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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- I wrote a book about running 40 years ago, called “Run For Your Life.”

At the time, I thought I knew everything there was to know about the sport.  Especially, after running the Boston Marathon I felt even more empowered.  Wow, did I have a lot to learn over the next 40 years. There are many myths and misconceptions about running that many of you, whether you’re a beginner just starting your journey or an accomplished marathoner, may not know.

First of all, running does not cause a deterioration of cartilage in your knees or arthritis. 

If you’ve heard that expensive shoes will give you more support, reduce the risk of injuries and make you run faster, it’s simply not true. In fact, some expensive shoes have been linked to more injuries, due to cushioning and over pronation. 

Perhaps you want to save money on shoes and run barefooted. There have been several reports that barefoot running teaches you proper form and more efficient, lighter and easier strides. Personally, I’m not an advocate of barefoot running and most podiatrists suggest wearing running shoes. Some experts have even suggested that running in high heels is better than running barefoot. I’m personally not recommending that alternative. 

The speed that you run increases the number of calories you burn by about ten percent. However, whether you walk a mile or jog a mile, it burns about the same number of calories, 100.

Speaking of jogging that is considered to be about a seven minute per mile pace, below the running gold standard of about six minutes per mile. If you’re running 10 or 12 minutes per mile that’s called slogging. However, if you’re only covering two miles per hour that’s called loitering or logging. Again burning about 200 calories for the two miles.

If you’re trying to lose weight by running, jogging or slogging, remember 3500 calories equals one pound. So, 35 miles would only get you to lose a pound. But Rome wasn’t built in a day and you can lose weight over the course of a year.

Although, everyone has their favorite time of the day to exercise, mornings are best from a compliance standpoint. However, evening exercise doesn’t necessarily cause trouble sleeping in spite of reports to the contrary. 

You’ve probably heard that if you don’t stretch you’ll get injured, however, there are many marathon runners who believe that stretching causes more injuries and laxity of the tendons and ligaments. However, don’t confuse lack of stretching with a lack of a warm-up. Warm-ups are important not only for your muscles but for joint range of motion.

If you don’t think you have the right body type to be a runner you're wrong. Body type doesn’t matter for the garden variety runner, only for the world class runners.

If you’re running a 5K race and think you need to drink water or Gatorade or take Gu at every aid station to help you finish that is not true either. Half marathons and marathons may require electrolyte replacements and adequate hydration.

Also, don’t let cramps prevent you from finishing a race. It may be your diet that needs to be changed by incorporating more potassium and magnesium rich foods. Diet changes can also prevent these stomach cramps in the middle of the race.

As far as carbohydrate loading by eating lots of pasta before a 5K or 10K, this is not necessary. Half marathons and full marathons may require carbo-loading.

By the way, beer is actually a good electrolyte replacement fluid but only after the race and not before or during as suggested by some eccentric marathoners.

Also, as far as training, you don’t need to run 70 or 80 miles a week to be able to complete a marathon. The necessary training should be related more to the quality of your runs and not the distance.

Additionally, running does affect your menstrual cycle and sperm count but not necessarily your libido.

Therefore, if you do get pregnant in spite of abnormal menstruation you can continue running throughout your ninth month, but obviously more slowly.

Plus, don’t think you’re immune to heart disease or heart attacks because you’re a runner. There are many cases of marathon runners dying of heart attacks in a race, because they didn’t heed the warning signs including chest pain.

Finally, running does not increase your risk of a heart attack or heart disease. It actually will lower your risk of sustaining a fatal coronary event.

Congratulations you’ve just completed Running 101 the Myths and Misconceptions.


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