5K run/walks helping to pace Victoria

March 22, 2011 at midnight
Updated March 21, 2011 at 10:22 p.m.

Victoria has become quite the running scene lately. On any given morning or evening, in Riverside Park or throughout town, runners are out and you can see that the running bug has caught on here in our town.

The Stroll, Roll, and Run for ALS 5K kicked off our local road racing season, and additional 5K's are on the calendar in the coming weeks with the "Peeps for a Cure 5K" and the "Chick-fil-A Young Life 5K" taking place next month at Riverside Park. If you are saying that "I just can't do a 5K," I say "YOU CAN!"

I can remember the first time I went out for junior high cross-country. We had to complete a 5-mile run. The main reason that I was trying out at all was my best friend Cindy was going trying out. Let's just say I was not at all prepared. I cried on that first long run, but I finished. I can remember the feeling of achievement that I felt, and still feel every time I cross the finish line. I loved to run, and I still do. After 30 years of running, it is truly a part of my soul. If you have never run or taken part in an event such as a 5K, you have missed a rush of exhilaration that will keep you coming back for more.

If the fear factor is coming into play, and you are questioning how or why you would want to attempt such an effort, I encourage you to try. If there is something evident to me as a middle-aged, mother of two- it is the common occurrence of not wanting to step out of your comfort zone.

Many times, parents put their own goals and dreams on the back burner in exchange for helping their children and/or spouses to meet their own. Setting goals throughout life is a wonderful way of staying the course and having a more fulfilled life- one of opportunities and accomplishments.

Running is obviously a healthy hobby, with benefits that include weight loss, lowering blood pressure, raising HDL (good cholesterol), decreasing stress levels, and decreasing the risk for Type II diabetes. It also provides a great social network with opportunities for socializing and making new friends. The ever-growing popularity of road races in communities like Victoria makes perfect sense. If you are new to running, or just considering it, you can train for a 5K in as little as five weeks. Training for an event is a great way to bring focus to your workouts and take some of the attention away from the constant battle with the scale. I have often told my weight-loss clients that if they are training for an event, the focus turns to "training," and the weight loss will follow. Not to mention the feeling of achievement when you cross the line.

To get started, I would first recommend a physical with your primary care physician if you have been relatively inactive. The next step is to buy a quality pair of running shoes. To truly get an appropriate running shoe for "you," it's a good idea to visit a reputable shoe store that can do a gait analysis and recommend the proper shoe for you. Wearing comfortable clothing is also essential. Choose dry wicking materials versus the standard cotton t-shirts. These will move moisture away from the skin and reduce the risk of chafing.

Next, don't increase the duration and/or intensity of your workouts too quickly. The biggest mistake new runners make is that they take off too fast on that first run, or that they increase mileage too quickly. To find the appropriate training pace, make sure you could carry on a conversation with someone while running. Use "perceived exertion" and if you begin to get breathless or start to feel uncomfortable, slow the pace down. Increase mileage by no more than 10 percent per week, while building into your fitness routine slowly.

Start with a jog/walk combination, running two to three minutes at a time and then take a walk break of equal minutes. Gradually increase the number of minutes you are running, while decreasing the number of minutes you are walking.

Also, make sure that you are eating properly. Hydrate well each day with sufficient amounts of water and focus on eating a more "clean" diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Proper nutrition will help fuel your workouts, while helping you to feel better overall.

The "Peeps for a Cure 5K" and "Chick-fil-A Young Life 5K" are both coming up at the end of April. I have put together a 5-week training plan with regards to the novice runner. I hope you will challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and set some goals with regards to your current fitness level.

I promise that once you cross that finish line for the first time, you will definitely be back for more!

Missy Janzow owns Fit4U, a personalized training and nutrition service. You can reach her by e-mail at jan zowml@yahoo.com or online at www.fit4uvictoria.com



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