Running Contradictions

Isn’t it crazy how often we hear or read contradictory advice? This is true in both nutrition and running, but lately as I recover from an inflamed tendon I’m getting a lot of it and I thought I’d share a few:

Buy orthotics vs. run in zero drop shoes: Because we’ve determined it’s my tight calves stressing my tendon, my PT wants me to get fitted for orthotics to run in going forward.  Meanwhile, other online advice recommends the opposite- a zero drop shoe to encourage the full extension of each step. How do I decide which to try?

Run through the injury vs. stop running: Several articles claim that it’s fine to run through this injury (which I did for over a year) while others say you must stop. Ultimately, I decided for me I’d rather stop and let it fully heal then play the on-again, off-again came with my shin.

Run less vs run more to improve: I’ve experimented with both of these approaches. While I feel like I improve with more miles (and higher mileage is especially key for marathoners), if it’s going to lead to injury than I’m better off at a lower mileage with cross training.  I’m still debating how to train for the Richmond marathon.

Running improves the joints and is good for the body vs. running leads to degenerative wear and tear: Obviously, rehabbing from a running injury leads to much of the latter… my physical therapist and a trainer at the gym are firm believers that running will tear down your body and you only have so much time before you feel the effects of it (unless you are bio-mechanically perfect).  Meanwhile, Runner’s World put out an article on the benefits of running for life.

I confess, every time I battle a running injury I wonder (again) if running distance is the best choice for me.  It’s certainly not for everyone, and I am feeling much more fit and balanced lately with the greater variety of training.

I know there are so many more…

What running contradictions have you heard?

How do you advocate for yourself and determine what the best fit is for you?

I am linking up with SuzRachelLora, and Debbie for Running Coaches CornerPattyErika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, NicoleAnnmarieMichelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday.


24 thoughts on “Running Contradictions

  1. Isn’t all the contradicting advice frustrating! I have actually started wearing my orthotics in my altras, because they are so roomy and thats the way I will still have the lowest drop while wearing them. I also question the “run through and injury” advice vs “stop running”. I feel like even if you stop running, something will have to change to prevent the issue from happening again (whether its strange training or different shoes or whatever else) unless its a random 1 time thing. Its all so confusing!
    Lisa @ Mile by Mile recently posted..All About Rolfing: What It Is And What I’ve Learned So FarMy Profile

  2. Ah you have to love running and all the contradictions, especially where injuries are concerned. I think it ultimately comes down to the individual runner knowing their body best. For me, marathon training was definitely tearing my body down and triathlon seems to build it up. That doesn’t mean I’m done running marathons but, at least I know what I’m in for if I do!
    Good luck figuring all of this out. I have no doubt you will and do very well at Richmond too 🙂
    Allie recently posted..The Rundown – I’m Not Trying to Kill YouMy Profile

    • I’m starting to come to the conclusion that the marathon is not my body’s friend. I want to do Richmond, but I see myself transitioning to more variety. I have been loving the pool!
      Laura recently posted..Running ContradictionsMy Profile

  3. I’ve never known anyone (myself included) who has chronically tight calves that does well in a zero drop shoe. Like Allie, I think it’s about a runner knowing what works best for their own body, and trying to ignore much of the advice out there.

    • Low mileage has always served me well, too. It’s been fun to increase mileage and see my times improve a bit, but in the long run I don’t think it’s for me… I’d rather be injury free and a more balanced athlete than shave off a minute or two!
      Laura recently posted..Running ContradictionsMy Profile

  4. Oh the contradictions. Welcome to my life. As I search for a reason why I had a stress fracture, I’ve gotten nowhere except more contradictions. The one thing that every “specialist” agrees on? I need to do something different. It could be finding new shoes or more time on the trails. I’ve got chronically tight calves too despite daily foam rolling/stick and monthly deep tissue massages. It’s the way my body rolls. Which totally sucks! 🙂
    angela @ happy fit mama recently posted..Last Week’s WorkoutsMy Profile

  5. I have tight calves, and thankfully my chiro has given me strengthening exercises instead of saying zero drop shoes. I did try those, and my PT in Texas since my arches weren’t being supported. So, tight calves, weak ankles that I sprained multiple times in high school, and high arches. This is fun.

    • Yes, it’s tough- the zero drop encourage a more natural foot strike, but if you need the arch support it’s not happening there. Glad you found the strength exercises are helping!
      Laura recently posted..Running ContradictionsMy Profile

  6. There are so many contradictions out there – like Allie said, I think a lot of it comes down to individual response. Some people do fantastically well on high mileage, but others just can’t handle it. I feel like I fall in the middle on lots of things! Mid-drop (4mm) shoes work best for my tight calves and moderate mileage is my best bet in marathon training.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted..Mile Markers: Daily MilesMy Profile

    • We don’t know where those lines are until we cross them! I think I’m similar to you… can’t go too high, and I’m not sure that zero drop is ideal but 4mm is probably a good way to go for me too… thanks for sharing, Laura!
      Laura recently posted..Running ContradictionsMy Profile

  7. I hope your injury heals quickly! I love my Altras. I switched over two years ago and haven’t looked back. I also wear orthotics in them. I had custom orthotics for five years and just recently bought a pair of insoles at my running store (CurrexSole RunPro) and I love them so much more than the ones from my PT. The RunPros are softer yet still pretty durable. I like feeling the trails beneath my feet! Maybe a combination of the two would work for you!

    • This is so helpful- thank you! I’ve been doing all my workouts in Altras since the injury and feel good in them, but for running I keep hearing that I’ll need a bit more support. The combo of both might be the trick!
      Laura recently posted..Running ContradictionsMy Profile

      • You’re welcome. It’s definitely worth a try! I love the space in the toe box so much in my Altras 🙂 I prefer the Intuition and Paradigm for road runs and Lone Peaks for trails. I do all my non-running workouts in the Altras too….I like the Intuition for those.
        Jen Gregoris recently posted..Food for Thought. . .My Profile

  8. This is what drives me crazy about running sometimes, lol. Most of the time I think it’s just that what works for one runner may not work for another. I’ve tried both the run less and run more approach for training but didn’t really see much of a difference. But overall I know I need to make strength training a priority so that usually means less miles.
    Kimberly G recently posted..My Favorite Marathon Training ProductsMy Profile

  9. It really is such a polarizing discussion on whether running is good or bad for you – some people I know say the joints, especially the knees, will suffer so it’s better to do low impact activity like biking, and then there are others who agree that running helps develop the skeleton so you’re stronger. I am still running and even trying to run more, so I tend to agree with the latter but every now and then when my feet hurt, I wonder if I should stop and get on my bicycle instead.
    Runwright recently posted..Summer Running EssentialsMy Profile

  10. I’m a low-moderate mileage gal…I have a hard time believing there’s any benefit (other than bragging rights) to doing excess amounts of mileage when you don’t necessarily need them. I know a lot of people who run “just a couple extra miles” because they feel so good….that’s fine once in awhile, but doing that for every run is crazy.
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted..Grandma’s Marathon 2017My Profile

  11. As I like to say, every BODY is different. Some can handle zero drop; for others it does lead to injury. Some can handle high mileage; some get injured on relatively low mileage.

    It’s frustrating, to be sure.

    My biggest one is not so much a contradiction, but a contradiction for me — I know all sorts of runners who run so they can indulge in food, drink (or both). I wish running allowed me to eat whatever I wanted to — that will never happen to me, and sometimes it’s super frustrating. Especially when your friends have no understanding of why you have to be so careful with what you eat (because you don’t want to weigh 300 lbs).

    I have friends who can go out and run a half with little training, but it’s a recipe for disaster for me if I’m not trained!

    I am sure that you will find the answers for your body — but I know it can be super frustrating while you’re seeking them!
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted..Utah Valley Half Marathon Race Recap 6/10/17My Profile

  12. These are great! I think that everyone can run, but running isn’t for everyone. There’s a contradiction right there! 🙂

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