Myths & Fallacies of Running
By Laurence Schubert APAM
Speed cannot be improved; you are born fast or slow
Wrong. There is a maximum potential that you can achieve, in endurance or sprint events. However, 99% of us have not yet reached that potential. There are many different avenues to improve your running performance. Your genetic capabilities may determine if you are suited to short or longer distances. E.g. Fast vs slow twitch fibres. In saying that, your body is very good at adapting to your training. This means that you CAN train to get quicker, over a short or endurance running.
You should never change how someone runs, their current technique is their best technique
Incorrect. There is an optimal way to run, and small modifications of technique are often necessary. This should not be interpreted as everyone should run the same way. Changes to technique are not necessary for everyone. However, if you are having running injuries, especially if they are recurring, running bio-mechanics is likely to be a factor.
You may be saying “what about … who is an elite athlete and runs like …”. In those circumstances it is important to remember that they also may be having injury setbacks that you are unaware of. Many elite athletes have undergone technique changes throughout their career. Just remember that changes to technique are individualised and depend on the bio-mechanics of the patient/athlete.
Lifting heavier in the gym will make you faster
Not always true. Take note: strength is very important for running performance and should NEVER be neglected. However, if an athlete/patient is strong enough already, focusing on improving 1 rep max may not transfer to running. A more relevant measure would be power in the gym, e.g. how quickly can you move a heavy weight.
During acceleration, you must create your own force to increase your speed. During top speed running, you are using forces that you’ve already created. This is why strength training is more relevant for acceleration and change of direction, and lesser so for constant running.
The training volume of 1 hour of sprint work is the same as one hour of endurance work
Different intensities. Measuring speed work vs endurance is vastly different. You should not take duration as the main comparison. It is important to consider all aspects of the training, e.g. intensity, frequency, duration and type. Having a good understanding of how to structure a running session is critical.
Final word - How can I improve my speed?
1) Be specific with training type
2) Enhance your running bio-mechanics
3) Address deficiencies or imbalances
4) Develop an appropriate tendon stretch reflex