Running is a seemingly simple pursuit–one foot in front of the other, at a pace you decide. But Twitter would suggest that this simple pursuit has some intricacies and strongly held opinions about what’s wrong and what’s right.
Here we settle some of Twitter’s most controversial running debates.
What's your most controversial opinion about running?
— Justin Horneker (@hornekerjustin) November 25, 2019
The GPS watch
For some, the GPS watch is a torture tool that sends them into a spiral of data crunching and statistics. For other, it’s these statistics that got them into running in the first place.
The compromise: on your easy days, leave the watch at home and go by feel. If the only purpose of your run is to spend some time on your feet, then do exactly that. When you’re working out, bring the watch to make sure you’re on track with your prescribed paces.
This largely depends on whether it’s the child pushing, or the parent/coach. However, recent studies have found that starting runners young doesn’t necessarily make them better. As a rule of thumb, keep kids active and avoid specialization until a later stage.
The European Journal of Sports Science looked at the workout programmes of elite distance runners during their first seven years of training. Researchers found no evidence that starting a structured training programme at a younger age was beneficial. In their study, the runners who start deliberate practice later in their careers achieved the stronger results.
Becoming married to the pace
Some runners swear by hitting specific paces, while other prefer to run by feel. There’s merit to both and usually there’s a time and place for each method. If you’re doing a workout, keeping track of your pace is a good idea, but when it comes to an easy day, it’s usually fine to run by feel.
Food for thought: Trevor Hofbauer won the Canadian Marathon Championships without a watch. He attributes some of his success to running without a constant reminder of pace.
The long run is an essential part of marathon training–but the length of the longest of those runs is a highly debated topic.
Most coaches say that the ideal distance for each runner is highly personal. For some, it can be as short as 26K, and for others, reaching the high 30s is perfect. So if you’re running over 32K on the weekend and struggling to recover enough to continue your quality training the following week, you might consider experimenting with a slightly shorter long run–consistency is the name of the marathon training game.
Some runners consider the 5K as the race reserved for the beginner, but it’s arguably one of the hardest races to run well. If the 5K seems easy, you probably aren’t doing it right.
A 5K is a great race to run early in your marathon build to keep it fun and touch your speedy side.
Treadmills are a shockingly polarizing tool in the running community. Some runners don’t dare step on them, while others embrace their basement rapid-speed conveyor belt as an important training tool. In Canada, the treadmill is often a good way to safely get through some of your winter miles. While most people don’t love their time on the machine, it can make training easier during the worst weather.
Race banditing is running a race you’re not entered in and is generally frowned upon. There’s not much of a debate with this one–just don’t do it.