Updated: April 27, 2020
Whether you’ve been running for years or are just toying with getting started, you’ve likely been told quite a few lies about running.
Which is how we often find ourselves believing some of these common running lies.
Some may have been well-intended, while others might have been shared to try and steer you away from the sport. But regardless of intention, it’s time we clear up a few of these running lies.
With so many people participating in the sport, it makes sense that running can create quite a bit of controversy.
Related: 9 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Running
Once you’ve been running for some time, it’s funny to hear what others have to say about the sport. Many assumptions could not be further from the truth, but without personal experience, it might be tempting to believe them.
Here are a few of the most common running lies – and what the truth about running actually is.
8 Lies You Have Been Told About Running
You need to start when you’re young.
We’ll start out with one of the most common misconceptions: the older you are, the harder it is to run. This running lie is based on the assumption that as you age, your physical activity needs to decrease to accommodate your weakening body.
While you may need to adapt your activity or expectations as you gain in years, you most certainly can continue (or start!) running.
Running is one of the few sports that can be almost completely tailored to the individual. If you’re just beginning, alternate between running and walking. Aiming for a goal? Challenge yourself to run faster. Starting to age? Slow down.
When someone tells you that you shouldn’t be running at your age: prove them wrong. Missed out when you were younger and want to start now? Do so without hesitation. Listen to your body and adjust accordingly, but don’t be afraid to get out there and get started.
This is one of those statements we wish so desperately were true.
I guess if you tried hard enough and were really conscious of it, you might be able to run your entire life without spending much money. But for most of us, hearing that running is inexpensive is one of the biggest lies.
When you get started, you’ll want to invest in a high-quality pair of running shoes. This alone will probably be enough to get you started and stay injury free, but once you dive deeper into the sport, you may find that you want to purchase some high-quality running gear.
As you continue to run, the seasons might change and you’ll likely find yourself needing new accessories to accommodate different weather.
And once things are really grooving, you’ll probably find yourself wanting to sign up for a race. Here’s where things really ramp up. Between the travel, race fees, and commemorative gear you’ll probably purchase at the expo, races can get pretty expensive.
But you know what?
It’s all worth it.
Every single penny spent on this beautiful sport is money you invest in yourself, your well-being, your health and your mental state.
So continue running, participating in events, and feeling confident in your gear. Because we’ve earned it.
You have to run fast.
NEVER believe this running lie.
So many people assume that in order to be considered a “runner” you need to run a certain pace, for a certain distance.
This is so untrue.
Whether you’re clocking in 5 minute miles on the track or jogging 12 minute miles through the neighborhood – you are doing it right.
Related: For All the “Slow Runners” Out There
Everyone’s running style is different. This sport has a beautiful way of celebrating diversity and promoting inclusivity. Take a look around you at the start of any race and you’ll likely find runners aiming to qualify for a larger race mixed in with those heading out to run/walk the entire race.
You are a runner regardless of your speed. So get out there, put one foot in front of the other, and RUN.
It’s bad for your joints.
One of the most common running lies circulating out there is the belief that running is bad for your joints.
While the repetitive pounding of our sport may put some extra impact on your joints, the health benefits of maintaining a regular running habit greatly help make up for this impact.
Although there will be some pounding on your joints while you run, you’ll also strengthen your muscles, improve your cardiovascular efficiency and promote healthy blood flow.
As your body gains efficiency, you’ll likely build up those muscles and strengthen the tendons surrounding your joints to help protect them from impact.
With the right combination of strength training and healthy choices throughout the day, your joints might end up being better off with a regular running habit than without one.
You have to run the entire time.
So many people believe that in order to be called a runner, they need to do only that: run. If they can’t run the entire distance, they consider themselves a failure.
While increasing your endurance and mileage is certainly a worthy goal, it doesn’t have to be a make-it-or-break-it situation.
Many distance runners regularly take walk breaks to take in fuel, hydrate and just give their bodies a break along the way. Becoming a running means that you have the flexibility to decide what is best for your body.
This running lie is something that turns people away from the sport before they even know what they are missing.
Remember that everyone has to start somewhere – and that mixing in some walk breaks for your first mile-long run is just as good as running the entire way.
It’s a lonely sport.
The first thing that comes to mind when we hear someone is a runner is usually an image of them outside, all alone, running for miles.
And while this certainly is the case for many of us, it is definitely not the only way to run. Between running partners, running groups and race-day camaraderie, running can become a very social sport.
The possibilities for meeting new people and creating ever-lasting friendships through running are endless.
One of the biggest running lies or assumption about the sport is that the only way to become a runner is to do so on your own.
If you know someone who has turned away from the sport because they wanted something more social, introduce them to your running partners, head out for a run with them, or take them along with you to your next race.
Witnessing the support, friendship and overall camaraderie between runners is something that is unlikely to be forgotten. This sport has a beautiful way of bringing people together.
Not everybody is built for running.
It seems like running might require a slim, fit figure, right?
Just like how you don’t need to run a certain speed and don’t need to run the entire way, running can adapt to any body type.
Some people might have an easier time running faster speeds than others, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for the rest of us.
Run for long enough and you might find that your body adapts to the sport and naturally shapes itself for success.
Watch the finish line of any race and you’ll see runners of just about every shape and size cross that finish line. Assuming you are without physical limitations, anybody can run – no matter your build.
Another popular running lie that people (who are not runners) love to tell is that it is monotonous.
This is a common misconception that keeps many people from even attempting the sport. After a short jog around the block, they decide that running is rather boring and something they do not wish to continue.
Which is unfortunate for them, because they haven’t even continued for long enough to fully understand what they are missing.
Related: 14 Reasons to Fall in Love with Running
Running is anything but monotonous. While the actual act of placing one foot in front of the other for many miles might be repetitive in itself, the experience is much more.
Between getting to enjoy all four seasons, explore new cities on foot, meet up with friends and strangers, and pass through cheering crowds on race day, running is anything but monotonous.
Regardless of whether you run to win, run to stay in shape, or are just toying with the idea of getting started – running has the ability to greatly change your life.
Ignore these running lies when you hear them, brush them off with a chuckle, and head out there for a run instead – because we runners know the truth.
Thursday 12th of March 2020
I love this post. I'm a former collegiete runner turned mom of 4/physician. I still live to run but have gotten out of the habit due to early morning workouts and not wanting to run alone at 5 am outside. I still workout but in a different way. I am debating a fall marathon and keep reminding myself it's not about how fast i go but the joy I get from it.
Runnin' for Sweets
Friday 13th of March 2020
Thanks for reading! So glad you enjoyed the post :) I just recently had my first child and can see firsthand how difficult it is to keep up with running when raising a family! However making time for running each day always turns out to be worth it. Fall marathons are my favorite! Good luck with your training if you decide to run one - I’ve never been a fast runner but absolutely LOVE the race day atmosphere!