Where Most Running Advice Gets it Wrong


As an exercise (and unapologetically self-promotional) blog, we periodically provide running advice, health advice, and other tips of the day. We find that people generally enjoy reading the nth way to become faster, improve stamina, shed a few pounds, or tone muscle. And we honestly believe that we provide genuine value to our dear readers.

However, in light of the thousands and thousands of books, blogs, and baloney that litter the landscape of aerobic advice,  we feel a profound sense of duty to call out much of it for what it is: ongoing drivel that complicates and confounds. Because while one piece of advice might be great and two pieces of advice might be better, there comes a point of max saturation – you end up spending more time reading about how to be healthy then actually being healthy.

Low-carb, gluten-free, caveman, juice cleanses, low-calorie, organic, vegan, vegetarian, high-protein, and on and on and on. These types of diets have merit to be sure but there is a limit. There is a saturation point for diets just as there is for advice books in general, the amount you run, and how much you eat. At some point, it all just becomes counterproductive. To adopt an oft-used cliche, one jelly donut is great and the second one may be too. But the third? The fourth? Yeah, the jelly’s nice and the sugar satisfying but don’t tell me the tenth one is as good as the first. Saturation.

One advice blog tells you to tuck your arms in, another one says to lengthen your stride. You work on your breathing, you work on your form. Then you read a book that says you should run in old socks. You say, “Great, that’ll save me some money.” Then you realize you have to buy these old socks for $100+ a pair. After you roll your ankle in your fancy socks, you read advice about how to overcome a rolled ankle so you put it in a brace and gingerly make an effort to ramp up again.

Now, all this advice isn’t bad necessarily; but what many of these authors fail to grasp is the intensely human experience of your exercise – whether it’s tennis, soccer, walking, running, basketball, or really just about anything.

Rarely in the hundreds of pages you read will you see someone say that your endeavor is unique. It’s personal to you. It’s your body, your team, your mind. Your sore feet, energetic lungs, and powerful heart.

So next time you are tempted to seek contradictory advice, I would humbly propose the following: you know your body better than anyone so just do what feels right.

If you want to take the day off running, feel free to do so. If you want to eat gluten-free because it makes you feel better, than do it, but not because some book told you. If your schedule says you need to do an upper body workout today but you’d rather play tennis with your friends, then don’t let a blog prevent you from serving it up.

You know you’ll be happier that way, anyway.

(photo: http://cdn.home-designing.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/4.jpg)

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