by Eva Solomon

I’ll never forget a comment my longtime friend and running partner, Donna, made to me during an early June morning run. “I love being a runner because I feel like I’m such a part of summer.” While most of us notice the longer days, birds chirping, and changes in flora and fauna, a runner tends to feel “at one” with the seasons. In fact, a common remark I often hear at this time of year is “I wish I could run.” 

In addition to getting outdoors, people enjoy running for different reasons. Some do it to stay in shape, others do it to relieve stress, and others integrate it into their social lives. Regardless of the reason, running is an attainable form of exercise for most people.

It’s not nearly as difficult to convince folks why to run as it is to convince them that they can run. Of course, it’s always important to get checked out by your doctor before starting any new physical fitness plan, but once you get the thumbs up and stick to a plan, you’ll be able to run or run/walk a 5K or perhaps a half-marathon.

The first thing you need to do is set a goal. You can either choose a day that you will run your goal distance or you can sign up for a race. Yes, a race. I know that sounds intense and competitive, but really, it’s not. For most, the focus of a race is completion, not competition, and the camaraderie you feel is second to none. The Probility Ann Arbor Marathon is Sunday, October 2nd, and offers a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, and marathon all within the city of Ann Arbor.

When your goal is set, plan a schedule where you can devote 30 minutes per day, three to five days per week to your training. Don’t sabotage yourself by choosing a time that is not realistic. If the button you hit in the morning is more likely to be your snooze than your running watch, plan to train later. If you know that at the end of the day you’ll be so tied up with family responsibilities that your running shoes will never get tied, then plan your training during the morning or daytime hours. “Plan” is the operative word. Put it in your calendar.

One of the great things about running is the minimal amount of gear required. You will need two things: good running shoes and a watch. I recommend shoes designed specifically for running as opposed to gym shoes. They will reduce your risk of injury and they just feel so nice! You will want the shoe to fit snugly yet comfortably in your heel and midfoot with plenty of room for your toes. Running shoes are best purchased at a specialty running store such as Ann Arbor Running Company, where they can recommend models based on your stature and foot structure as opposed to purchasing online.

Once you have your shoes, begin with a run/walk plan. Do not pay any attention to the mileage. You will use your watch to guide your workout. Over time, you will begin to cover more ground in the same amount of time. During most of the training, you will walk or “jog” at a pace that still allows you to talk. Yes, it will be challenging at first, and you will feel out of breath, but it will become easier as your training progresses. By race day, it will feel natural and you will cross that finish line and feel like a champion.

Whether your goal is to complete a 5K or a half-marathon, you can get to the finish line if you follow a plan. See the two simple plans provided with this article designed just for that purpose. You can find the digital versions as well as more information about the Probility Ann Arbor Marathon and other endurance races at www.epicraces.com. Now get out there and be a part of summer!

Bio:

Eva Solomon is the founder and CEO of Epic Races, the endurance event company that produces races in and around the Ann Arbor area such as The Probility Ann Arbor Marathon, Ann Arbor Firecracker 5K, Ann Arbor Goddess Run, and Tri Goddess Triathlon.  She is the only Level 2 USA Triathlon race director in the state of Michigan.  www.epicraces.com