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Do This, Not That: Debunking Myths to Make Running More Efficient

A woman takes a break from running to have some water in front of a concrete wall

You may have seen the episode of The Office, “Fun Run,” when Michael Scott carbo-loads minutes before a charity 5k with a container of fettuccine alfredo. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t end well for him.

The beloved manager of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company fell for one of the biggest myths in the running world. While it’s true you should increase your carbohydrate intake during the week leading up to a race that lasts longer than two hours, it’s not necessary to eat a big pasta dinner the night before a race.

There are many other running myths floating around out there. Avoid falling for them. Here are some things you should do instead.

1. Do a Warm-Up Before a Run; Don’t Static Stretch

Stretching is super important for anyone performing physical activity. But save the static stretching for after your run. Instead, try warming up with leg swings, lunges, or high knees. This type of warm-up can help you get your blood pumping and your heart rate up, while still stretching your limbs.

2. Do Drink Water; Don’t Drink a Sports Drink

Sports drinks are a great and tasty option during long runs because they replace the electrolytes and calories you lose and help you keep going. But during short runs – less than an hour – water is a better thirst-quencher.

3. Do Cross-train; Don’t Run Every Day

If you’re an avid runner, it may be tempting to run every day. But too much running could lead to over-training and injury. Instead, try cross-training by mixing in other activities, like kickboxing, swimming, or even hopping on an elliptical machine. It helps balance your muscle groups and prevents you from getting bored. Plus, it’s a good idea to take a least one day off a week because it allows time for your body to heal.

4. Do Strength Train; Don’t Avoid the Weights

Many runners believe they don’t need to do anything but run to prepare for a big race. But strength training actually improves your ability to run because it makes you stronger and faster and helps to prevent injury. And strength training is more than lifting weights — in fact, you don’t even need weights. You can incorporate planks, squats, and lunges in between any run.

5. Do Switch Up Your Mileage; Don’t Run the Same Miles Everyday

If you’re someone who wakes up at the same time, eats the same breakfast, gets ready in the same order, and runs the same five-mile route every day, a routine is probably important to you. But running the same miles, at the same pace every day doesn’t help you if you’re trying to improve your running performance. Try adding short and long runs to your weekly routine, throw in some hills, and speed up/slow down your pace and you may experience a boosted performance in your next race.


Ashley Weyler

I’m a writer and a film, music, and TV buff who loves Philadelphia sports. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, which means I’m always on-the-go. I try to make healthy decisions that fit with my lifestyle; whether it’s choosing healthy food while eating at a restaurant, finding exercises I enjoy doing so I stay motivated, or achieving a good work-life balance.