Today, as a number of athletes participate in a half marathon in Żurrieq, we explore some myths around running long distances.

One of the most common ailments among runners is knee pain and injury. It is often thought that doctors would not recommend running since it seems to cause knee problems. However, studies have found that, unlike the control group who sat down for the same period, the inflammatory markers in runners actually decreased.

This is the opposite of what one would ex­pect to find. More recently, studies found that during exercise, joint cells experience mechanical forces that suppress inflammatory molecules.

However, this doesn’t mean that knee injuries are not real. One of the most important training tips that a runner can take up is to cross-fit, that is, to include different sport modalities as part of their training regime.

Knee pain is usually due to muscle imbalance. Strength training at the gym or practising other sports will help in the build-up of muscle, increase joint stability and thus reduce pain.

Another common sight is athletes stretching before a run, as a start to their warm-up routine. And whilst science has gone back and forth on the stretching topic, there is a general consensus that dynamic stretching is more suitable as part of a warm-up routine.

It helps get your blood flowing, elongate your muscles and increase the range of motion through movement. Good dynamic stretching includes high knees, butt kicks and leg swings.

Good Luck to all the runners at Żurrieq today!