Learn to Run a 5K Clinic – Getting Started

The first ‘Learn to Run a 5K’ clinic of 2016 covered everything related to getting started.

On a beautiful summer day in St. Paul, 13 people joined members of the Minnesota State Capitol Run@Work Day 5K Run/Walk committee and other panelists at the Dept. of Labor and Industry for an energizing lunch n’ learn-style session.

The three presenters each shared how they got started in running…

Ralph – A member of the Run@Work Day committee and veteran runner and skier, Ralph shared this quote from a high school runner in response to the popular question of “Why do you run?”

“I run because I can. Because when I do, there’s always the chance to be extraordinary. A chance to start unknown and to finish unforgettable. A chance to overcome all obstacles, to fight through pain and suffering to test your emotional limits and boundaries, to experiment with the potential of the human body and discover just how far you can push yourself. And a chance to feel like a completely different person, a person who inspires others, and who they strive to be.” –Laura Weisberger

Check out more about Ralph and his tips for new runners in the 2015 recap of the Getting Started clinic!

Surprise yourself–start running and you will discover new things about you.

Marise – The youngest, and shyest, of six children, was never thought to become an athlete. However, Marise found that 5Ks are for people of all shapes and body types. She loves running because it’s great to be out in nature and good for mental health.

While running is great, Marise noted that we shouldn’t underestimate the benefits of walking. Walking works wonders on it own, and a run/walk training (and racing!) method can also dramatically improve your fitness.

Marise shared roadblocks many runners face and a few ways to overcome them…

  • “I’m not an athlete” – Rewrite that negative story into a positive one, such as “I am lapping everyone on the couch!” or “Each step forward is a step closer to my goal!”
  • Safety – Run in groups and in a well-populated area, check out a (free) run group at your local running store, or run over lunch (just bring along a fresh pair of clothes and some sport wipes to freshen up)
  • No time – Running and other physical activities are a fun and often free thing to do after work; be a role model for your kids or spouse and encourage them to ride their bike with you while you run (or bike too)
  • I can’t even run a block – Start where you are at right now, meaning don’t run too hard or too far until you build up your endurance, little by little; make sure you are breathing easy, or at least not so fast that you couldn’t hold a simple conversation
  • It’s boring! – Vary the terrain, try out some hills, trails, or the track. Create a peppy playlist or listen to a podcast while you’re out on the run. Run groups aren’t just an option for safety, they are super fun too!

You never know what you’ll be good at until you try it!

Becky – Motivated by time (hurdles are usually first in track meets) and enjoying the company of her friends, Becky ran track in junior high school and high school. Due to her height though, she ended up hating track and hurdles.

Now, Becky can’t envision life now without running! Her tips for getting started (again)…

  • Don’t push too hard
  • Running is an inclusive community, so get out there and make some new running friends!
  • Don’t care about your pace when starting out–just have fun!
  • Build up your distance gradually. Start with a mile, then work up to two and it’s OK to hang out there for a while before increasing even more.
  • Enjoy the runner’s high (adrenaline rush)
  • Run for time duration, not distance

Don’t worry, runners are people of all types, shapes and speeds. You ARE a runner.

If you’re still unsure about getting out the door for your first run ever, or in a while, browse these resources for some informative motivation. Or, just get out there and run (or walk)!

Additional Resources:

Next 2016 Learn to Run a 5K Clinic Running Gear is Thursday, July 21, 12-1 p.m. at Department of Transportation (MnDOT) in St. Paul.

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