The Personal Trainer: Start training now for August's Woodstock 5K
by Ann Angell
Special to The Star
May 09, 2010 | 1512 views |  0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
What do jumping out of an airplane, going into space and running the Woodstock 5K have in common? They are surely on your list of things you want to try before you die, right?

Well, considering the risk level of the first two things, you may want to try to run or walk the 30th annual Woodstock 5K, which will be held on Aug. 7. With the race about three months away, now is the time to lace up your shoes and get motivated to give it a try.

What is the worst thing that can happen?

Even if your plan is to walk the entire race, that is great. Walking is a perfect place to start your fitness program. Once you get to the race, it will really inspire you to look around and see all types, sizes and ages of people.

Some are just there to walk, while others are there to try to set a new course record. Some runners will be finished with the 3.1-mile race just as you are hitting the first mile marker. So what! We are each individuals with our own personal goals.

Many people trying to set personal exercise goals will set a 5K as their goal. This is a great goal because it is very attainable. Sometimes, we set goals that are so unattainable that we get frustrated and quit. With exercise goals, we need to set and reach goals within reason.

Anniston is very lucky to have such a quality event that attracts people from all over the place. The Road Runners Club of America named Woodstock the 2010 Southern Region 5K Championship.

I promise you if you attend — and especially if you participate — you will be very motivated and inspired. It is contagious to be around 1,000 healthy-minded people.

So, have I got you thinking? Are you ready? Three months is the perfect amount of time to prepare.

If you are completely starting from scratch, try going out three days the first week — not consecutive days — and spend 20 minutes just walking. If that seems too easy, then make it 30-40 minutes instead.

Each person is going to have a different plan.

Once that is mastered and you feel comfortable, start to add some jogging intervals. Set a time limit. Say you are going to run for 30 seconds to 1 minute, and walk for 4-5 minutes. Do that for about 30 minutes at a time, for one or two weeks.

Then on the next full week, make your running interval 1 1 /2 minutes and your walking interval 3 1 /2 minutes. Gradually add more running and less walking as the weeks go by.

Remember, someone else may advance faster or slower than you. You have 12-13 weeks to gradually get more running time, and to get your heart and lungs in shape for running more than walking.

When race day comes, maybe you will be able to run the whole race, or maybe you are only comfortable with walking. Either is great, because the whole idea is to get your body moving, not to win or to compete with anyone else. You are competing with yourself.

Whichever method you choose, we want to see your face at the 30th annual Woodstock 5K as a runner, walker, volunteer or on the course encouraging the runners as they pass.

Ann Angell is a certified personal trainer and the program coordinator at the YMCA of Calhoun County.
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