Think you’re ready to run? Make sure your body’s ready, too

It’s officially spring, which means there’s more sunshine and warmer days on the way — the perfect setting for a healthy run.

But if you took the winter off or haven’t been running regularly, it’s important that you don’t just jump right back in.

“The sun’s out and the weather’s nicer so people naturally are feeling good and they want to go hard,” said Taylor Bruner, supervisor of health promotion and wellness at Moda Health. “But that can be setting yourself up for injury.”

Instead, it’s best to ease back into a running routine if you’ve been off for a while. Start with a few longer walks to condition your body, then slowly work your way back up to running.

“It’s OK to walk, it’s OK to jog, it’s OK to walk and jog,” Bruner said. “Really, any combination of those is great.”

And while it may be more enjoyable for some people to run with a friend, Bruner said it’s wise to stick to a pace that best suits you. Overdoing it to keep up with a friend who might be a faster runner could lead to an injury.

“You might be inclined to try and run more quickly when you’re with other people, but that’s not the best idea,”  she said. “It’s really important to listen to your body and stay with your own internal pace.”

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Bruner said runners also need to be sure they are maintaining safe distances between each other. Six feet or more is the recommended distance.

“In the end, it’s all just about getting outside and getting some physical activity,” she said. “Start slowly, build yourself up, listen to your body and stay safe. Oh, and have fun, too.”

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