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Experts / June 2016
Blair Hammond, Senior Manager, Global Newsroom

According to This Guy, You’re All Running Wrong

One of the most viewed running videos on YouTube is how to avoid blisters—a telling stat for a community of exercise enthusiasts that values road stripes over real strategy.

For most runners, it’s distance that counts. Miles logged, 5Ks covered or worst of all treadmill sessions completed. Reebok running expert Chris Hinshaw is questioning all that.

“People are bombarded by a lot of information, and it clouds their judgment in making workout selections,” Hinshaw says. “They just crank out 30 minutes when they get in the gym. They don’t realize that the other options are substantially better.”

Chris Hinshaw Running Quote

But why run miles when all you need is speed? Why run hours when there are only 24 in a day? Why is every other form of exercise putting more value on time, but running hasn’t changed since the sport’s boom in the 1970s?

In fact Hinshaw is doing more than questioning conventional running. He says you’re running wrong.

And he should know. As a lifelong endurance athlete, Hinshaw has been running marathons and Ironman triathlons for decades.

“Runners are putting in the time,” he says, “the question is whether that’s achieving their goals.”

According to Hinshaw, the answer is no. And it’s all been a waste of time.

The well-documented plateau that runners experience is proof. After a little training and some initial results, runners often see a slowing or even a reversal of results.

Chris Hinshaw Running“The body has found a way to adapt to that stimulus, that’s why they’re not achieving what they want,” Hinshaw says.

Instead he approaches running differently.

Rather than logging miles, Hinshaw focuses on maximizing a person’s training to achieve specific goals and combatting any plateauing the body may develop during training. 

For starters, skip the online guides, which he argues, are entirely inapplicable to the average runner.

“All of the information that’s out there today is geared toward the elite athlete,” he says. “That’s where the data and the research is going. It’s catering to fractional gains.”

That means marathon, half-marathon and even 5k training guides are developed based on the mile times of some of the world’s best runners. Applying those distance and pacing recommendations to the average runner seeking to improve his overall fitness is misguided.

“Runners assume if they put in time and miles, that's going to make them better. I would ask, 'How?',” he says.

Chris Hinshaw

But the results of Hinshaw's training are more than just improved mile-times. In fact, it’s a whole new running engine to fuel other fitness activities. There’s no longer just one hypnotic speed for distance running. Rather the runner now enjoys various “gears” he can tap into for different exercises.

Playing baseball and rounding third? Training for the police academy? Completing a Spartan Race? Yep, there are different running speeds for all those activities.

“Runners say, ‘I’m just going to lace up my shoes and get out the door,’ which is great until it isn’t. It doesn’t value your time,” he explains.

With Hinshaw’s adjusted approach to running, previously untapped speeds come to life.

“Everyone should ask, is this workout in the highest and best use of my time,” he says.

Experts / June 2016
Blair Hammond, Senior Manager, Global Newsroom