Running is one of the best overall body workouts. It tones the legs, strengthens the heart, and improves lung capacity. Regardless if you are running for fun or to compete, you will benefit from this intense exercise. However, if you are new to running, you might come across certain myths that have been in circulation for years. To develop a solid approach to fitness, we are debunking some of the most persistent myths about running:

Myth: Stretching Before Running

Most runners tend to perform a series of stretch exercises before running. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with warming up the muscles, these moves provide zero benefits to your performance. According to researchers, increasing the motion of a stretch does not do anything to the muscles. And if anything, making dramatic stretches could lead to pulled muscles and other injuries. Instead of performing stretching before running, do it after a run. Stretching post-running helps soothe tired muscles.

Myth: Running in Cold Weather will Make You Sick

No, there is zero evidence that running in cold weather will make you sick. As long as you are dressed appropriately, you can run in cold weather without getting sick. That said; keep your head and hands protected when you do run in the cold. Exposing the head and hands in cold weather increases your risk of developing viral disease.

Myth: You Don’t Need Strength Training when Running

Contrary to popular notion, strength training is critical to your running potential. Toning the legs, arms, and abdominal area helps boost balance, agility, and flexibility. Running can be extra punishing to the joints and muscles so they have to be conditioned before a run. Strength training can do that. If you do not add strength training to your workout program, you could be limiting your running potential. Ideally, you want to spend at least 15 to 20 minutes of your workout performing strength-training moves. This goes especially if you are competing for a long-distance marathon.

Myth: Running Barefoot Improves Performance

Despite what practitioners tell you, running barefoot is not ideal especially if you are covering long distances in a rocky terrain. Running without wearing the right shoes will cause a variety of injuries to the feet, including infection. When you run, the pads of your feet absorb the impact. Your feet should be protected so they do not absorb the impact as you run. Running shoes help absorb the impact of running while providing support for optimum performance.

Without the right protection, running barefoot could cause severe abrasion, skin infection, bacterial infection, and deep wounds.

Myth: Keep Running Long Distances Until You Get Better

The number of miles you cover does not correlate to a successful fitness regimen. Just like any type of sports, the quality of your workout – not the quantity – will help improve your performance. Even if you covered miles and miles of ground, you will not become better at running if you don’t apply all the right techniques to boost your performance. Instead of focusing on mileage, try switching your workouts for a more successful training.