Every niche has urban myths that stick with it for years on end. I can remember growing up–on a lake no less–and my parents preventing me from swimming after eating for at least an hour. It was cruel torture, let me tell you. The thinking behind it? You can cramp, and then presumably drown. Today, of course, we know better. I, and my kids, will jump right into the water within minutes of eating and we’re just fine.
More than likely, that myth had already been dispelled by the time I was a kid, but as humans, we like to hold onto these things long after the expiration date, don’t we? That is certainly the case with running. Yesterday, a non-running neighbor (it’s always the non-runners who have the opinion, right?) started spouting off about how running on concrete surfaces was harder on the body than blacktop or tracks. I am no good at holding my tongue for the sake of peace when something is blatantly wrong like this, so I piped up. Rather than the surface being important on impact, it’s the way a runner lands or doesn’t land that sends the most shockwaves through the body. Yet here we are, holding onto that false concept well after it’s been disproven.
A few more of these myths that drive me bananas:
- Pronation is bad and should be corrected. I’ve spouted off on this one before and how that whole idea stems from shoe companies looking to sell us an expensive shoe.
- We need to drink before we are thirsty, especially in long events. I just finished writing an article on this for the Daily Burn, and quite the opposite is true. We need to drink to thirst, not override that inherent signal our body sends us. Overdrinking, or hyponatremia, can be far more detrimental than a bit of dehydration.
- Inflammation is the enemy. Not always the case. With an acute injury, like an ankle sprain, yes, you want to get on top of excessive inflammation. But in the case of something that is chronic, inflammation is actually part of your body’s healing response and anti-inflammatory treatment might hinder this healing. And sometimes–like with most chronic tendon injuries–it’s actually tissue degeneration, not inflammation, that is the problem.
Those are just a few that come to mind, but I know there are others. What running myths drive you crazy?