Spring is right around the corner and after a brief spell of nasty cold weather and a couple of snow storms the weather will be breaking. Daylight Savings time will also start the in March providing more daylight to get outside after a long day at work. It’s a good time to start to think about the summer and either just get fit for the beach or get ready to run a local 5K race. Running can be a healthy and fun way to stay fit and lose a couple of extra pounds for the summer as well. It is also one of the easiest sports to get involved in – you don’t need much special equipment or facilities – just a good pair of running shoes, shirt and shorts. Here are some tips to get started:
- Get checked out – If you have not had a physical exam in a while it would be a good idea to get checked and ask your doctor if they have any concerns such as with medications or other issues.
- Stop in a local running store and get fitted for a pair of shoes that are appropriate for your type of foot. Everyone is different – people have flat feet, high arches, pronators, “supernators”, etc. A knowledgeable shoe store like Miles Ahead in Manasquan can give you advice and make recommendations on the right shoe for you.
- Start slow. Go out for a 20 to 30 minute walk a few times a week. Then gradually add in a few minutes of slow jogging with a period of walking in between. Gradually increase the amount of time that you run. Set some goals – jog to a lamp post, run around the block, increase the goals gradually. At first you will feel some aches and pains but over time your body will adapt. When running you should be able to carry on a conversation – if you are breathing hard and can’t talk you need to slow it down. Don’t run two days in a row – let your muscles adapt and recover.
- Find a running buddy – running with someone makes the runs go faster and keeps you motivated. You can also go to a group run held by one of the local running clubs. The Jersey Shore Running Club hosts runs at various locations during the week. Just don’t get discouraged or intimidated when you first show up. As a beginner you may be in the back of the pack for at least a while – but many of the runners there also were in that position at one time.
- Make a Routine – Try to keep up a routine and not get diverted from the routine. It’s very easy to come up with excuses – it’s too hot, it’s too cold, it’s raining, I’m tired, it’s dark. Pick a time and days when you can run based on your schedule and stick to it. Keeping a log can also help. Meeting friends or a group on a regular basis also helps.
- Be patient – it will take some time to get results. Don’t expect to be able to run a marathon in a few weeks or even a few months. Set modest goals: Run a Mile, Run Three Miles, Participate in a 5K, Run a Mile in 10 minutes. It may take a few months to achieve those initial goals. Don’t try and do too much too fast. That will in many cases lead to injury and set you back and get you discouraged. Running a marathon may take a few years of training and time to allow your body to adapt.
- Have Fun – running should not be looked at as a chore or something you have to do. After a while you will become addicted. It is a positive addiction and you will look forward to your routine run whether it is running alone to clear your head or meeting your friends and chatting along the way.
Join a Beginner’s Class – A class can be helpful in getting started and to stay motivated. In Monmouth County Beginner’s classes to get ready to run a 5K are held year round.. The classes are led by RunCollege Coach Karen Charles a certified Road Runners Club of America Coach of Wall Township. Karen is a sub 3 hour marathoner and has been leading these groups for over 5 years several times a year. The cost of the classes is modest and can give you a good start and a way to meet other people who are at a similar level. According to Karen in her trademarked British accent, “I promise to keep everyone on their toes and at the same time has a lot of fun on the runs so that at the end everyone can finish a 5K.” The next class starts on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 and will meet in the Spring Lake – Wall Township area every Tuesday at 6:00 pm.
So just get out there. The hardest part is getting your foot out the door and taking that first step. Here are some upcoming events to check out