I was reading this article the other day from the Sock Doc on stretching (an article with which I concur) when I realized how much some of my beliefs about running have changed over the years. It’s bound to happen in a 15-yr. period–new research emerges to change viewpoints and you are exposed to new and different ways of training. The important thing is not to get stuck or too hung up on one way of thinking.
The interesting thing I find is not just that I’ve changed my viewpoints on certain aspects of running, but how radically I’ve changed that viewpoint in some areas. Here’s where I’ve been and where I am now:
* Stretching–I used to spend lots of time after every single run stretching, thinking that was what you needed to do to prevent injury. Then the Sock Doc opened my eyes on it and I gave it up. My body has never felt better. I truly believe now that I was only hurting my muscles with stretching, not helping at all.
* Shoes–If there’s anyone out there who has done a 180 on this, it is me. I used to wear stability shoes and orthotics. In fact, I never spent a minute out of my orthotics. And you know what? I kept getting injured. Now I live in my bare feet, only wear minimalist shoes for running and casual wear, and again, have never had fewer aches and pains.
* Ice baths–I used to be a big advocate of the ice bath post long run. After learning that there’s really no research to support this idea, I decided there was no reason to torture myself. I haven’t missed the cold and I haven’t missed any “relief” I thought I was getting.
* Ibuprofen use–When I first got started in endurance sports, people used to pop these pills left and right. I’m talking before, during and after events. I was never a huge user because it has always upset my GI tract, but now, I just don’t use it. I am a believer in the concept that our bodies use the inflammatory process to heal and that we are slowing down that process when we fight it. Not only that, but I just think ibuprofen is a harsh drug that can have plenty of bad consequences on our bodies.
* Taking the day off after a race or long run–This is one that is very individual, but I have changed greatly here, also. I used to always take the day off after my long runs and races. Now I find that a shorter shake-out run the day after helps clear my legs of the junk and speed along the recovery process.
There are other areas where I’ve changed my ways/beliefs as well, but those are the biggies. The inevitable question is–if I can change my views that much in my first 15 years of running, what will I believe in come another 15?
How about you? How have you changed your thinking since getting started as a runner?