5 Great Running Debates

Photo © Scott Griessel | Dreamstime.com

To stretch or not to stretch? It’s one of more than a few debates runners often have.  (Photo © Scott Griessel | Dreamstime.com)

Running is often an experiment of one. What works for one runner doesn’t always produce the same results in another. Despite this fact, countless debates exist in the running community.

Go ahead, ask a runner his or her opinion on any of the following topics:

1) Heel-to-toe drop

Running shoe companies have had quite a roller coaster ride in the last decade. The barefoot and minimalist market exploded and many runners sought a shoe that positioned the heel only a couple of millimeters above the toes.

Cushioned shoes full of stabilizing foam collected dust while runners tested this new crop of shoes. Some runners found the shoes to improve speed and reduce injury while others cried out just the opposite. Verdict: Wear shoes that are comfortable for you.

2) Footstrike

Nothing gets a room of runners chatting like bringing up the topic of footstrike. Everyone has an opinion. Heel-strikers are often banished to the corner, chastised as models of inefficiency while midfoot-strikers and forefront-strikers smugly converse.

But currently there is no definitive research that makes any striker better than the other. Just a correlation that runners strike closer to their toes during fast and short distances and strike closer to their heels while running slower and longer.

3) Hydration

Water is about the only thing runners can agree upon when it comes to hydration. To begin a firestorm, begin discussing the benefits of specific protein drinks and electrolyte drinks, along with flavors and brand names.

And make sure to mention how you consume it. From your favorite handheld, trusty hydration vest, or gasp, a plain planted bottle? Runners sure do have quite a drinking problem….

4) Stretching

Finally this debate has begun to simmer down after years of runners contorting their bodies in strange positions with cold muscles. It’s been a more accepted practice recently that runners stretch with warm muscles.

Sometimes before a run and usually after a run. But ask 10 runners what their routines are and it’s guaranteed that you won’t find 10 of the same stretching routines.

5) Mileage

Elite runners easily top 100 miles in a week and it’s generally accepted that higher mileage can help talented amateurs close in on PRs and local wins. However, what’s the right mileage for an average runner?

Age, goals, running history, and potential for injury are all factors that can skew the number. It is important for both mental and physical health to keep this debate personal. Be ambitious — but realistic — with your expectations.

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