A friend forwarded me a link to a recent article that sets out to debunk several myths about running, training, and overall health (10 Running Myths That Are Slowing You Down).
This sort of thing is pretty harmless, I guess, and there is certainly value in pointing out that some commonly-held beliefs about running are not supported by evidence. Still, its pretty easy to set up straw man “myths,” and knock them down without doing a lot of heavy-duty lifting as far as research goes. In general, I find the conclusions fairly simplistic, and in some case, it seems the authors seem to be replacing one myth with another, equally dubious claim.
But then again, Outside Magazine has about 10,000 times as many readers as I do, so rather than criticize, I’ll imitate. Here, then, is my contribution to the genre: five running myths exposed:
Myth #1. If you run, you’ll look like a model.
You might think so from the covers of certain running publications, but no. Running might keep you thin (not a given), but it will not make you any more attractive, unless you count inner beauty. And it will really do a number on your feet and toenails.
Myth #2. People smile when they train.
Nobody I know smiles when they are training, least of all when they are doing one of Terry’s interval workouts. And yet, I often see articles about training that show runners with beatific smiles on their faces as they effortlessly circle the track. I don’t get it.
And while we’re on the subject, another thing that drives me crazy is when I hear someone chatting happily during a race. If it’s such a lark for you, try running faster.
Myth #3. Marathons are fun.
No, they’re not. If they were, you wouldn’t be so glad when they’re over.
Myth #4. The best day for speed training is Wednesday
I just made this one up. But on the other hand, it could be true! In fact, I think you should undertake a six-month experiment to test this theory and let me know what you find out.
Myth #5. You can get faster by reading magazine articles
I have bad news for you: you are getting slower RIGHT NOW as you read this. It is a scientific fact supported by completely unfounded speculation that no one ever got fast from reading a magazine article. and blogs are even worse, so stop wasting time surfing the net and go get in some more mileage.
And don’t let me catch you smiling.