HELENA -- With gyms closed across Montana, many might be looking for an outlet to exercise, relieve stress or both. With spring weather on the horizon, running could be an option for some, and for those who aren't keen to lacing up some running shoes and heading out the door for a brisk jaunt, MTN Sports consulted Jesse Zentz, Helena High girls cross country coach and an avid runner with the Helena Vigilantes, for some tips and tricks to get started.
Zentz recommends a less-is-more approach when just getting started. When getting ready to head out the door, stretch properly and set a reasonable pace to hit in a 15- to 25-minute interval.
"From a training perspective when you're starting out, you kind of have to live by the model that, 'When in doubt, you do less,' So start appropriate for your ability level and your fitness level," Zentz said in a phone interview with MTN Sports. "Only doing it three to four times a week, so you have a day of rest between each bout of work."
Another thing runners, new and experienced alike, need to be concerned about is being safe while sharing the roads with vehicles.
"There are some basic rules of the road. ... Wearing reflective clothing if you're out at night, running against traffic if you're on a street versus sidewalks, so you can see cars coming toward you and they can make eye contact with you," said Zentz.
Zentz also noted, for those who don't have access to reflective gear, wearing bright clothing and a headlamp or flashlight are also viable options for running safely after the sun goes down.
Though all of the things noted above are imperative points for staying safe when running outside, Zentz noted that proper equipment is important to keeping the body in tip-top shape for the next jog around the block.
"Make sure you have an appropriate pair of shoes. The last thing you want to do is get hurt because you're trying to run in a pair of sneakers that aren't meant for running," Zentz said.