5 facts about running - Women's Running

5 facts about running

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  February 8, 2016

Christina Macdonald is Editor-at-Large of Women’s Running and the author of a new book, Run Yourself Fit (Summersdale, £6.99), on sale now on Amazon and in all good book stores. The book aims to inspire new runners to adopt a positive mindset and believe they can run, giving them the confidence and the self-believe to get started. It also includes inspirational real-life case studies with ordinary runners, as well training plans and advice on building stamina and mileage, choosing a race to suit you and running your first marathon. Christina has been a keen runner for 20 years, having completed ten half marathons and two marathons, and uncovered some interesting facts about running during the course of her research…

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1. Shoe choice is complicated

Should you go for barefoot, minimalist or cushioned shoes when you first start running? I interviewed experts and the more people I spoke to the more I realised how complex shoe choice is. Tim Elsey from Runners Need told me that lighter runners can get away with less cushioning than heavier runners, but also pointed out that those running longer distances will probably benefit from a more cushioned shoe, especially if running on roads. Tim was also keen to stress that barefoot shoes are not suitable for everyone and to consider that, unlike our ancestors, who ran barefoot, we have created an artificial world of concrete and tarmac! In the end, I concluded that everyone is unique and it’s advisable to visit a specialist running retailer and seek expert advice.

Runner feet and shoes

2. Your thumbs can reveal if your shoes are worn out

Many of us already know that we need to change our running shoes every 300 to 500 miles, but what if you didn’t keep track of your mileage? I asked the experts at Saucony to explain how to tell if your shoes are worn out. “Turn your shoe over and push your thumbs into the ball of the sole and see how much flex you get back,” explained Jonathan Quint from Saucony. “The shoe is not built to flex in that direction, so if it does and doesn’t fight against you then that’s a key sign that the midsole is wearing out.”

3. Your boobs move in all sorts of strange directions when you run

I knew from personal experience and research that boobs can move around when you run without a decent sports bra. I also knew that the ligaments in the bust are elastic, so once they’ve been stretched they won’t return to their normal pre-stretched state which leads to premature sagging. But I was intrigued to discover that, according to a two-year study at Portsmouth University, your boobs move in a figure of eight direction. All the more reason to buy a good, supportive sports bra and make sure they are protected.

4. Knee pain can be caused by weak or tight muscles

Runner’s knee is a generic term for pain at the front of the knee relating to the patella (kneecap). The pain is usually from overloading the patella due to poor running biomechanics. When we bend and straighten our knee, the patella moves in a groove called the trochlea, which is known as ‘patella tracking’. If our quadriceps (front thighs) are too weak or the ITB is too tight, this can disrupt the tracking of the patella, therefore causing pain.

Runner training knee pain

5. The health benefits of running are far greater than we realise

You’ve probably read articles telling you that running will reduce your risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, but the extent of the benefits surprised me. See for yourself. Running can:

  • Reduce heart disease risk by up to 40 per cent
  • Reduce stroke risk by up to 20 per cent
  • Reduce Type 2 diabetes risk by up to 30 per cent
  • Reduce breast cancer risk in women by up to 30 per cent
  • Reduce dementia risk by up to 30 per cent

Would you like to get your hands on a copy of Chris Macdonald’s new book to find out more? We have five to give away! Fill in the form below for your chance to win!

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NMA’s 2020 Lifestyle Magazine of the Year, Women’s Running provides expert advice on gear and training, motivation from your favourite runners and the latest running news.

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