By Gilbert B. Elwyn
Last month we wrote about taking your first steps as a runner. Now, after a month on the road, it’s a good time to recap and review.
How are you doing? Are you feeling more comfortable and showing progress? If so, what is your next step? People run for a myriad of reasons, as varied as humankind itself. If you have not yet done so, ask yourself what you’d like to get out of your running and what you’d like to achieve: fitness? fun? a social outlet? a hobby? competition? Any or all of these may apply to you.
Regardless of your answer, motivation is a prime consideration for any runner. You need to keep it fresh and interesting. Vary your running routes. Reward yourself for accomplishments. Set attainable goals. Decide to run in a road race.
Really. I didn’t say: decide to compete in a race. Just decide to run in one. The Race for the Grasshopper 5k in Cowpens is in January. Depending on your physical abilities and personal progress, this could be doable for you. A 5k = 3.1 miles. Again, the goal should be to run it, not to compete in it. Set a reasonable finish time goal for yourself, based on your current rate, and train for that time. As a beginner this might be very slow. Not a problem; enjoying the race experience and finishing it in good health are your goals.
The Race for the Grasshopper has the added advantage of taking place at an actual historic Revolutionary War battle site, complete with Visitors’ Center and Gift Shop, so it is a fun trip. The event could be a family or running buddy outing.
We’ll have more in the next issue about the Cowpens site, running your first race, and cold-weather running.
I am a former recreational runner (and hope to be again as time and health permit), who has completed over 100 road races, including four marathons. I ran mainly for fun, occasionally also winning an Age Group trophy. All of this to say, I am neither a coach nor a health and/or training specialist. The purpose of these articles is to pass along encouragement and information from one who knows first-hand what it is like to lace his running shoes on for the first time, take those first steps, and discover the enjoyment of running.
If you are overweight or have other health issues consult your doctor before beginning any fitness program.