After nearly five winter months of snacking, lounging and drinking hot cocoa, couch potatoes might be reluctant to get out and enjoy the spring blossoms of April.
The signs of spring mark the start to many outdoor activities and races. Organizations, clubs and companies often promote their causes with 5K and 10K races.
Going from sedentary to speedy, however, can be difficult without an adequate training program.
Jan Rastall, adult learning coordinator at the Resources for Adult Learners Office, participated in the National Girls and Women Sports Day panel discussion in February. She advises all participants to give themselves plenty of time and have a training plan in order to prepare for the specific event, regardless of the distance.
“There is so much excitement on the day of the race, you could injure yourself easily,” Rastall said. “Have a good training program if you are starting from ground zero and get a lot of resources.”
Nicole LaRocque, a strength and fitness coordinator at the Student Recreation Center, advises people who are beginning the training process to start slow.
“Be reasonable with your goals,” LaRocque said. “Set a goal of finishing.”
Suitable apparel also is an important part of training. Start with good shoes, fit for the individual. Seek comfort above all when purchasing clothing, LaRocque said.
Comfortable breathing should also be a consideration, according to Jeff Galloway, a participant in the 1972 Olympics and author of the top-selling running book “Galloway’s Book on Running.” Exercising sessions should be maintained at a conversational level, meaning exertion should be at a low enough level for easy talking.
Samantha Powell, a freshman political science major, runs throughout the year to keep in shape for the next upcoming race.
“I run 15 to 20 miles a week in the summer,” Powell said. “I run the actual course and keep a record of my time.”
A majority of experts recommend a running partner to continue accountability and maintain a voice of encouragement. LaRocque said “running buddies” are variable with the participant’s personality.
A restricted nutritional regime is not necessary for short distance races such as 5K and 10K. But LaRoque warns runners to avoid a large eggs and bacon breakfast. Citrus beverages and milk may also irritate the digestive system.
“Try to stay away from those Bloody Marys,” LaRoque said.
Before the race, warm up by walking or jogging and stretch lightly.
When considering races to participate in, begin with those that don’t require a major commitment. The Fort Collins area offers an array of race opportunities.
“There is something for everyone,” Rastall said. “You can find a flavor you like most.”
For those who aspire to continue racing longer distances, 5Ks provide a taste of the excitement and energy that come with 10Ks.
Although “the speeds can be intimidating,” continue toward your goal, Rastall said.
Powell isn’t concerned with the competition. She runs for “individual fulfillment.”
“I do it for fun on my own time,” she said.
Rastall recommends that participants make running a lifestyle choice.
“Train hard and have fun,” she said.
Emily Lance can be reached at email@example.com
For further tips and training schedules visit www.halhigdon.com or www.jeffgalloway.com/training/5k.html