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Beginners Guide to Running a Race
Here is some advice for beginners, from Webmaster Mary, who has run more races than she can count.
Why Run a Race?
Running races is a great way to stick with a running program, stay motivated, meet other runners, monitor your progress, and see how you compare to other runners your age.

Even if you are not interested in competing with others, running a race is a great way to see if you are improving, and compete against your previous race times.
Getting Started
If you can walk briskly for 30 minutes, you can run a 5K in under 3 months.

Consult your doctor before starting an exercise program. Blah blah blah blah. Use common sense when training. Don't sue us if things go wrong.

There are many training programs out there. There's a good one called a Couch to 5K. We'd provide a link, but we'll let you Google it, since it's on our competitor's website.

Time commitment:
  • 3 times a week
  • 30 minutes at a time
  • 2 to 3 months
First Week:
  • 5 minute brisk walk warm up (about 3.5 miles per hour (mph) to 4.0 mph)
  • Jog for 1 minute (about 5.0 to 6.0 mph)
  • Brisk walk for 1 minute (about 3.5 to 4.0 mph)
  • Repeat the 1 min jog/1 min walk for a total of 20 minutes
  • 5 minute brisk walk cool down
Second Week:
  • 5 minute brisk walk warm up (about 3.5 miles per hour (mph) to 4.0 mph)
  • Jog for 2 minutes (about 5.0 to 6.0 mph)
  • Brisk walk for 1 minute (about 3.5 to 4.0 mph)
  • Repeat the 2 min jog/1 min walk for a total of 20 minutes
  • 5 minute brisk walk cool down
Subsequent Weeks:
  • Gradually increase the jog intervals
  • Eventually shorten the brisk walk warm up and cool down
  • In 2 to 3 months, you'll be jogging for 30 minutes
Other Tips:
  • Your jogging intervals don't need to be all the same. You might increase the time of the jog interval in the middle: 4 min jog, 1 min walk, 8 min jog, 1 min walk, 4 min jog.
  • It is totally normal to have a week were things seem suddenly harder. If so, repeat the routine you did in the previous week, or even go back to an easier week.
  • If you want to train more than 3 times a week, do the previous week's routine on the alternate days, or just walk briskly for 30 minutes on those days.
What to Wear
Shoes: Expect to pay $50 to $100 for decent running shoes. Many running stores can help you pick a pair of shoes by looking at your feet and your gait.

Clothes: Be comfortable. Avoid cotton if you are going to sweat. Cotton absorbs and holds sweat and gets very heavy. I like it for an outer layer in winter, but in summer, I never wear cotton.

'Technical' materials, which are synthetic, wick away sweat. That means they get it off your skin, and allow it to evaporate, keeping you much more comfortable.

General rule of thumb: When running, dress like its 10 to 20 degrees warmer than the temperature says. So, if its 50 degrees out, dress for 60 to 70 degree weather.
What to Eat
Before running, I avoid any heavy food. Other people I know can eat anything before they run. Bagels, bananas are pretty safe choices. Cheeseburgers and pizza have a very high risk barf factor for me.


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