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The Myths and Truths About Running

Start Your Run with a Stretch

Stretching is important, but it shouldn’t be the first thing you do before a run. Before a run, most likely, your muscles are cold. Stretching cold muscles can actually damage them. So what should you do first? Warm up. Walk several minutes to warm up your muscles, then do stretching exercises.

Bananas Prevent Cramps

Some runners eat lots of bananas-which is a good source of potassium-in order to prevent cramps. However, before you start hoarding bananas as if you’re going to feed King Kong, hold up. Although bananas are great pre and post-workout snacks, mostly likely they won’t prevent you from cramping up. Cramps are caused by dehydration and fatigue. So the best way to prevent them is to get rest, not overexert yourself, and be well hydrated.

Load Up on Carbs

While on the topic of what to eat, should you load up on carbohydrates before a run? Nope. Loading up on food, carbs or otherwise, is a bad idea before a run. Never eat to the point of being really full just minutes before a run. What you can do is eat complex carbs an hour before your run. Why complex carbs? These type of carbs-which include whole foods-are converted by the body into energy at a steady rate, so you get a continuous energy supply. Complex carbs also have more nutrients, fiber and won’t cause a blood sugar spike.

Barefoot is better

This is a bit tricky. A lot of people swear that barefoot-or minimalist-is the way to go. But the truth is, it’s more of an acquired taste, as well as if it fits your physiological make-up. This type of running either provides little cushioning and support or none at all, so check with your doctor if it’s really for you. Some people, depending on their gait, need lots of foot support and suddenly going minimalist can cause injuries.

Strengthen Training is Unnecessary

Running is not just about your feet and legs. If you want to run better, make sure your upper body is also fit. And strength training can help you with that. Strength training can stabilize your core, which is essential in running, as well as in other sports and every day activities.

Any Athletic Shoe Will Do

Will any rubber shoe do? Absolutely not. You see, running hits your feet with repetitive stress. Also, the impact of running, triples the weight your feet are already handling so you really need the right shoes. Choose running shoes which are specific for your gait-overpronator or supinator. Otherwise, your injury risk will increase.

Another myth is that the more cushioning, the better. Again, this will depend on your gait. However, in general, the right cushioning is better that a lot of cushioning since the latter will hinder flexibility and explosiveness.

Wear Anything

What you wear is also important. Exercise clothing, like technical wear, makes you feel more comfortable and enhances running performance through its technological features. An example of technical wear is Lotto apparel. Diadora also has technical clothes. Avoid 100 percent cotton clothes since these type of apparel are notorious for holding in a lot of moisture while taking too long to dry.

Bigger Strides for Better Gain

Newbies often over stride-take bigger steps-when they run. The reason is they want bigger gains by doing more in less the time. But that is not exactly true, bigger strides will make you slower in the long run because of its unnatural steps. Also, it makes you prone to shin injuries because it adds too much pressure outside and in front of the shin bone.