5 Myths About Runners
People who do not run – both those totally opposed to it, or who have always wanted to, but felt intimidated – seem to have a lot of opinions about us runners, and most of them aren’t true! I’m sure you’ve been in this situation before; you strike up a conversation at a party and you mention something about running and get a response similar to, “Oh, you’re one of those.” (Unless, of course you get lucky and they are a runner too!)
From the way we eat to the way we think, there are many things non-runners assume of us. While some assumptions hold a little truth, for the most part they are largely myths.
Here are the top 5 myths about runners, and why – for the majority of us – they aren’t so.
They Constantly Brag About Running
I admit, I talk about running…a lot! I even have a blog about it. But there is a difference between “talking” and “bragging”. You know when you have that thing that excites you, that you spend a lot of time doing and thinking about? Or how about when you find something new like a kitchen tool or cool tech gadget or new band that changes your world? You tell everyone who will listen! Runners like to share what they love, which is running. No one aims to make someone feel bad for not running, but it could be interpreted that way depending on who is listening.
For someone who doesn’t run, listening to someone talking about completing a marathon or running a 6 minute mile sounds like bragging, because they likely can’t fathom what it is like. In reality, the runner is simply talking about what’s going on in their life and if they are marathon training, that’s about all that’s going on!
Their Diets Are Super Strict
At least for me, this is far from the truth! While I – and many runners – aim to eat healthful, well-rounded diets, most of us run, so we can enjoy Taco Tuesday’s and throw back a few beers on the weekend. True, as a runner you probably pay a little more attention to what you put in your body. Fueling smart helps you run better (GI issues are a real struggle!) and recover quicker, so it’s in your best interest to eat a diet full of foods that help your running.
With that said, being so active gives runners more leeway to indulge a little more without the risk of quickly packing on pounds or instantly raising their cholesterol. In the end, runners watch what they eat, but they also enjoy what they eat.
They ONLY Run
When training for a marathon it may seem like they only have time to run, but most runners spend time in the gym outside of running. Strength training is imperative for a long and successful running career. Personally, I do a full body strength training workout 2-3 times every week, and many runners I know are into group classes like Body Pump or CrossFit.
Yoga and stretch/strengthening classes like pilates are popular with runners to relieve sore muscles and help build and maintain core strength which is essential for proper running form. Yes, running may be their main form of exercise, but most runners have interests in other activities ranging from power lifting to acro-yoga!
They Always Get Injured
We’ve all had that friend who hobbles around in The Boot for 6-8 weeks. Running injuries happen, but they’re not a common as many non-runners believe! As M. Gideon Hoyle writes;
Running appears to produce superior improvements in bone density when compared with rowing, as well as other options such as cycling or swimming. It has especially positive benefits for the health of the bones in your legs. –Livestrong.com
The key here is moderation and slow progression. Many people experience injuries like stress fractures from increasing their mileage and intensity too quickly, so it’s not the running that’s injuring them. It’s the mistake of demanding too much too soon.
Like any other sport, when you use a smart training plan and listen to your body, running can and will make you stronger, and not inevitably lead to injury.
They’re All Slim with No Muscle
Nothing is more apparent at the start line of a race than the fact that there is not one type of runner’s body. It doesn’t exist! True, when you look at the Olympic marathoners, not one of them has body fat to spare, but these are not average runners. Despite what non-runners seem to think, real runners come in all shapes, sizes, and ages, and often their performance outweighs, well, their weight.
Take Mirna, for example, who was recently featured on not only Runner’s World, but People, Women’s Running, and NBC News to name a few, for crushing the stereotype of the skinny runner. Mirna – at 5’7″ 250 pounds – averages 25-30 miles a week and is an ultra runner which is more than I can claim.
But Mirna is only one example of the majority of runners with a larger frame and visible muscle. As I pointed out earlier, many runners enjoy muscle building workouts in addition to their running schedule, and when you head out for a run in your neighborhood, you’re more likely to see people running that don’t fit the runner’s body profile than do. And they just might pass you!
What did you think about runners before you started running?
Now that you’re a runner, how has that changed?