Rethink These 3 Common Endurance Running Myths!
Bust the myths and know the truth about your favourite form of exercise…
Have you heard any of these common myths and misconceptions about running training and racing? We’ve matched the 3 most common myths with the truth – let us know in the comments if you’ve ever had a conversation like this!
The Marathon-Training Myth
“You need to run at least 20 miles in training for a marathon”
The truth: there’s nothing magical about the 20-mile marker.
Running a marathon is a daunting prospect (especially if it’s your first), so it’s no surprise that this strict rule has entered into marathon training mythology. Some people even think that you can’t hope to complete a marathon unless you’ve run 22 miles in training. The fact is that “time on your feet” is more important than set distances. If you choose a solid marathon training plan, and stick to it consistently, you will build the necessary physical endurance and mental toughness.
– 90-120 minutes is where aerobic development happens, so the more long runs you can do around that length the better
– A very long run might boost your confidence but it will also take a lot out of you, and the recovery time may eat into valuable training days
– Train your technique as well as your endurance, so you stay strong towards the end of long runs
– Train your technique. Form tends to deteriorate towards the end of very long runs. Scale back the long distances and train good running technique every time you run.
– Think about total training volume across the week, not just the length of each long run, and consider adding in extra volume from useful sessions like tempo runs
– Consider splitting your longest long runs across the weekend with 8-10 miles at race pace one day, then 12-15 miles the second day (with the final 2-3 miles at race pace)
The Easy-Run Myth
“Try to get a bit faster with your easy runs, and your race pace will improve“
The truth: easy runs need to be easy and stay easy!
Nobody likes to feel as if they’re not making progress, so it’s understandable if you want to push the pace. But easy recovery runs (especially in a marathon or half marathon training plan) need to be easy. They are a form of recovery, not a form of training. Push yourself on tempo runs, intervals, and speed work. But leave the easy runs easy. Here’s what happens during easy runs:
– blood flow increases to the muscles
– oxygen and nutrients get to muscles
– your body recovers from long hard runs
– you set yourself up for a longer, healthier running career
The Footwear Myth
“Go for the most lightweight shoe you can – flat or minimalist shoes are the most natural”
The truth: not everyone is suited to very light, flat, or minimalist shoes (regardless of the latest footwear trend!)
The barefoot running trend left many of us thinking we should run in light, flat shoes that offer barely-there support. But let your body (not trends) lead the way. A forefoot-strike running style can be good for some people, but if you are not physically suited to it then it will do more harm than good (especially over longer distances). Research suggests that 30%+ of people who try minimalist shoes still end up running as heel strikers. So your natural gait will prevail.
– get your gait, strike pattern and biomechanics assessed at a running store
– get expert advice on which shoes will suit you best
– make sure you choose shoes for your distance of training
– don’t try to change your running style to suit any shoe or trend
– work with what you’ve got
What myths do you keep hearing about distance running?