Are Some People Just Not Made to Run?

Women's Health—October 21, 2014

At some sweaty, exhausted, and panting point or another, pretty much every running hopeful has asked herself: 'Am I just not meant to do this?'

Um, listen up, lady: If you can walk, you can jog, and if you can jog, you can run, says physical therapist Michael Silverman, coordinator of the Tisch Performance Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery, who specializes in running analysis. So yes, you can most definitely do this.

Your biological makeup does influence how fast and far you'll go, says Silverman.

The point: Just because your body isn't designed to power through a marathon or hit a six-minute mile without breaking a sweat, it doesn’t mean you can’t run. And it doesn't mean you shouldn't. (That said, some chronic health issues—especially those that lower your bone strength and density, such as eating disorders and osteoarthritis—can keep runners on the sidelines.) As long as you enjoy running—and giving yourself permission not to run like Usain Bolt can certainly help on that front—you should run.

Hitting your stride takes time and practice—and just how much time and practice is different for everyone. So don't get caught up in comparing yourself to others, advises Silverman. If it takes you a bit longer or is a bit harder for you than it is for someone else, so what? "Run your own race," he says.

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