Get ready to run Bloomsday — or anywhere

February 11, 2019 Providence Health Team

It’s coming: The Lilac Bloomsday Run. It’s one of the nation’s premiere running events — 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) winding through picturesque Spokane, terrifically well-organized and blessed with thousands of supporters along the way. 

You want to run it in 2019, perhaps for the first time, or perhaps you just want to run it better than you have before. You can do it. And we’re here to help, here and in the weeks ahead. 

Providence Health & Services, Washington, is the official training sponsor of the Bloomsday Run, and we’re conducting training clinics on Saturdays in March and April at Spokane Falls Community College. They’re designed for runners of all types and abilities and they’re free, though we request that you register. Come join us!

Why run?

This is a question that will surely occur to you, somewhere along the way. Perhaps it’s windy, and rain is stinging your face as you start climbing the hill that stands between you and the finish line. Why are you doing this? It’s not enough, or maybe it’s not plausible, to say you enjoy it. Even the most accomplished runners sometimes encounter fatigue and doubt.

But the health benefits of running — even slow running — are clear. 

When you run, you’re improving your heart health, your respiratory processes, your cognitive abilities and even your lifespan. As the authors of a 2014 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology concluded, “We found consistent long-term mortality benefits of leisure-time running. This study underlined that running even at relatively low doses (5 to 10 min/day)…was sufficient for substantial mortality benefits.”

So lace ‘em up. Let’s begin.

How to prepare

How do you begin? You don’t roll out of bed on Day One and run 12K at top speed. So how do you get where want to be?

Benjamin Howie, MD, an orthopedic and sports medicine physician at Providence Orthopedics in Spokane and Spokane Valley, says an appropriate training program balances frequency, intensity and rest. He recommends running, jogging or walking three to five times a week — more often can increase your risk of injury.

To determine how hard to train, Dr. Howie recommends that you use your heart rate as a guide. Your eventual goal is to reach a point in your training in which you achieve about 85 percent — not more — of your heart rate reserve. 

Next, review Dr. Howie’s recommended training schedule. No matter where you begin — say one mile a day, three times a week — your training schedule calls for you to increase your distance and duration over the course of your training.

To review

Don’t worry, this may seem more daunting than it really is. The idea is for you to build up your stamina without overdoing it, so that you’re comfortable and capable of gliding through 12K on race day. Your body will tell you when to go harder and when to back off. Don’t ignore its signals!

At the Bloomsday site, you can find Dr. Howie’s training program, schedule and advice.

The Providence training clinics begin in March, and you’re always welcome.

And of course, you should review the Bloomsday course and registration materials.

You’ll do great! Here’s to hitting your stride.

To help guide your training and fitness routine, Providence providers are ready to talk with you about exercise, training and physical fitness resources. You can find a provider near you in our online directory.

Learn more about orthopedics and sports medicine at Providence St. Joseph Health:

Washington: Providence Orthopedics, SpokaneProvidence Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute 

Oregon: Providence Sports Medicine

Alaska: Providence Orthopedic Services

Montana: Providence Orthopedics

California: Providence Medical Institute, Sports Medicine Services; St. Joseph & St. Jude Heritage Medical Group

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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

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