3 Pieces Of Running Advice You Should Ignore
Whether you’re a brand-new runner or been running for years, you love learning new things about running. But here are 3 common pieces of running advice you should ignore…
No Pain, No Gain
We’ve all heard this one. “No pain, no gain!” people will say, as you wince with stitch, cramp or shin splints, or push yourself through a race carrying an injury. We get why this piece of advice is popular: it sounds impressive and hardcore. But the truth is, running doesn’t have to be painful. In fact, it shouldn’t be, especially if you want to make improvements!
The truth: Learn to tell the difference between the discomfort of intense effort, and the pain of injury or over-exertion. Your body will tell you when there’s a problem. Running through physical pain in your joints or soft tissue is not a good idea, in the short or long run. But a bit of discomfort whilst pushing the pace or getting to the top of a steep hill is to be expected, and a sign that you’re working hard.
Never Run On An Empty Stomach
This bit of advice is as old as the hills. Some people still think that you need to be fuelled up with food immediately before training, or you’ll run out of energy. This advice is slowly being challenged, as more people are willing to experiment with running fasted (without eating), or taking sports drinks or BCAAs (branch chain amino acids) rather than solid food.
The truth: There’s no need to fuel up or carb-load before anything other than long runs or races. The fact is that your body doesn’t actually use the energy from food you ate an hour or so before your run. It uses stored energy in your muscles and your liver. It will be some time before your pre-run meal makes it through your digestive system and into the kind of energy your body can access.
Eat What You Want, You’ll Burn It All Off
“You’re so lucky, you must be able to eat anything you want with all that running you do!” Heard that one from a colleague, a friend, or a family member? In fact, some runners themselves mistakenly think that they should “eat back” the calories burned through running, and that they need to significantly increase their food intake when training for a marathon or half marathon. But it’s those runners who often get frustrated with that fact that they’re actually gaining weight.
The truth: It’s perfectly possible to gain weight even when you’re marathon training. It’s scary how easy it is to eat more calories than you just burned on your training run. And, because you’ve run, you might think you deserve a treat, or ought to eat a bit more. But it might only take you 5 minutes, or a few bites, to eat back the calories you burned… and more. Try to eat just enough without falling into the trap of thinking you need to eat more because you run.