Making Sure You’re Ready To Run Safely

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With the Steamtown Marathon coming up this weekend, doctors say now is a good time to talk about running. It's obviously good for your health, but they warn there is a right and wrong way to go about it.

We found Joe Fye, from Kingston, running the trail along the Susquehanna River dike. He runs three-to-five miles per day not to train for a marathon, but to keep himself in shape. He considers stretching before and after his runs a must.

"I like to start top down or bottom up, maybe start with shoulders, to my midsection, down to my feet," said Fye. "If you don't stretch you could really hurt yourself."

Stretching is one of the most important things a runner can do, according to Dr. David Ross, who works in Sports Medicine at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center. Dr. Ross says he sees a variety of injures in people who don't properly ease themselves into a running routine.

"Typically it's overuse injuries: tendonitis, maybe stress fractures in feet or lower legs," said Dr. Ross.

He adds that events like the New York Marathon or the upcoming Steamtown Marathon often inspire people to get out there and try running themselves. It's a move he applauds, as long as you have help from a doctor, trainer, or coach first.

The nutritional aspect of running, or any other exercise routine, is also important. Geisinger clinical dietician Kim Seigel says what you're eating is just as important as the shoes you wear or your training routine. She has a bit of advice for people planning to run a race.

"One thing I'd recommend is that you not try something new. Just like you train and practice your running, you should train and practice your eating routine, especially the night before," Seigel said.

She also says athletes are better off opting for natural energy sources, like fruit or yogurt, rather than commercial products.

"If you want to get out, you know, we like for people to be active. But you need to have a realistic goal. That may be starting off with a simple short run. They usually have shorter runs associated with those events, Dr. Ross said.