July 18, 2017
To many people, running is synonymous with pastas, breads, and other carbohydrate laden foods. After all, runners must carbohydrate load all the time, right? While carbohydrate loading is extremely important, especially for high-mileage runners or those planning to run a marathon, there are many myths regarding the carb-loading period. Listed below are important tips on the process.
Carbohydrate loading should begin 72 hours before race day. Contrary to popular belief, carb-loading does not need to occur during the entire taper period. The body can only store approximately 2,000 calories of carbohydrates, which makes three days an optimal amount of time.
Athletes should aim to take in 8–10 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight. This means that a 150 lb runner should eat 545–680 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Meals should be limited to 800 calories. The body can only efficiently store a limited amount of glycogen at a time, so eating meals beyond 800 calories will lead to wasted carbohydrates in your system.
Fat intake should be decreased during carbohydrate loading. Fat inhibits the conversion of glycogen into glucose, so in the final days of carbohydrate loading (especially the night before competition), fat consumption should be reduced to 0–5% of your caloric intake.
Wholesome carbohydrates are important. Avoid refined carbohydrates such as white rice, cookies, cakes, and other simple carbohydrate sources on days 1 and 2 of your carbohydrate loading.
Keep it simple the night before the race. However, complex carbohydrates contain more fiber than refined versions, so the night before your race you should stick to white bread, white rice, white pasta, or even sugary hard candy.
Do not fret about weight gain. For every gram of carbohydrate that you consume, your body will store 3–4 grams of water. Do not worry if you gain 1–2 lbs during your carbohydrate loading period, as this additional water weight will actually provide beneficial hydration during the race.
Continue with carbohydrates on race day and throughout the race. The breakfast you consume on race day and the nutrition you take during the race are perhaps the most important components of carbohydrate loading. Aim to eat a carbohydrate-heavy breakfast, such as a bagel with fruit or oatmeal with honey, 3–4 hours before the race. During the competition, take in 20–60 grams of carbohydrates per hour of running.
June 17, 2017
This is a guest post by Hollie Holden. Photo by Adam Gilbert Ciuk.
It was supposed to be just another training run, with the bonus of aid stations and a medal. It should have been reasonably comfortable and ‘just’ another stepping stone towards my 50 mile goal in a couple of months time. It should be achievable enough that I can run again the following day but I ended up finishing with only 12 km clocked on my Suunto at the Run Like A Girl Be Fearless trail marathon in Squamish. I DNF’d and have decided to DNS the Squamish 50 mile race, along with any other race I had in my schedule leading up to that day.
I need a break.
It’s just not fun any more—what’s the point of doing something if you don’t enjoy it?
In the months leading up to the race I felt tired. I never really had any great long runs. Sure I got through them, including a beautiful trail marathon on Orcas Island, but it was always a bit of a struggle. I am self-employed with a work schedule that can only be described as a yo-yo—I love the fact it gives me the flexibility to run up a mountain midday on a Wednesday, but oh man it can be a struggle when you have mountains of deadlines pulling you in a million different directions all at once. Add in ultra training and there is zero time or energy left for anything else.
I even rolled my ankle a couple of times. I NEVER roll my ankles, often joking how strong they are. This led to a minor injury, or niggle, that I’ve been battling for about 8 weeks now. I can run through it but its annoying. I felt like everything was starting to fall apart.
But it was all going to be totally fine. I had a trip to California for a week planned at the end of May, goals for that week were to just sit on my butt by the pool in the sunshine! After a week of R&R ,I would feel fresh and ready to tackle the last 2.5 months of hard training before Squamish 50!
It didn’t quite work out as planned.
I got to the start line of the RLAG Be Fearless trail marathon feeling pretty uninspired, unmotivated and probably had already mentally checked out before the race had even started. Not ideal. But us runners are a stubborn lot, so I lined up amongst friends and gave it a go. Can we just pause here for a minute and mention how awesome the running community is here in Vancouver? So many friends running the race, volunteering at aid stations, as course marshalls, sweeping and race directing—the highlight of the day for sure.
I sometimes take a while to warm up and get in to a groove but the groove never happened. 3 km, 4 km, 5 km, still feeling tired. Friendly racers passed me by, trying to chat to me about the beautiful views, the perfect conditions, but I was grumpy. Normally I would jump at the chance to chat with others and maybe buddy up to help pass the time, instead I wanted to be alone. Uphill, downhill, flat, all a struggle. When a long, non-technical downhill felt like a battle I knew there was absolutely no way I could do the full 42.2 km. I fought back tears of frustration at 7 km and by 8 km, I had decided to find the nearest route back to the start. I passed friends hiking and cheering along the way and burst into tears when they asked me how I was feeling. I just couldn’t contain it anymore, it was time to stop.
It is SO HARD deciding to DNF. When you run ultra marathons for fun, you are a strange type of person—someone who is comfortable with being uncomfortable. Stopping is never normally an option and you do whatever you need to do to get to that finish line. This day was different. Honestly, in the months leading up to this day, I had spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not a 50 mile ultra marathon was really something I wanted to do right now and I think I had already decided that it wasn’t. I just couldn’t admit it to myself at the time. I needed this race as a wake up call.
So at aid station 3, only 11 km in to the race, I told the friendly, supportive volunteers that I was calling it a day. There was nothing physically wrong with me. I didn’t want them to worry, just tell me which way to go and I will take myself back to the start line and officially DNF. I arrived back at the start a couple kilometers later and bumped into friends who were just about to start sweeping the course. Again, I couldn’t hold back the tears. I am not sure if I was happy to be done, sad that I didn’t finish, frustrated with myself or just relieved. But either way I still think it was a good decision to quit so early on.
The race directors were lovely. They each came to check up on me, even giving me a finisher’s keyring despite my DNF. My bad experience is by no means any reflection of a bad race—the route was beautiful, the course well marked and all the volunteers were amazing.
A year ago I was also tired and couldn’t get through the day without a nap. But that’s just because I run so much, right? Turns out I have iron deficiency anemia, with fatigue being the main side effect—physically and mentally. It’s fairly common amongst runners, females in particular and can be managed with supplements. I have been taking multiple iron supplements a day to build my levels back up and they definitely help. I don’t feel the need to nap so much anymore. So is it just my anemia holding me back again? I’m not so sure.
Maybe its physical, maybe its mental, maybe I’m overtrained, burnt out, bored. I’m not sure I will ever really know the answer. The one thing I do know is that it is so important to listen to your body. Running is a big part of my life, I am never going to give it up. But for now, I am going to remove the pressure, throw away any sort of schedule and just go with the flow. Fancy climbing a mountain today? Sure. Fancy lifting weights instead? Why not. Need to just stay in bed? No problem.
When the people around you seem to be going from strength to strength, running further, running faster, smashing PBs and accomplishing their goals, you can’t help but get swept up in the excitement and push for these things yourself. But I am not everyone else. I am me, and perhaps what is right for them is not right for me right now. I used to be able to run 100 km a week, now I average 40-50 km. I’ve ran 60 km in one go before. Right now I’m lucky if I reach 15 km. My 1/2 marathon PB is 1:41, I’d be lucky to hit 1:50 these days. It’s hard and frustrating to not be able to do the things your friends can do, run as much, as far, or as fast as I used to. But i think, if I cut my losses now, forget my long distance goals and listen to my body, I’ll be better off in the long term.
So that’s what I’m going to do—this summer I will be running shorter, running happier, running with zero pressure and I am going to come back stronger. My only goal is to reignite my passion for running again. And you know what, I feel so much happier already.
May 02, 2017
Photo credit: https://www.hotchocolate15k.com
Are you planning your upcoming racing season or creating a bucket list of races to run? Listed below are some of the best races in the US, across all distances.
Hot Chocolate 5k Chicago
Held in Chicago, Illinois in late October, this Hot Chocolate series race is the largest 5k in the country. With the “world’s best chocolate” on the course and in every runner’s goodie bag, it’s no wonder that 20,000 runners participated in the event in 2016.
Peachtree Road Race 10k
The Peachtree 10k is one of the largest 10k races in the world, with 57,000 participants annually. Held on the 4th of July in Atlanta, Georgia, entry into this hot 10k is coveted. Except for the elite field, each of the 57,000 participants is chosen through a lottery.
Detroit International Half Marathon
The International Half Marathon, which starts and finishes in Detroit, draws approximately 11,000 participants. What is keeping race directors from expanding the race? It turns out that when your race crosses international borders (twice!), you have to be mindful of limiting the number of competitors. The race takes participants through Windsor, Ontario, via the Ambassador Bridge and also through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel when passing over international waters.
Twin Cities Marathon
Named one of the top ten most beautiful marathons in the world, the Twin Cities Marathon is a point-to-point race that starts in Minneapolis and finishes in St. Paul. This winding, tree lined course takes runners through greenways and around scenic lakes, with the last several miles being run along the Mississippi River. Held in early October, the weather is typically ideal racing conditions.
JFK 50 Mile Memorial
Considered the oldest ultramarathon in the United States, the JFK 50 Mile has been held in beautiful Washington County, MD ever since 1963. The race, which is run in November, is a fast course with approximately 37 miles of the race on road and flat trail, with the other 13 miles on a technical portion of the Appalachian Trail.
Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run
Perhaps the ultimate 100 miler, this race, which is held in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, has one of the most coveted race entries. To be part of the field of 369 participants, runners must receive a “golden ticket” by winning specified races in the Montrail Ultra Cup Series; place top 10 in the previous year’s Western States race; or win an entry via the lottery system.
March 29, 2017
Photo of Mireille Sine. Photo credit: Andres Medina.
One of the most powerful tools a runner can use to improve his or her mental game and subsequent running is the reframing technique. Effective use of the technique requires the athlete to “reframe” a negative thought or situation into something positive, which has important implications for performance. Listed below are common reframes and why they are effective.
Negative Thought: “I can’t hit my splits; I’m never going to perform well on race day.”
Reframe: “I’m learning about my limits and am being provided with great data to figure out what I can change in order to improve my workout for next time.”
Why it works: All too often, athletes approach their workouts from an emotional perspective instead of a rational one. By reframing that workouts purely provide runners with data that they can learn from, athletes are able to approach the factors that affect their performance more rationally. For instance, a “bad” workout may help the runner realize that his or her nutrition, sleep patterns, or recovery are inadequate and that improving those areas will lead to performance gains.
Negative Thought: “My workout is going to go poorly because I did not get enough sleep last night.”
Reframe: “Working hard when I am disadvantaged will help me perform my best when I am well-rested in the days leading up to the race.”
Why it works: Focusing on the factors that we are unable to control (such as too little sleep due to external factors) wastes mental and physical energy. By acknowledging that these are uncontrollable instances that will not affect us on race day helps us to focus on taking our training one step at a time while realizing the big picture, which is working hard every day towards improvement.
Negative Thought: “My arch-rival showed up; what if he/she beats me?”
Reframe: “Competition brings out my best.”
Why it works: Sometimes athletes get so caught up in what they feel “should” happen during competition (ex. that they must win, must PR, must place in their age group, etc.) that they forget why they enjoy racing in the first place. This reframe helps athletes remind themselves that racing is not always about the end result, but also about the process. While winning is nice, a personal record performance is better in the long run, and focusing on the big picture can relieve the pressure to perform in a certain way.
March 11, 2017
Photo by Heather Gardner.
Returning from injury is a frustrating period of time for a runner, one where the risk of re-injury is extremely high. Often, athletes come back too fast, causing either a new injury or worsening symptoms of the old injury. A safe return to running is discussed.
Athletes often return too quickly to activity once they have been cleared to exercise, which often leads to setbacks and more frustration. A safe way to increase mileage is to follow the 10% rule, which states not to increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%. Although tedious, this method is a safe and effective way to ensure you do not succumb to another injury.
Listening to one’s body is an important aspect of returning from injury safely. Although it can be difficult to accept, runners are often slower and more easily fatigued in the first couple of weeks post-injury. Use the body’s signals of soreness and fatigue as signs that you should be conservative when you return to running, and avoid the urge to jump right back into intense training.
For runners who are coming back from injury and are struggling with sticking to a decreased training load, cross training can be the solution. Supplementing running with cross training helps a runner stay fit while reducing the amount of impact to the body. A general rule of thumb is that ten minutes of cross training is equivalent to one mile of running.
Coming back from injury is a great time to develop good habits, such as strength training, core, and physical therapy sessions. Using the time that is not currently being devoted to additional running to create strength and core routines specifically designed for your needs is recommended. For instance, if you developed a hamstring injury, focus on a lifting routine that strengthens hips, quadriceps, and hamstrings by implementing squats, lunges, and Russian deadlifts. By the time you are back to your normal training load, you will have decreased your chance of a reoccurrence and developed good habits in the process.
Another consideration when coming back from an injury is to invest in performance wear, such as compression socks that help circulation and promote recovery. If suffering from a lower leg injury, such as shin splints or a calf strain, compression socks will improve blood flow and the transport of oxygenated blood to the affected areas, thus improving recovery.
October 21, 2016
To run your best, a number of factors come into play: you must be physically fit, determined and arrive to the starting line uninjured. However, an often overlooked aspect of racing is the mental game. Running, more so than perhaps any other sport, is extremely dependent on mental toughness and the ability to push your body through boredom, pain and weakness. Below are three strategies to help you tackle your mental game and improve your running ability.
Have you ever gone into race day, barraging yourself with negative self talk before the race has even begun? Examples include complaining about the weather, questioning the quality of your training and evaluating the way the course will affect your time. While this negativity may seem harmless, the truth is that it weighs you down and can lead to slower times. According to sports psychologist Dean Hebert, the reframing technique is one of the best mental game tools in a runner’s arsenal Instead of saying, “the hills will slow me down today,” a positive reframe would be, “the hills will help me showcase how tough I really am.” Or, instead of worrying about a competitor beating you during a race, you can reframe the situation positively by pointing out to yourself that competition brings out the best in every competitor. Small changes in mindset like these can make a big difference.
Developing a Mantra
Common areas of weakness that runners often complain about having are the tendency to slow down at the end of the race or give up during the middle miles of a long run. For these runners, the development of a mantra can be helpful. Mantras are short phrases that can be repeated over and over throughout the race that help the brain focus on positivity. Mantras include “I am strong,” “one more mile,” or “I belong.” Mantras are just one small change a runner can make to improve his or her confidence, as they condition the brain for greater self-belief.
Visualization is a technique often touted by sports psychologists because of its proven effectiveness in helping a runner achieve his or her goals. In the weeks and months leading up to a race, runners should visualize themselves at various points on the course doing positive things, in as great of detail as possible. For instance, a marathoner might visualize him or herself standing at the starting line of the race, wearing the exact same clothes he or she plans to wear on race day. The visualization would include feeling strong and confident. In the beginning miles, the runner should visualize the feeling of strength and following the race plan set forth, while also feeling energized for the long road ahead. Contrary to popular belief, it is recommended to also visualize negative aspects of the race, such as feeling discomfort or struggling during the middle miles, but to then visualize bringing yourself away from the negativity and rising above it, stronger than before. Finally, visualize yourself crossing the finish line with the clock reading your goal time, and how good it will feel to finish. This strategy is so important, that many elites even schedule visualization into their daily training regime!
September 26, 2016
If you are like most runners, finding the time to stretch, work on core strength, and properly recover can be difficult. What if devoting as little as an extra 1 – 2 hours per week could improve these three aspects of your running? Attending yoga class once or twice weekly can do just that by providing the important benefits listed below.
Yoga has been shown to improve recovery by decreasing blood pressure, reducing heart rate, reducing blood glucose levels, and reducing stress. These benefits signal relaxation to the body, thereby reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood. As stress diminishes, inflammation also decreases, allowing the body to fully recover.
Improved Core Strength
Certain yoga styles, such as Vinyasa or Power Yoga, can double as intense core workouts. Many yoga positions deliver full body workouts, including plank, three-legged downward facing dog, Chaturanga, knee-to-arm plank, and chair pose.
While the jury is still out whether stretching before or after exercise definitively reduces the incidence of injury, no physiologist will deny that tight muscles can contribute to certain injuries, such as tendonitis or shin splints. When we run, muscles are shortened, which can lead to tightness, pulling and discomfort up the chain. Yoga helps to stretch and strengthen overworked muscles, such as calves, hamstrings, back, and hips. Prone to plantar fasciitis, tight calves, or hamstring strains? Yoga may help.
Improved Mental Toughness
One of the major tenets of yoga is unemotional observation of one’s surroundings. While it may be difficult to imagine how this correlates to running, consider the runner’s mindset late in the race or during a tough workout. Yoga can teach a runner to calmly take note of form, breathing, discomfort, etc. while creating a plan for action, instead of a mental breakdown.
Breath (also known as prana) is considered to be a major life force in yoga, capable of providing a person with energy. When we control our breathing, we are signaling to our bodies that all is well. Yoga teaches athletes how to provide themselves with clarity, calmness and energy through different breathing practices such as ‘the extended exhale’ where breath is drawn in for four counts, paused for two counts, exhaled for eight counts, and again paused for two counts before repeating the cycle. This form of breathing helps calm the parasympathetic system, which is directly responsible for relaxation — a trick that can be used late in a race!
September 08, 2016
Runners are often encouraged to start a lifting or core routine, yet many endurance athletes have little to no experience in the weight room and may not know where to begin. The following are exercises that are most beneficial for runners, as well as explanations on proper execution.
Squats are a great exercise for runners because they work hip, glute, hamstring, core, and quadricep muscles to support proper running form and prevent injuries in the knees and hips. For a proper squat, feet should be hip’s width apart and knees should always be above ankles. If squats are difficult because of Achilles tendon inflexibility, heel elevation can improve range of motion.
Romanian deadlifts (RDLs) are excellent for strengthening glutes, hips, and hamstrings. For this exercise, feet should be planted firmly on the ground at hip’s width apart. Any type of weight can be used, such as a barbell, two dumbbells, or a kettlebell, which should be held loosely in front of the body. With knees slightly bent, engage your glutes and slowly bend at the waist towards the floor, pushing lower back and glutes away from the body. Slowly return to starting position, using only hamstrings and glutes to power the movement.
Walking lunges are an exercise that helps runners gain functional strength while also strengthening small stability muscles that may be contributing to injury. With hands on hips, start by first driving your right knee towards the ceiling, and then landing firmly on your foot while lowering the knee of your left leg almost entirely to the floor. Once you are stable, continue moving forward by now bringing your left knee towards the ceiling and repeating the movement.
Many runners neglect their upper bodies when weight lifting because they mistakenly believe that legs and core are most important. However, chest, shoulder, and arm strength are necessary in order to maintain the body upright at the end of a race and also ensure the arms remain pumping long after the legs have grown tired. One great exercise to target all three areas (plus back and core) is bench press. Lie flat on your back on a bench with a dumbbell in either hand. For this exercise, using dumbbells instead of a bar is recommended for improved stability. Bring the dumbbells down towards armpits, and then push them away from the body until arms are fully extended.
August 28, 2016
A common misconception among runners is that when training for a marathon, speed does not matter. On the contrary, developing fast twitch muscles in addition to working the aerobic system is very important for improved running and metabolic efficiencies, as well as improved running economy. Additionally, the more comfortable you become while running fast, the easier your marathon pace will feel. Listed below are four workouts that benefit marathoners.
Hill repeats are a great workout for any type of runner to build endurance, strength, speed and stamina. They also help replicate the way your legs will feel in the later stages of a race. An example workout includes doing a 2–3 mile warm up, then running 8–12 times hard up a 100–400 m hill. When you get to the top, walk or jog down easy, and repeat. After the hill workout run a 2–3 mile cool down.
Tempo runs should be the bread and butter of a marathoner’s speed work regimen. These workouts help the body become efficient while running at a sustained effort, and also reinforce pacing. In addition, running tempos at marathon goal pace helps the runner become familiar with the effort required during the race. Common tempo runs for marathoners include 8–12 miles at marathon pace, or 4–6 miles at half marathon pace.
Improving your ability to run fast at shorter distances, such as 5k or 10k, is recommended since marathon pace is correlated to how much “true” speed a runner has, as evidenced by equivalent performance calculators. Cruise intervals incorporate both endurance and speed. For this workout, simply run your normal distance (e.g., 6–12 miles), but run hard during the last 200–400 m of every mile. During the remaining 1200–1400 m of each mile, run a normal pace without slowing down to recover from the hard portion.
The world’s best marathon performances have been run with even or negative splits, where the second half of the marathon was the same pace or faster than the first half. An excellent way to train your body to feel comfortable racing in this way is progression runs, where each mile of the run is completed 10–15 seconds faster than the previous mile.
July 20, 2016
For many runners, the tendency to follow the same routine day in and day out is strong. We have the same routes, same workouts, same paces and same races that we like to run on a daily, monthly and yearly basis. We also have preferences for whether we run alone or with friends, and rarely reevaluate these decisions. However, there are advantages to adding variety to your routine and the benefits of running alone versus with others should be weighed, especially if you’re looking for gains in performance.
Many runners choose to run by themselves because they use running as an escape or simply wish to unplug from the world around them with as few distractions as possible. There are many advantages of this approach:
Some runners do not excel in a group environment because they have a difficult time focusing on themselves, instead of others. When alone, there is no one to compare yourself to; no one to push you too hard during practice and no one to distract you from your thoughts. These are especially important considerations when returning from injury, as running in a group can often cause a runner to push him or herself through pain and slow down the healing process.
Sometimes, running alone is simply what we crave. Everyone has days where we need time to get lost in our thoughts or be one with nature. When we feel like the world is resting on our shoulders, having a running partner talk idly about his or her day can be less than welcome.
When running alone we only have to answer to ourselves. Want to watch another episode on Netflix before heading out the door? No problem! Have a job with an unpredictable schedule that makes running at routine times difficult? Running alone avoids the hassle of having to find a time that works for everyone.
Nothing is more frustrating than getting into the middle of a run with a good pace, but feeling guilty about dropping your running partner. On the flip side, when you aren’t feeling great but your running partner keeps picking up the pace, it can be difficult to admit to needing to slow down. Running alone helps you avoid these situations.
Running in a Group
Now that the advantages of running solo have been discussed, what about the benefits of running in a group?
Running alone, especially at night or on trails, can be dangerous. A number of incidents can occur, such as getting hit by a car, being physically assaulted, getting attacked by an animal, or suffering an injury and becoming stranded. Running in a group not only minimizes the chance of these occurrences, but can prevent them altogether.
Runners are a unique bunch of people who can easily be misunderstood. Running in groups is a great way to build a social network and can lead to interesting business relationships, as well.
Unless you truly dislike socializing with other people, running in a group is the best way to have fun while engaging in an activity that you enjoy. Goofy antics, deep conversations or simply having others to draft off of can make a 20 mile run go by fast.
Improvements in Performance
Ever wonder why many elite runners train in groups? The best results often come when we have others to push ourselves to be our best.
July 12, 2016
Within the past 5 years, half marathon participation has reached an all-time high, with over 2 million runners completing the distance in 2014, according Running USA’s annual survey. Among these 2 million+ half marathon finishers, a large number of participants were racing 13.1 for the first time. What should runners who are new to the distance expect? Below are the thoughts that every half marathoner has during the race.
Before the race: As you stand on the starting line with thousands of other runners, you will experience thoughts ranging from excitement to dread. Before the gun goes off you may find yourself thinking, “this is so exciting! I can’t wait to start!” followed by, “wait…13.1 miles is a LONG way to go.”
Mile 2: After the gun goes off any dread you may have felt will disappear. At the second mile you will likely feel invincible, and wonder what all the fuss about half marathons being tough is about.
Mile 6: Approximately around mile 6 you will realize that you have been running for a while yet you are not even half way done with the race yet. At this point, panic might ensue.
Mile 8: After you are safely past the half way point of the race you will get a second wind and feel much the same way you did at mile 2. You will feel strong, confident, and ready to fly for the final 5 miles!
Mile 10: At mile 10 you realize you have now been running for a really long time, but you still have 5k to go. Panic may again ensue.
Mile 13: Only 0.1 miles to go! During this final stretch you will forget any pain you felt during the race and focus instead on the beer tent, but not before stopping by the registration table and reserving your spot in the race for next year!
July 09, 2016
There are countless myths that surround running, which is surprising, given how simple an activity running truly is. Many people believe there is a certain body type, pace, or training plan that must be followed in order to be the best runner possible, while the truth is that running is as diverse as the people who partake in this favorite form of exercise. Listed below are six common myths about running and their corresponding facts.
Myth: You have to be able to run a certain pace and distance to be considered a runner.
Fact: Anyone who runs is a runner, no matter how fast, slow, short, or far a person can run.
Myth: You must own special running gear to be a runner.
Fact: There is no gear requirement for running, other than a good pair of running shoes. Whether you only own cotton t-shirts or would never be caught dead without your favorite pair of spandex shorts, you are a runner if you run.
Myth: You will never be able to recover your fitness if you take time off.
Fact: Numerous runners mistakenly believe they should never take time off, not even after a goal race. The fact of the matter is that your body requires time to heal, absorb training, repair, and reenergize. Not taking a break from training puts your body at risk for injury, illness, thyroid disorders, overtraining, and mental burnout.
Myth: You have to run fast everyday in order to improve.
Fact: The most effective way to train is to run hard on your hard days, and easy on your easy days. While applying stress to the body is a crucial component of improving, recovery is just as crucial. Hard workouts should be run 2–3 times per week, while the rest of the time you should run easy base mileage.
Myth: There is such a thing as a runner’s body.
Fact Contrary to popular belief, there is no height and weight limit that disqualifies a person from being a good runner. If this were the case, race finishers would cross the line in order of body fat composition, not ability
Myth: Every runner reaches a point where he or she will never improve.
Fact: Many athletes believe that once a certain age is reached, running ability will immediately begin to decline. While it may be true that as we age our bodies will require different nutrition, recovery, and training, there will always be room to improve. We must ask ourselves whether age is holding us back, or simply our willingness to adjust our training in the necessary ways.