I always love dispelling a good myth.

Crazy ideas have always been around, but with the boom of the blogging and social media world, these ideas often spread like wildfire and are then believed to be the truth by many.

“All grains are bad for you.” 

“The only way to get a tight and toned body is by eating tilapia and asparagus out of tupperware containers.”

“If you eat past the point of fullness you have an eating disorder.”

“The only way to improve your running pace is by drinking soda on your long runs.”

Okay, so I made the last one up. But I’m sure it’s been said somewhere!

While the internet can be a fascinating place that’s full of knowledge and an awesome community to connect with, it can also put a lot of incorrect ideas in our minds which can lead to wasted money, wasted time, wasted effort, or worse, an injury.

So today I’m here to clear the air on five of the biggest running myths. These are things I’ve heard countless times, and every time I hear someone speak of them like they’re the truth I cringe. Regardless of where you are in your running journey, I encourage you to take a look at whether or not these myths have affected you and what you can do to make yourself a stronger, happier, and healthier runner!

Before we get going, I put together a quick guide for those of you who are newer to running. It contains my top 10 tips for newbie runners, many of which you’ll find super helpful after these myths are dispelled! I’m confident that even those of you who consider yourselves to be seasoned runners will find these tips helpful. Grab them before you continue reading!

Click Here For The Tips!

1. You need to stretch before you run.

Yes and no. The warm up is a crucial and often-overlooked component of a run; not only does it prepare us for movement physically, but it also helps us get in the zone mentally. What pains me is when I see runners performing static stretches before a run.

running myths

A static stretch is something like a quad stretch or a shoulder stretch. And while static stretching is important, it’s not the best way to prepare your legs to turn over multiple times during the course of a run. You want to allow your joints to move through their full ranges of motion with dynamic stretches such as leg swings and frankensteins. Dynamic stretches raise the temperature of the body, elevate the heart rate, allow the joints to produce all that cushiony synovial fluid, and they help loosen us up.

Sure, if your hips are feeling a little tight give ’em a quick stretch after you’ve done your dynamic warm up. But make it quick and save the long, relaxing stretches for afterwards.

2. Running is bad for your body.

You know what’s bad for your body? NOT MOVING IT. My philosophy is that the best form is exercise is the one you enjoy and are likely to stick with. For some that’s Zumba, for some that’s weight training, and for others it’s running.

There’s no doubt about it that our bodies take a lot of impact when we run. But many other forms of exercise have their own downfalls – baseball pitchers with dislocated shoulders, power lifters with torn ligaments, and the whole possibility-of-drowning thing while swimming. There is a risk associated with all forms of physical activity, and there is an ever bigger risk associated with no form of physical activity.

The key is to do your due diligence and take the precautionary steps to reduce the negative impact your activity of choice has on your body. Even running!

3. The only way to get better at running is by running more.

If you’re finding yourself struggling to breathe when you run for longer than 4 or 5 minutes, then sure – your cardiovascular fitness needs a bit of work. And running more can help improve that! But so can cycling, swimming, rowing, lifting weights, and dancing like a mad woman.

Hate hills and sprints with a passion because you feel like you can never complete them? There are certain strength training exercises that can help make those a liiiiittle bit easier. Do you REALLY want to do more sprints than necessary? 😉

running myths

Remember in point #3 we talked about doing our due diligence and not putting ourselves in a position where running is bad for our bodies? Incorporating other forms of training to improve your running (which is known as cross-training), is one of the things we can do!

4. Runners don’t need to strength train.

This. One. Kills me. I’m super fortunate for the fact that more and more runners are realizing the benefit (and necessity!) of strength training, but there are still a few die hard do-nothing-but-run-ers out there who still need convincing. Strength training is a critical component to any running program, regardless of the goals of the runner or the distances that are being covered.

Looking to tackle half or full marathons? Moderate strength training sessions will build the core stability required to reduce injury and the power output that will allow you to sprint up hills with ease and move like a gazelle. Those who are running to lose some weight will get a metabolism boost from their strength training efforts (and some muscle to show off as the bodyfat is shed!). And if stress-relief is your main reason for running, strength training will help you bulletproof your body against injuries so you can continue doing what you love.

5. I’m not training for a race so I’m not a runner.

People who run full marathons are runners. People who participate in 10k races are runners. People who run for pure enjoyment and don’t do any races are runners. People who are lacing up their shoes and getting outside for a 1.5 minute run and a 3.5 minute walk are runners.

Regardless of your reason for running, whether it’s to hit a new PR, to lose weight, to relieve stress, or just because you enjoy it – if your heart feels full when you get the chance to go for a run, then you’re a runner!

running myths dispelled

Showing 43 comments
  • Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home
    Reply

    I’ve heard them all and I’ve broken all those rules! This is great!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Yess!! Show the world the truth!

  • Nicole @ Fitful Focus
    Reply

    love love love! Sharing!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Thank you! <3

  • Heather at WELLFITandFED
    Reply

    great article! As a chiropractor I would be willing to go toe to toe with you on a couple points 😜 BUT I love the “do what you love” and that “runners need to strength train”. GOOD WORK!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Haha! 😉 Well I am happy a couple of the points resonate with you! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Kelli
    Reply

    I will say that point 3 is very true, up to a certain level of performance. I’ve been training in triathlon for two years and at some point the need for specificity in your nervous system, muscle fiber recruitment, and running economy will outweigh the continued general fitness gains from cross training. Unfortunate for me, as I’d love to continue spending more time on the bike and get faster running but I’ve reached the plateau where I do need to work on running economy to get faster (which happens through running, with some very targeted strength training). And hallelujah to number 5 – if you run, you’re a runner!!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Yes, you’re definitely right in that. I agree that different levels of running will require different types, frequencies, and intensities of cross-training!

  • Ivanna
    Reply

    Great post! my take on all the myths is unless it is scientifically proven to be bad or wrong or someone died from it try things out and find what works for you and do that, don’t do things that don’t work!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Great mentality! What works for some does not always work for others.

  • Tricia@MissSippipiddlin
    Reply

    OMG I love when people tell me running is bad for you, yes it is so much worse than laying on the couch! Ummmm Hummm!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Haha yupppp!!

  • Tianna
    Reply

    these myths are so annoying, but there’s so much misinformation out there, I can see why people feel like they don’t know what to believe. boot camp training has improved my running so much! thanks for this post ♥

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I’m so happy you have found bootcamp to be beneficial! And yes, it’s definitely tough with all the misleading information out there. Sometimes I even find myself getting confused by it!

  • Becky @ Disney in your Day
    Reply

    Love all of these, but especially the last one! So true! And I need to find more good dynamic stretches.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I hope that one rings true with a lot of people 🙂

  • Reply

    totally agree and yes runners need to strength train! We talk about this all the time in our running group!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      So important! Thanks for spreading the good word!

  • Becki S
    Reply

    Love all these! Especially 3 and 4. Will have to share with my friends who like to rag on running.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Please do! Let’s spread the truth 😀

  • Mar @ Mar on the Run
    Reply

    definitely a lot of misinformation out there. I love running but I’m a fitness enthusiast overall and would never skip my strength training! Great post.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I hear you on that! I’m glad you liked it!

  • Toni
    Reply

    Great post! I have heard these all, the one I hate the most is that running is no good for your body-says the non tuning couch potato because that is so much better for your body..lol

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Lol yes I always have a few responses I need to bite my tongue on with regards to that.

  • MCM Mama Runs
    Reply

    I know I need to strength train – I just suck at actually doing it. i also pretty much never stretch after a run… And yes, I know better.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Hahah. Well hey, at least you’re honest, right? 😉

  • Reply

    Love this! It kills me when people tell me I should stop running because I’m going to ruin my knees!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I agree!!

  • Marcia
    Reply

    Haha! Great myth busting here. I struggle with clients who “want” to train for longer distances but then hate every moment and drop off. I wish people realized its more than ok to stick with what you LOVE!

  • Farrah
    Reply

    So with you on all of these! I’m still having trouble convincing people of the first one though. x_x

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I agree – I think it’s especially difficult when people have being doing static stretches prior to training for years!

  • Patty @ Reach Your Peak
    Reply

    Yeah I still hear the stretch before a run myth! I’m like no please do not stretchcold muscles! Some of my XC runners asked me this year “so will we stretch before we run?” I’m like NOPE. I’m all about dynamic stretches.

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Oh boy – good thing they have you there to set the record straight!

  • kristen
    Reply

    I recently tore my ACL, but once I’m healed I want to start running and these are great myth-debunkers that will be so helpful! thank you!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Congratulations on your recovery!! I wish you injury-free running in the future 😀

  • Shann Eva
    Reply

    Love these! Running is not the way I get exercise the most, but I do it on occasion. I like to dance, and I’ve been incorporating weights too. Thanks for all the great advice!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      You’re so welcome! Dance is an amazing form of exercise! Not only is it effective, but it also looks really awesome 🙂

  • Amy @ Life to the Full
    Reply

    Love this. “My knees are bad so I can’t run” is the #1 excuse I hear from nonrunners! I had knee surgery in college due to other sports’ wear and tear and running has been the best thing for my knees! I feel great compared to when I played ice hockey and tennis. Running is good for mind, body and soul 🙂

    • Ariana
      Reply

      While it’s not great that you had to have knee surgery, it’s really inspiring to hear you are able to continue running afterwards without any issues! Congratulations!

  • Allison Jones
    Reply

    Thanks for dispelling these myths! I ran when I was training for my first race, then after is was over, I stopped because people kept asking what I was running for. It’s good to know that I can get back into it even if I’m not actually training for something. Do you have any tips for getting back into running after a hiatus?

    LiveLifeWell,
    Allison

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Whenever people ask what I’m training for, regardless of whether I am actually training for a race or not, I always just tell them life 😉

      Tips for getting back into it after a hiatus: Don’t overdo it – pick 2-3 days to get some shorter runs each week, make a plan as to how you’ll fit them into your schedule, and stick to them! Consistency will be key, as will ensuring you don’t overdo it with long runs right off the bat.

      I am also a fan of starting off with set intervals. Some prefer to run by feel, but set intervals allow you to set a goal for your run (ie. 5 rounds of 4 minutes running, 1 minute walking, etc), and will also help you measure your progress as you reduce your walking breaks!

      Best of luck! Please feel free to reach out to me any time you have a question 🙂

  • Jaime
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing this! I just started running within the past couple weeks and a few of your facts I didn’t even know, like it’s better to do moving stretches before a run rather than static ones. I’ve been doing PiYo 6 days a week too, so I’m glad to know that my strength training is helping my running!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I haven’t tried PiYo really just because I can’t imagine fitting something else into my schedule, but it looks like a fantastic option for cross-training. I’m glad you found the tips helpful! Some of those PiYo moves would be great prior to a run.

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