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How to get ready to run your first 5K

Getting ready to run your first 5K
Getting ready to run your first 5K

We are just about half way through the summer and have enjoyed some great weather conducive to running outdoors. The summer in most cases is a tough time to get out and start a running program. The heat and humidity can be very discouraging.

Getting ready to run a 5K

The fall just a few short weeks away however is about the best time to start. The air is cool and crisp which makes for comfortable work outs outdoors.

Tuesday, August 26, Beginner's Run Class Orientation, Miles Ahead Sports, Wall, New Jersey

There are plenty of local 5K races during the fall to get ready for as well. These include:

Saturday, September 20, 8:30 a.m. 5K, Keyport 5K, Keyport, New Jersey

Saturday, September 20, 5k, 9:30 a.m. John Hogan Memorial 5K, Harry Wright Park, Whiting, New Jersey

Saturday, September 20th, 10 a.m. 5K, O'Connnell's Run to Cure Cystic Fibrosis, Union City, New Jersey

Sunday, September 21, 5k, 8:30 a.m. 5K Challenge for CHHANGE, Brookdale College, Lincroft, New Jersey. On Line Registration

Sunday, September 21, 5k, Friends and Neighbors 5k, Monroe, New Jersey.

Saturday, September 27,5k, Book it 5K, Vineland, New Jersey

Saturday, September 27, 3rd annual Central Jersey NF Walk and Run, Middletown, New Jersey

Saturday, September 27, 9:30 a.m. 5k, Carnegie Center 5K and Fun Run to benefit The Parkinson Alliance, Princeton, New Jersey

Sunday, September 28, 9:30 a.m. 5k, Tutu 5K for Rescue Ridge, Wall, New Jersey

Saturday , October 4, 9:00 a.m., Shillelagh 5K, Lake Como, New Jersey, On Line Registration

Saturday, October 4, 8:30 a.m.5K, Shark Run, Bay Head, New Jersey.

Sunday, October 5, 9:30 a.m. 5K, Little Silver 5k, Little Silver, New Jersey

Sunday, October 5, 5K, 8:30 a.m. Allaire 5k, Allaire State Park, Wall, New Jersey

Running can be a healthy and fun way to stay fit and lose a couple of extra pounds for the 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.

If you are interested in participating in one of the upcoming events or just want to get fit and start a running program now is the time to think about getting started.

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 can give you advice and make recommendations on the right shoe for you. A few of the stores at the Jersey Shore area include, Miles Ahead Sports in Manasquan, Sneaker Factory in Long Branch, or Runner’s High in Freehold .

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, its 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.

Join a Beginner’s Class – A class can be helpful in getting started and to stay motivated. In Monmouth County a Beginner’s class to get ready to run a 5K is starting in soon. The class is led by Karen Charles of Wall Township who is a Road Runner’s Club of America Certified coach, 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.

So just get out there. The hardest part is getting your foot out the door and taking that first step.

Here are some more upcoming events to check out

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