You know you want to. You’ve been meaning to get back into running —or start running — for awhile. But you’re worried. Maybe even intimidated. You’re not really athletic. You don’t have a lot of time to devote to exercising. You don’t even know how to start.
You’ve got lots of excuses, but c’mon — get up off the couch and join us for the annual Firecracker 5K Run/Walk at 8:00 a.m. Thursday, July 4. It’s easy, it’s exhilarating, and it’s good for you!
Here’s what you need to do to get started:
- Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
- Sign up for the race at signmeup.com or warrenvilleparks.org.
- Get good shoes. Have a professional assist you. This is not the place to skimp. Get socks designed for running, too.
- Start slow. Ease into your 5K training plan. Start with 20– to 30-minute sessions three times a week where you walk and gradually increase the time and distance you run or jog. Build mileage gradually. You will feel some muscle aches; consult your doctor if you feel severe pain at any time. Soreness is normal; stabbing pain is not. If you’re feeling out of breath, slow down. Many new runners make the mistake of running too fast.
- Avoid running on consecutive days; instead cross-train by swimming, cycling, or taking a fitness class. Keep a training log so you can see your progress. Set small, achievable goals.
- Know it’s not always going to be fun. You probably will experience some setbacks as you train, and some times when your motivation is low and your self-doubt is high. Keep going. It will be worth it. It gets easier.
- Consider joining a running group to keep motivated; the park district’s Happy Feet Running program begins July 8 and goes for 8 weeks.
- On race day, remember there is no shame in walking. Pace yourself from the start. Keep hydrated (at the water station, grab a cup, pinch it, and drink).
- After you cross the finish line, celebrate!
- Remember — you are a runner now! “I often hear someone say I’m not a real runner. We are all runners, some just run faster than others. I never met a fake runner,” said Bart Yasso.