Are You Running as Efficiently as Possible? Let’s Take a Look!
May Gray is gone. June Gloom is (hopefully) gone. July Spry (you heard it here first) is (hopefully) here for a while, so let’s take advantage while we can before it gets too hot and you can’t run on the sidewalk without bumping into tourists.
You’ve stumbled across our first article in Ju-Lie, where we tackle fitness myths and this week, we’ve decided to take on running. We here at La Jolla Sports Club support cross-training, so while we love seeing your smiling faces in the gym, we also want you to enjoy everything La Jolla has to offer, like running along the water and soaking up the sun.
Before you strap in (are those the right shoes, by the way? This New York Times article might say differently), let’s check out some myths that we all hold pretty close to our soles.
Myth 1: Stretch Before You Run
I know. I know. I know. All of our lives, we’ve been told that it’s important to stretch before running. Recent studies, however, have shown that static stretching (stretches that are held for a period of time) should NOT be done prior to running. Instead, you’ll want to use dynamic movements, such as walking lunges, butt kickers, high knees and these to open up your hips and legs and literally warm up your body. Not only can static stretching injure and tear cold muscles, results of a study published in September 2010 in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that distance runners who performed static stretches before running had significantly reduced performance and greater energy expenditure compared to those who did not stretch. So, the takeaway: dynamically stretch pre-run, while saving the static stretching for after your run, which will help to calm the body and also bring the muscles back to balance.
Myth 2: Run Every Day
Running every day is not necessary and can actually lead to overtraining, injury, burnout and the mother of all fitness-killers: boredom. Instead, incorporate cross-training (i.e., biking, elliptical machine, rowing, CLASSES) into your routine. Many runners find that they perform best if they take at least one day off from training each week, while others do better with two rest days each week. Experiment to see what works best for you.
Myth 3: Runners Don’t Need to Strength Train
This ties directly into Myth #2. Runners used to just run. Don’t be that girl or guy. Strength training builds up the muscles and joints that runners use most and can help improve performance and decrease injury. Strength training also helps improve body composition for a tighter, streamlined frame. A couple of functional training sessions a week will do the trick–utilize multi-joint exercises to get the most bang for your buck. You can knock out a killer workout in 45mins if you do it right. Got questions? Ask one of our trainers.
Myth 4: Mileage is All That Matters
What you do with your weekly mileage is more important than the actual number of miles that you run. To boost running performance, runners should alternate between hard days (tempo runs, hill work and speed work) and one long run each week. Varying the intensity and the mileage during your workouts will help you make greater performance gains than running at the same pace and distance every day.
Myth 5: Running on a treadmill is as effective as running outside
Running against the wind and on uneven terrain engages requires more energy and more of your muscles. Studies have shown that you can burn up to 10% more calories running outside. Plus, our backyard is awesome.
Have a great week / end and be safe running out there! Check in next week when we tackle a few fitness myths.
// Your friendly La Jolla Sports Club team