So, when I started running I was reading a lot of forums and magazines and generally trying to find out as much as possible.
One “rule” that was quoted at me time and again was the 10% rule- not to increase the distance of any run by more than 10% per week (or not to increase total distance by 10% per week).
At first, that seemed sensible. Of course you don’t want to increase distance by too much as your body needs to get used to the stresses of running. I was following a beginner running plan anyway, so assumed that the plan had all of this covered.
But then I started to actually work it out. For a beginner starting out, you would probably run about a mile in your first session. So the next time you can add 10%, which would equal 1.1 miles. Then 1.21 miles. Then 1.3 miles or something. Basically, the distance goes up so slowly you would take months to get to a 5K, not the 8 weeks that most plans suggest.
Or start at 2 miles. But then you have 2.2 miles, 2.42 miles, 2.66 miles, 2.92 miles…
It just does not quite work anyway.
Even if the rule applied once you were running further, say, 6 miles, you still would not increase mileage enough to keep up with most training plans.
Apply the rule to weekly mileage and because it is a percentage it still does not go up in line with most training plans. So, if that “rule” does not really work, what others do not work?
Well, the other “rule” of running I get annoyed over is the obsession with fueling runs. Magazine articles bang on about making sure you have a snack before you run, and then eating something when you get home to help replenish your glycogen stores in your muscles. But again when you begin to think about it, it just doesn’t make sense. You have enough energy in your muscles to run for hours (I think it is around 18 miles- hence the marathon “wall” when those supplies run out), so if you are going out for a 3 mile run after work then no, you don’t need a pre-run snack. Of course, if you are hungry and would have one anyway then fine, but it is not dangerous to run without food. I prefer running on an empty stomach, but I remember when I first started running I was scared of running more than a couple of miles before breakfast- I had visions of me fainting mid-run. Ridiculous! Of course everyone is different, but I have run up to 12 miles before breakfast and been fine.
The same with the post run snack. If you are eating normal meals then you don’t need a protein shake or peanut butter on toast (Runners World etc love to mention these snacks)- just have your dinner.
And don’t get me started on the obsession with drinking so much liquid…
What “rules” annoy you? The one that made sense to me was that your long run should not equal more than 50% of your weekly miles (so if you run 10 miles as a long run, the rest of your runs need to total at least 10 miles)- this seemed sensible in limiting your long run but also making sure you were being consistent with training.