Common Myths and Misconceptions About Distance Running

Many distance running and marathon events are held in Singapore yearly. This is a sport that’s been constantly evolving throughout the years. Elite runners are getting faster and records are getting broken left and right. Even so, there are still many misconceptions about running itself, both from average, “non-running” people and other fitness circles. Here are some of those and why you shouldn’t believe them too easily.

Running is easy

Obviously, everyone knows how to run. But not everyone can run competitively. In this case, running competitively means knowing the bodily mechanisms and movements that help one run in the most effective way possible.

For instance, the strategies and training programs can be very different for a sprinter and a long-distance runner. But then again, they do share common knowledge about running itself. If you don’t know the proper running form for example, and you challenge a long-distance runner to a sprint, it’s still very possible for you to lose.

Too much running can decrease muscle mass

Though this is partially true, running doesn’t exactly eat away at your muscles. This misconception is fueled by the fact that just about all elite runners we see are skinny. But it’s exactly because they’re skinny that they become elite runners and not that they’re skinny because they run.

In reality, if you do strength training, you won’t reduce your muscle size even if running is your main form of exercise. Of course, if you start increasing your mileage and stop lifting weights, that’s when you’ll stop seeing muscle gains. You won’t get smaller but won’t get any bigger as well. 

A runner has to take in as much water as possible

When it came to hydration, the runners from before thought they shouldn’t let themselves get thirsty and filled up on as much water as possible. This is because thirst is a sign of dehydration and they thought that becoming dehydrated was their body’s way of telling them to slow down.

However, because they were runners, they could never slow down. Later on though, studies have found that too much water intake before a race could drop blood sodium levels. This can cause swelling and have many long-term repercussions on our health. So, it’s been recommended to drink water only when you get thirsty.

You don’t need to build strength, just endurance

Strength and power are very important aspects in a runner’s arsenal. To use the classic example, you can’t put a Lamborghini engine on a regular old compact car. The car itself won’t be able to take the power. You need to make your body stronger so that you can maximize your potential for endurance as well.

In addition, strength training will help you make your bones, joints, and muscles stronger. This means that when you do some kind of strength or mobility-focused exercise, you’re not only making yourself more explosive, you’re also becoming less vulnerable to injuries.