When it comes to bad running advice, these take the cake—and should always be avoided.
1. Go out fast so you can bank time.1 of 17
Nope, nope, nope. After a few days of carbo-loading and tapering, your legs might feel fantastic, but resist the urge to go out too fast—we know it's easier said than done. The longer the race, the more important it is to start conservatively. It feels so much better to pass people and finish strong in your final miles than to whoosh by slower runners at the beginning only to bonk at mile eight.
2. Get new shoes for race day.2 of 17
Yikes. If you hear this advice, run in the other direction! It's a golden rule of running that race day gear should be about the tried and true, not the shiny and new. You don't want any unpleasant surprises—namely chafing, hot spots and blisters.
3. You need to lose weight to be fast.3 of 17
If you're a carrying a few extra pounds, sure, losing them might make you faster. But losing weight when you don't need to can just make you feel weak.
4. Try all the samples at the pre-race expo—they're free!4 of 17
Unless you're spectating (and not running), avoid gobbling up all the samples. Just like with your race-day outfit, stick to your usual pre-run nutrition plan. Who knows how all those samples will interact with your digestive system—you don't want to find out!
5. If you run a lot, it doesn't matter what you eat.5 of 17
Sigh, if only. Running a few miles a day unfortunately doesn't give us license to eat everything and anything. And even if you're constantly logging miles and burning calories, eating junk won't help your body perform at its peak and could even lead to injuries.
6. Train through the pain. It'll make you stronger!6 of 17
A bit of soreness is to be expected, but if you're experiencing actual pain, it's time to slow down and take a rest day. You're the most in tune with your own body; so don't let other people's bad advice put you at risk for serious pain or injury.
7. You don't really need fuel for a marathon.7 of 17
Actually... You do. Unlike shorter races, on-the-run nutrition plays a big part in how well you run 26.2 miles. Running long distances uses up glycogen (your body's preferred form of fuel), and if you don't replace it with a sports drink, gels or some sort of food, you're almost 100 percent guaranteed to slow down—or worse, not finish at all.
8. To be a great runner, you have to keep up with the latest trend.8 of 17
Maybe running without shoes, eating Paleo or taking up CrossFit will be just what you need—but be careful not to get too caught up in fads. At the end of the day, you have to do what works for you.
9. Stick to your race plan no matter what.9 of 17
It's great to have a vision of how you want your race to go, but sometimes the weather is extra hot or you wake up with the sniffles, and that sub-2 hour half marathon just isn't in the cards. The best runners know when it's time to adjust their goals.
10. It's okay to be lazy after a long run.10 of 17
You spent the last 10 miles envisioning a lazy afternoon on the couch, but if you get up and move a bit—even a short walk counts—your muscles will be less sore tomorrow. Try stretching and foam rolling after runs to maximize recovery, and don't forget to get adequate sleep.
11. Limit food and water before racing to avoid bathroom breaks.11 of 17
To perform your best, you need to be well fueled and hydrated. It's fine to limit your intake in the hour before a race or run, but go any longer than that and you might hit the dreaded wall halfway through.
12. Every run should leave you feeling exhausted.12 of 17
On the surface it makes sense—the harder you work, the faster you'll get, right? But if you never give your body a chance to recover and absorb the training, you'll be on the express train to Injuryville. Save the hard efforts for speed workouts and races. The majority of your runs should be at a moderate or easy pace.
13. Let's grab some extra spicy burritos the night before the race!13 of 17
Unless you want to end your race at the porta-potty line, skip anything spicy, fatty or unusual the day before important runs.
14. Can't finish a race? Just take a cab to the finish—no big deal.14 of 17
If you're undertrained or not feeling great, it might be tempting to cut the course, but there's actually a website dedicated to catching cheaters. It's just not worth it!
15. You don't need special running shoes.15 of 17
If you're only jogging a mile or so on occasion, you'll be able to get away with a pair of tennis shoes or cross trainers, but if you're a regular runner, a pair of specialized shoes is well worth the investment.
16. Don't run--it ruins your knees.16 of 17
If you're a runner, you've probably heard this bit of wisdom from well-meaning friends and family. Fortunately, it's more of a myth than a fact. Recent studies have shown that physical activity (running included) is actually more beneficial than detrimental when it comes to bone and joint health.