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Beginners group can help you train for Firecracker 5K

For Brentwood Home Page
Inspired by a friend, family member or co-worker who is one of the 30,000 running 13.1 or 26.2 miles in this Saturday’s Country Music Half-Marathon / Marathon?

You can start with a smaller goal of running a 5K (3.1 miles), and now’s as good a time as any to get started for such upcoming races as the Firecracker 5K at the Maryland Farms Y, running coaches say. Fleet Feet Sports in Brentwood is even offering a training group to go from the couch to a 5K in just 10 weeks.

Dan Powell, owner of Endurance Sports and Rec in Cool Springs, says it can take about four weeks or so to train for a 5K if you’re done no running at all and possibly less if you’re in good shape. But the key is to start out with smalls steps, he said.

“When you're first starting, don't run very much or for very long,” Powell said. “We see this a lot with cyclists especially who want to get into running. They're physically fit enough and strong enough, but their body is not ready to take the pounding yet so you have to work up to that.

“We tell people literally to start as little as 10 minutes at a time. You run for 10 minutes; then make yourself stop. Then the next day you might run 11 minutes, and then the next day 12 minutes, then take a day or two off. You're starting off short and slow, and building up.”

Another important factor is to follow an old running adage to run often. “There’s an old saying in running: Run more days than you don’t, so run at least four days a week.” Before you know it, you can run 30 minutes without pain or getting hurt, he said.

“You'd be surprised, if you go slow and short to start with, how quickly you'll pick up -- the number of minutes at which you can run and the speed with which you can run, if you just take it easy at the beginning,” Powell said.

“People tend to go out and run 3 miles the first day they go run, and they get shin splints, knee pain, back pain and everything else. Then they don't run for 3 or 4 days because it hurts. Then they go run another 3 miles. They just compound the problem.”

Just as importantly, before you even run that first day, also get your stride – or gait – analyzed so you’re fitted into the right type of shoe, he said. Many stores will do that for free, including Endurance, Fleet Feet, Team Nashville and Acme.

You can go from couch to 5K in 10 weeks 

The fourth quarter and the first quarter are the biggest months for selling running shoes anyway, probably due to less unbearable weather in spring and fall, Powell said. And the Country Music half-marathon / marathon event in Nashville also gets people motivated.

One big reason people get interested in running is when a company sets a fitness goal, which happens regularly at places such as Healthways and CHS, or when a group of co-workers decide to get active, Powell said.

“It's always easier to train with a group than by yourself,” he noted.

Several groups are available for training runs and for training programs in the Brentwood area.

Fleet Feet Sports in Brentwood, for instance, is re-launching a 10-week training program next week to take beginners from sitting on the couch to completing a 5K.  The “No Boundaries” program will culminate with participants running or walking the Fourth of July Firecracker 5K in Maryland Farms.

The program’s purpose is to encourage healthier lifestyles and introduce participants to the lifetime fitness activities of running and walking. No Boundaries offers guidance and advice from experienced coaches, weekly group training runs or walks, and educational clinics on such topics as proper nutrition, choosing the right gear, and avoiding injury.

No Boundaries starts at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Fleet Feet in Brentwood, and the group will meet the same time each Tuesday at different locations. The $75 registration fee, co-sponsored by New Balance, includes a moisture-wicking shirt and jacket.

Other stores and groups offer coaching services, training programs and group runs. Endurance Sports, for instance, welcomes anyway to weekly group runs that are moving to 6 p.m. Thursdays at Bunganut Pig in Franklin. Coaches are also available for one-on-one sessions, group work, personal program for you to follow on your own, etc., Powell said.

The YMCA has groups training for such events as the second annual Women’s Half-Marathon in Nashville Sept. 24. Longer events take much more preparation time than getting ready for a 5K, Powell noted.

Running clubs, stores and websites also offer events to try out once you’re ready to race. Powell said the I Run for the Party races “are a blast” because there’s a payoff with a big party at the end of each race.

Another tip if you’re running in a July race, even if it’s in the morning like the Firecracker 5K: “Hydration is something have to start day before, and stay hydrated throughout race,” Powell said. “A 5K usually is not a huge issue for most if they've been training at all. But if you're dehyrated, you can still keel over in a  5K.”

Race calendar to help set your running goals

Some upcoming road races in Williamson County:

June 18: Change for a Chance 5K Run/1K Fun Run, 7:30 a.m., Nolensville http://www.changeforachance.org/page1.aspx

July 4: Firecracker 5K, 7 a.m., Maryland Farms YMCA, Brentwood

July 16: Race Across the Spectrum 5K for Autism, 5K run / walk, Crockett Park, Brentwood http://thebrowncenter.org/upcoming_events.php

Sept. 5, Franklin Classic 10K run, 5K run, 4K walk, 1K kids run, Franklin http://www.mercytn.org/franklin-classic/

Sept. 17, Franklin 4 the Cure 5k Run/Walk, Westhaven, Franklin http://www.franklinforthecure.org

Oct. 15, Komen Greater Nashville Race for the Cure, 5K run, 5K walk, 1M walk, Brentwood  http://www.komennashville.org/komen-race-for-the-cure/race-information/

Nov. 5, Hoover Run for Hope, 5K run, kids run, Kenrose Elementary, Brentwood http://www.hooverhope.org/Hope_Events_2011

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