‘Top 5’ lists of running tips are very popular in the media these days. I think it’s because we’re all so busy and have such stressful lives blah blah that we can’t actually focus on reading more than a few lines of text. We just want the headlines thank you. Plus we really love a ‘life hack’ nowadays, because we don’t have time to actually do stuff properly, because we’re so busy blah blah. Why actually train, eat and rest properly when we can find a good life hack and save all that time?
I see lots of these ‘top 5’ or ‘top 7/we had more than 5 but not enough for a top 10 running tips’ lists and some are really good, whereas others are not that illuminating. Some just reek of ‘we really needed some content for today’. Here are my top 7 because I CBA with finding 10. In no particular order, as they say on X Factor:
- I looked at a ‘top running gear you will really need’ list. I like kit as much as the next runner and looked forward to this illuminating article about the stuff I’m really going to want. It’s probably going to be something really special that will make me run 5 seconds faster over 5k. Number one on the list was … ‘trainers’. I’m not even kidding you.
- In one of many ‘foods runners should avoid’ lists which I opened the first thing was ‘dairy’. Now if telling an entire running population to avoid an entire food group without any evidence except for ‘it can upset your stomach’ isn’t science then I don’t know what is. Also, potentially not great to rule out an important source of calcium, which is important for strong bones. I think I’ll take my nutrition advice from experts, not from a study with a sample size of 1.
- In ‘worst things to do before you go for a run’ lies the gem ‘forget to go to the toilet’. Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve been able to work out whether I needed to go to the toilet from quite an early age. And when I run or do a race it’s perhaps one of the first things I think of. And second, and third, and I think I’ll just go again to be sure.
- In a list about treadmill training I found ‘run backwards and sideways too’, not just forwards. The reason? Because it activates muscles you wouldn’t normally use. I think this sounds like a recipe for a ‘You’ve Been Framed’ winner.
- In a general top running tips list I found a recommendation for a brand of mascara and eye liner ‘so you can look your best for post-run selfies’. Important advice.
- Another general top running tip: don’t forget a tissue in case you get a runny nose. That one could have been from your nan.
- And to finish, more amazing advice given in a list of ‘worst things to do before a run’ – eat breakfast. Again, to write off an entire meal for all runners seems crazy to me. Sure, some people do fasted runs or don’t like eating before a run but as general blanket advice telling people to avoid fuelling before a run seems, at best, rubbish.
So good luck with negotiating the confusing world of running tips and advice. Perhaps the best advice would be ‘listen to everybody, follow no one’. Except maybe us.