One way to get off the couch this summer

This weekend I came down with a stomach bug, I was feeling miserable and had a “woe is me” attitude. Looking through my Facebook feed on Saturday I saw multiple friends had run their first triathlon, one her first marathon, and many half marathons. Even though I was too sick to get off the couch, I was happy for my friends and their big successes. Sometimes, I wonder where their determination comes from.  I know I’m not cut out for those long distances (they sound like injuries to me!), however, I should be taking better advantage of these beautiful running conditions we have been having. Whether planning long distances or on a shorter 5k, it is important to know what you’re getting into. Here are some ideas for starting a running or walking program if you are interested in participating in some fun runs this summer.

This running program is a couch to 5k design meant for those of us who haven’t been getting any miles in. It has a great gradual build up and some great ideas to keep the runner enjoying it. They have a few points I really like: First, a lot of people get turned off to running because they start out too fast or too far. Easing the body up to longer distances will make you feel stronger during your workouts and to avoid injury for us beginners. Second, I liked that the program is set up with 3 runs per week and all are only 20-30 minutes. This is manageable amount of time to dedicate, but enough to create some results. Third, it is great that this article gives time or distance as a goal. Some of us won’t be sure of the distance our run is, so time is a good alternative. One thing I really didn’t like is that it is a 9 week program. That may be too long for some people, however, the gradual increase in distance/ time is great, I feel that it could be a little more accelerated.

Now, what are we striving for? Road races can be a really fun summer activity, and many are for a good cause. There are some more competitive races, but most are not very competitive, some untimed, some with a prize each mile. There are beer runs, cupcake runs, chocolate races, color runs, and glow runs for a non-competitive start up runner. If you start the couch to 5k program this week you will be ready in time for end of August and early September runs. It always helps motivate me when I am registered for an event. Sometimes I need that extra push when I am getting started, a deadline. This is a helpful site to find some fun runs near you. Some of the neat ones include: a bacon and beer run in Racine, the race ends with an after party with bacon-y snacks. The Milwaukee Color Run, runners are sprayed with colorful chalk as they race, wear glasses and put the hose out before you leave, but it is a great time. The Glo Run, runners receive glow sticks along the path often lit up with holiday lights or luminaries.

I hope to see you out on the trails this summer! The couch to 5k program is designed so that almost anyone can do it. If you are having any doubts about starting the program, talk to your doctor so that they can clear up any concerns you may have. Running and walking is not for everyone, but it is great exercise. If you are looking for an exercise outlet and haven’t given them a try; it’s a great time of year for it!

Shannon Gambon

Employee Wellness Intern

Marquette University

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