Get fit, help community with upcoming races

Oct. 2, 2013 at 5:02 a.m.

Fall is in the air - kind of.

Even though we are still dealing with most days hitting the 90 degree mark, it is October, and with the month comes many opportunities to hit the roads for one of many local 5K races that will be happening in and around Victoria.

These 3.1-mile run/walks seem to be gathering more popularity with each passing year.

Some offer zombies, while others allow you to be blasted with a rainbow-colored powder. Some simply offer the opportunity to come out, run or walk, and raise money for one of our local non-profits or raise awareness for a cause.

The Fifth Annual Buddy Walk and Run, which raises awareness for Down Syndrome, will be on Oct. 19.

The Reason to Run 5K, which raises awareness about human trafficking, will be on Nov. 2.

The Eighth Annual Living in the Light 5K and 10K (6.2 miles) Run/Walk benefits Hospice of South Texas, the only local not-for-profit hospice, and will take place on Nov. 9.

Training for a 5K or a 10K run/walk is a great way to gain focus for your workouts. It will not only get you into better shape, but also raise money for a local non-profit or raise awareness for a cause as a result.

Typically, these events can draw hundreds of people and the energy generated by the community coming together is immeasurable.

There are a few things to mark off your list if you are new to running and desire to pick it up as a new hobby:

- You need to make sure you get a proper running shoe that works for your feet. Visit a specialty running store that can do a gait analysis and recommend a good shoe fit for you.

Sole Solutions in Victoria offers gait analysis, running shoe fittings and orthotics if needed.

- Having a goal such as running a 5K is a great motivator, but it also helps to enlist the help of a running buddy or running group. Having that buddy will help on days you may find yourself lacking in motivation.

- Lock into a good workout time for you. If you work full-time and/or have children, time management skills are essential.

Find what time of day works best for you and "pen" it in, and don't find excuses.

If after work is a good time, pack your gym bag so that you can head straight to the gym and not sideline to the couch.

If early morning works best, get to bed on time and have your workout clothes laid out the night before, so you can head out the door as soon as that alarm sounds.

- Ease into running. Make sure to not increase distance or intensity too quickly. When you start to run, do so at a conversational pace, keeping it a bit slower so you can cover the distance desired.

You can also incorporate walking breaks, breaking the workout into a run/walk type program. These will help diminish risk for injury and help you cover that distance.

- Drink water, before and during, to keep hydration levels adequate and to keep you moving along.

After your workout, eat something healthy, preferably a mix of complex carbohydrates and protein, to replenish glycogen stores and repair muscles.

- Wear light weight clothing, preferably something with a quick-dry material, so that the clothing pulls moisture away from your body.

We are getting ready to experience great temperatures here in the Crossroads, which will make it the perfect time to start a new exercise program.

Running and walking outdoors is a great and inexpensive way to get fit, and with several great 5Ks and 10Ks on the local running calendar, it provides the perfect motivator to get fit while doing something for the community



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