8 Common Running Myths, Busted!

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5K Training Schedule: To Improve Your Time

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5K Training Schedule: To Improve Your Time

Myth: You Should Run with Wider Strides to Avoid Shin Splints

The Truth: Actually, the opposite of this is true. "If you have shin pain on the front and to the outside of your shin bone, you are most likely over-taxing the muscle and tendon that runs to that side of the shin bone," Olson says. "You should actually shorten your stride to avoid excessive pulling on that muscle. If you have pain in the inside of the shin it may not be a problem with your stride at all but an overly flexible ankle joint that allows your foot to roll inward too much. Strengthening your arches will be your best strategy, along with stretching your Achilles tendon, to avoid this type of shin splint."

Myth: To Avoid Tightness, Runners Shouldn't Strength Train

The Truth: Believe it or not, strength training has never been proven to decrease flexibility or cause tightness in the joints, Olson says. “In fact, the strongest athletes—Olympic weight lifters—have more flexibility than any other athletic group except for gymnasts." Why? Think about it: When you do a full range of motion squat, you help improve the flexibility in your hips. When you do a lat pull down, you are improving the flexion and extension range of your shoulders, Olson says. Adding total-body strength workouts to your routine could actually help improve your runs: "weight training helps your muscles to be more powerful. Doing lighter weights and explosive moves will go far to help you run faster and finish off races with a stronger kick."

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