8 Common Running Myths, Busted!
You've probably heard several of them numerous times—"be sure to stretch before you run" and "always finish your runs with a cool down"—but is there any real truth to them?
We asked exercise science expert Michele Olson, PhD, FACSM, CSCS, professor of exercise science at Auburn University Montgomery, and creator of the Perfect Legs, Glutes & Abs DVD to help us sort out the facts from fiction of these popular running misconceptions.
Myth: You Should Always Stretch Before You Run
The Truth: "Static stretching is not the optimal way to warm-up before you run," Olson says. Believe it or not, you could actually strain your muscles with static stretching, and it might even slow you down. Instead, focus on getting oxygen to your muscles and warm them up—literally, Olson recommends. "Start out by walking and trotting: swing your arms; shrug your shoulders and slowly elevate your heart rate for about 10 minutes before you pick up your pace."
That doesn’t mean you should skip stretching completely, Olson says. Just make sure to do it after your run, when your muscles are very warm and full of oxygen and nutrients; and then engage in static stretching, focusing on your leg, hip, and low-back muscles.