race1Me, run/walk in a race, are you kidding? You can do this, read on!

You see them everywhere, those runner/walker people. Out there in public, in broad daylight, cruising down the paths and streets, all age’s shapes and sizes. Not for me you say? Think again!

Many of them run then walk then run then walk … then walk. They enter races on the weekend just to get out and enjoy the air and to challenge themselves. We’re not talking about the Olympics; we’re talking about low-key local fun runs/walks.

Some will enter and walk the whole way, some will run the whole way, from 5 minutes per mile to 20 minutes per mile. The average age of the people who enter fun runs are in the 45 to 55 age group. Sure there are teenagers but there are also plenty that qualify for that seniors discount! You will fit in, and you won’t be last, promise!

OK, now that we got that out of the way, it’s time for you to start training! Perhaps you waddle a bit on the treadmill already, good for you! Today you start on a more organized training plan. We’ll give you a schedule to follow so you know exactly what to do every day so will be ready on race day. Race day? Yikes! We already went over this part, don’t sweat it!

The major stumbling block to becoming a runner/walker is time. Not finding time to run but the amount of time it takes to realize the results of your effort. It takes about a month for most people to become self motivated (Passionate? Obsessed?). Often people give up after a couple weeks because the results come slow, or they do too much too soon and limp away from the sport. With a specific plan and determination, you can get there. I’ll give you the tricks; you give it a month.

Running/walking is an easy entry sport. All you need is a watch and a good pair of shoes. Even if you don’t run or walk; you will have comfortable shoes and won’t be late! The watch is necessary because time, distance and speed are key to becoming a passionate runner/walker. You should get the shoes and watch at the local running shop, they will look at your feet, ask you about your goals and put you in shoes that will keep you injury free. The average price of a great pair of running/walking shoes is around $90, give or take twenty bucks. The watch needs to have a chronograph (stopwatch) all sport watches have them. These days, even a cheap watch has more features than are possible for me to figure out. You only need to know how to put the watch into the chronograph mode. From there you need to know what to push to start the time, stop the time and clear the time. Don’t leave the store until you can do this; ignore all the other functions for now.

What to wear? Yes, it may be cold out there but as a beginning runner/walker you won’t be out there long. You can get away with old sweats and a windbreaker. Just head out into the wind on the way out and even if you get wet and cold you will have a tail wind to get you home. In the winter, always run upwind or cross wind, never down wind. Once you are running/walking longer you’ll want more technical clothing … of course! Yes, you can run on a treadmill or track but make sure you get out the door a minimum of once a week.

Your homework: Run/walk for 20 minutes every other day, at least 3 days a week … until next weeks coach’s notes. I’ll be checking up on you, and give you the schedule.

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