Thursday, 22 April 2021

About Running - Fact or Fiction

When it comes to running, it seems that there are many experts, especially amongst the non-runners.  They are the ones who are quick to tell you about the cons of running.  I am not quite sure what the reasons are behind their anti-running attitude, but I myself in the past have used a few of these wisdoms to convince myself that it is better to walk rather than run.  Pulling one of these reasons out of my excuses booklet made me feel better about not running. I am sure you are familiar with quite a few of these anti-running "facts".  So let us have a look at a few of these so called facts.

One of the first "facts" you'll often hear is that humans were not made to run. We have actually dealt with this notion in my previous post, , please feel free to read about it there.  Another 'fact" is that runners need to be a certain body type, size, height or weight to run.  This is absolutely not true, and although elite runners are usually smaller and lighter than regular runners, it is not a pre-requisite to run. Charles Bungert of the USA is proof that you do not have to be the right size to be a runner.  At 193 kg he ran the LA Marathon in 2013.

Another fact offered by the expert non-runners is that running is bad for your knees.  This one certainly sounds to the lay person like the gospel truth.  I mean we can all imagine the pounding a person's knees must take when running.  Surely that impact can only be very detrimental to those vulnerable joints.  We envision knee-replacement surgery as the final outcome for abusing our knees in such a manner.  The truth is, however, that it is not running which can damage your knees, but running incorrectly. You can read more about it here: .  Several studies have shown that running seems to have very real benefits for our knee joints.  It can help to reduce inflammation in the joint and actually protect our knees and delay the onset of  osteoarthritis.

Let's bust another myth.  Many people believe that you can only call yourself a runner if you can run fast and/or far.  Absolutely not true!  Neither pace nor distance makes you a runner.  There is not an exam you need to pass or a certificate or a degree you can get that would declare you a runner.  Whether you run fast, slow, sleek as a panther or awkwardly like a giraffe on stilts, you are a RUNNER.  Whether you venture out once a week for twenty minutes or run five days a week, you are a runner.  All that matters is that you run.  Whether you regularly take part in races or you have never signed up for a single one is of no importance, you are still a RUNNER!

Another fallacy many people believe along with the above mentioned myth is that "runners don't walk".  A chant you often hear when passing a running bus in an ultra marathon is: "No walking in running shoes", and while this chant does help to keep you focused on your goal, there is a lot to be said about taking walking breaks.  Many people have the opinion that only beginner runners do this, however, even seasoned runners employ this strategy.  Whether you run non-stop, or prefer the run-walk-run method, you are still a runner!

One final myth I want to bust once and for all, is the one that says "I am too old to run".  There is no age restriction when it comes to running.  Some people have started in primary school or even pre-school, but in recent years a large number of people has started running later in life.  Male runners over 40, referred to as "Masters", now represent about 50% of the marathon finishers in the USA, while women over 40 make up about 40% of the marathon finishers.  In 2011, at a 100 years of age, Fauja Singh was the oldest marathon runner.

So, how about it?  As you can see there is no reason at all why you, yes you reading this, can not also become a runner.  It is easy to get into , low cost, accessible anywhere and anytime and it is very good for your health.  Next time we will talk about the benefits and how to start running.  I hope to see you here on my blog.

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