as this “different running techniques load different tissues differently.” In other words, if you are someone who suffers from chronic knee pain as a result of running, forefoot strike may be appropriate for you to try due to a decrease in stressor placed upon the knee and an increase of stressors on the ankle joint. However, doing so loads up another region of tissues which may not be able to handle the sudden increase of expected force and also lead to injury. Additionally, it is not a reliable practice to predict specific injury of an individual based on their biomechanics. Biomechanical visualisations can be flagged as a risk factors for injury but they are not able to define the tissues ability to cope with that highlighted risk factor.
Further information can be found here about this topic:
- You should always stretch before running
If you are stiff before going for a run light stretching may be beneficial to help lengthen muscles and reduce adhesions from restricting range of motion. However, static stretching prior to every run can be reduce efficiency in the ability of tendons and soft tissues to produce and release stored energy. A more effective approach in reducing injury risk is to complete a dynamic warm up routine and activation exercises focusing on the muscles which you plan to use within your upcoming training session, specifically the gluteal muscles.
Further information can be found here:
- The more you run the better you run
The more you run the easier it becomes due to the physical and physiological adaptions of the body, but no it does not make you a better runner. In fact, completing faster sessions with shorter duration not only reduces your chance of injury but can increase your performance as well. Yes, of course completing slow long distance runs are beneficial when building endurance specific to an event but in the interest of doing it in a sustainable way short fast sessions are best.
Read more about this below:
- Running is bad for your knees
Any activity performed with poor biomechanics or technique will increase loading of the body’s tissues and increase risk for injury. The loading of unprepared tissues will
cause injury to the region or affiliated region of those tissues. Repetitive loading associated with endurance sport can be detrimental to the joints if they are not adequately prepared for the activities they undergo. So is knee injury in runners associated with running itself or an inability to complete the strength work required to best prepare the body?
Runners do not need to strength train
- Strength is the underlying principle for endurance. Muscle endurance is the tissues ability to complete repetitive contractions over a long period of time. The ability for an individual to complete their chosen endurance running distance is reliant on the strength of the tissue and the ability to handle the forces being placed through them.
Just because an Ivy League university has published a paper which has been lucky enough to have one of its sentences from the abstract quoted in a health magazine does not necessarily make it correct. The context of that quote is one point to look at but also the quality of the study which was completed and what the five studies before it with similar methods concluded. If one study states strong black coffee is good managing anxiety but all the research papers before it states the opposite, which will would you follow?
Until Next Time
Director/ Chief Editor