Hitting the mean streets

Pavement is hard; the sofa is not. That’s my training mantra. Most new runners overdo, pushing their bodies too far too quickly. It’s like climbing Everest, if you don’t stop every few thousand feet to acclimate, your body will mutiny. Joints not accustomed to the pounding and muscles new to use will nag you 24/7. They’ll say things like, “You can’t do this. You were crazy to try. You’re too far gone to start now.” These voices will be telling lies. Your body will do the work and feel better for the exertion; it just needs time to acclimate to the demand. Hum “Gonna Fly Now” and punch the air as you trot, but keep in mind that not even Rocky did it overnight…despite what the movie montage may have led you to believe.

If you have no experience choosing a training routine, your first dash should be to cyberspace. Once there, peruse running regimens developed by experts at sites like http://www.coolrunning.com. Cool Running has my favorite “The Couch-to-5K Running Plan” as well as others like “The Marathon” and “Speedwork for Competitive Runners.” If you want to run it, they have a program for it. Sticking to proven plans is great for beginners like me, but as you become comfortable with training options you may want to mix and match to suit your running skills and goals.

Another great resource is http://www.mapmyrun.com. Pick your path on virtual maps and the site will calculate the distance of treks from Warren to Kathmandu. Before signing off, why not indulge yourself by searching the web for an exotic locale that hosts a race that could become one of your long-term training goals? Thinking of an Iron(wo)man in Aruba will likely take some of the darkness and chill out of a February run.

Speaking of darkness, it is running hazard. Tranquil, exciting and even romantic as twilight may be, trip obstacles lurk in the shadows and lack of light can render you invisible. Run during daylight hours if possible. But if the night-side is more your style, add a blinker and a headlamp or flashlight to your equipment. Wear reflective apparel, shoes and a running vest whether rain, shine or “gloom of night.” Run facing oncoming traffic. Cars should make room for you, but don’t assume they can or will. Always be mentally prepared for a quick detour out of traffic in case it becomes necessary. Regardless of how fast you are, you won’t win the war of physics against mass, velocity and shiny metal fenders. Testing this principle may cause an abrupt interruption in your training that could postpone Aruba indefinitely.

No matter how hardcore you may be, sometimes ice and Arctic temperatures make running out-of-doors a risky proposition. Look for workout alternatives when the weather becomes abominable. After business hours the “Big Blue” parking garage downtown is a great respite from icy sidewalks, the Warren Mall has plenty of level real estate to survey and the YMCA treadmills are both climate controlled and low-impact. So take it slow and take it safe, but definitely take the journey.

 

“YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION?”

If you were downtown last Tuesday evening your eyes did not deceive you. That night the usually quiet sidewalks of Warren were filled with bustling individuals. Last Tuesday 102 women took to the city streets as members of Warren County’s first-ever running rEVOLUTION!

Laughter, information, encouragement and swag flowed as women in every phase of life took their first strides together toward personal locomotion goals. It was awesome and exhilarating to be involved. Hearing the stories of why this step was essential at this moment in individual women’s lives was humbling and inspiring. My hat is doffed and my heart is warmed.

It was incredible being with such a positive group. In fact, I completely forgot I was jogging…out-of-doors! I forgot that my feet were slapping pavement and that it was below freezing. The pain that had been my constant companion on previous solo running attempts was replaced by interest in others, silly jokes and supportive cheers. I finished the first rEVOUTION workout restored rather than depleted in body and mind. To put it simply, it was a very good night.

If you missed the first meeting, don’t despair. There is more where that came from. In fact, there are nine more evenings of our group running sessions for any woman interested in joining the rEVOLUTION. Just show up with your running shoes and a vision for how your life could be. We’ll get there together.

 

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