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August 05, 2014

Exercise Facts or Myths: True or False?

Written by Dena Evans

 

 

It is amazing how rumors or wives tales can be passed among friends or down through the ages, affecting the behavior of thousands without any basis on solid ground.  Even an experienced runner or walker can be operating off of a faulty or outdated instruction manual now and again.  Although we bring up these topics periodically in the blog, they are always worthwhile to review.

 

 

More mileage is always better

 

False.  Training allows you to prepare for the race task, and extended periods of significant volume could allow you to be prepared for very challenging tasks.  It also could leave you injured and unable to do any challenging tasks.   Your runcoach schedule is calibrated to consider what you have done in the past and will help you safely progress, prioritizing the goal of arriving at race day ready to do your best.  This means planned and regular recovery.  Every week will not necessarily include more mileage than the last.  Consistent training over time is the best way to gradually increase your volume, but in many cases other aspects of your schedule can make an even bigger difference than merely just mileage alone.

 

You must carbo-load before every race

 

False. Race-organized pasta feeds and a sincere effort to prepare as well as possible often lead participants down a road of excessive consumption the night before a race.  There is scant evidence that loading up in this fashion can effect shorter races such as a 5K or 10K, and even in longer efforts, fueling effectively during the race can often have a bigger say in the final analysis.  Consider also how much a body can process in 12 hours.  Consuming 3 or 4 times your typical size dinner must be dealt with, and that process might interrupt your morning more than any lack of energy you were worried about to begin with.

 

You can train at your current fitness and still progress

 

True! Hundreds of thousands of workouts for thousands of plans has reinforced our conviction that a training plan based on paces associated with your current fitness level can allow you to adapt and perform at a progressively higher level.   Training specifically for goal pace sounds like a great idea, but you might not have figured out exactly how far you can progress in the time between the current day and your goal race day.  What if you were actually in better shape than you thought?  What if you didn’t progress as far as you hoped?  Would you still embark upon that pace?  Of course not.  We provide the tools you need to make successful race efforts with confidence, knowing you have done the work to support your plan.  This doesn’t mean that you never have workouts that include paces faster than what might be your goal pace  - your 5K pace will always be faster than your marathon pace, but the data is based on you and your current fitness.

 

Exercise is bad for you as you age

 

False.  A widely cited and encouraging Stanford University study reinforced what avid runners have felt for years - that running actually has a positive effect on most aging athletes.  Senior citizen runners tracked for over 25 years have no increased incidence of osteoarthritis issues in their knees, have lower mortality rates, and generally have delayed onset of mobility and other issues related to aging.    Certainly older runners need to take good care of themselves, adjusting their schedule as needed, but sensible running actually appears to benefit a person as they hit the silver years.

 

Studies have found similar benefits from walking: http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/research-points-to-even-more-health-benefits-of-walking

 

You aren’t a real runner if you don’t run fast

 

False.  One of the great things about our sport is that it provides an unlimited amount of access points, from walkers to Olympic sprinters and everyone in between.  Some of us are triathletes and some of us don’t have time to train for longer distances, sticking with 5Ks.  Some of us enjoy track workouts, and others stick mainly to the trails. As the ranks of adult runners and walkers increases, so has the definition of “athlete” broadened as well.  Any arbitrary cut off for what constitutes a “real” athlete could be just as nonsensical as saying that if we can’t match Usain Bolt or Meb, why try.  Count us among those who are glad the sport is inclusive, and we look forward to supporting you as you achieve your personal bests on the road ahead.

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