Spring into Running
The snow is gone - time to hit the road
Need a worthy goal as motivation? Consider the CHaD Hero race held in October. All money raised from the half-marathon, 5K run or walk, 10K hike, 50-mile bike ride and Cam’s Course 1-mile fun run benefits kids and families receiving care at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. See chad.donordrive.com for more information. Photo by Dan Grossman, Maple Leaf Photos
Most folks start their fitness resolutions on New Year’s Day, but the thaw of spring is a far better time to begin — and keep — a new exercise routine. The temperatures are ideal for running, and the ice-free sidewalks keep your excuses for heading outside to a minimum. Running is challenging, especially at first, but it’s a great path to overall fitness, and little is needed to get started.
Tip for beginners
The first time I tried to start running, I didn’t lack the time or energy and I had youth on my side, but I lacked the patience. I would run at the fastest pace I could manage that wasn’t a sprint, stop after a couple miles, and end up feeling winded and nauseous. Then I would be too tired and sore to run again for a week, and so the cycle would repeat. Beginners should incorporate a run/walk/run approach, and there are many couch-to-5K programs that use this method, which can be adapted to your current fitness level. If you are completely new to running, a typical plan would call for a minute of running, followed by three minutes of walking, repeated six times. As your fitness level increases, you will decrease walking time until you’re just running.
Don’t get hung up on time
Too many runners (including seasoned ones) are hung up on time. There will always be plenty of people both slower and faster than you. Your pace will gradually pick up over time, but can be faster or slower on any given day, depending on several factors.
Don’t skimp on the shoes
Go to a local running store to get fitted for your first pair of running shoes. They can help you find the best type for your foot strike and can be a good source of info for running in general. Shoes are your most important piece of running gear and are a good investment. Expect to have to replace running shoes every 300-500 miles, depending on how hard you are on them. Once they feel worn out and are no longer providing support, it’s time to replace them.
Grab a buddy
As in any new exercise endeavor, having someone count on you to be there is a great way to keep committed to your running routine. If you don’t know anyone who is willing to hit the pavement with you, consider joining a local running group. Many cities and towns offer group runs for people of all abilities, and it’s a terrific way to make new friends, learn more about your sport and help keep you motivated.
With locations in Portsmouth, Manchester and Concord, Runner’s Alley carries shoes and apparel for runners and is a great place to go for advice and information. They also organize weekly group runs, which happen all year long and are open to runners of all skill levels. If you think you need a little extra training before joining in on group runs, the eight-week Beginner 5K Group is a great introduction. Coming on May 27 is the 21st Annual Runner’s Alley/Redhook Memorial 5K Road Race.
Get your gear at Millennium Running’s new retail location in Bedford and then sign up for one of their many races. They organize a huge range of running events around the state, from 5Ks to the Manchester City Marathon. Next up is the Cinco de Miles 5K on May 6 in Bedford. If you find yourself in love with running, consider joining the Millennium Running Club — membership includes store discounts, the Thursday Night Pub Runs, training, club workouts and more.
Fleet Feet Sports
Like Runner’s Alley and Millennium, this Nashua shop also offers training, group runs, a running club and events in addition to shoes, clothing and accessories.
Ted’s Shoe & Sport
Ted’s Shoe & Sport in Keene has an expert staff that can help you find the right shoes for your feet. They also sponsor local races and events — see the website for an event calendar.
Located in Manchester, Athletic Alliance Running Club holds weekly group runs for all levels and other events throughout the year. New members are always welcome.
Coastal Athletic Association
A nonprofit running club founded in 1996 with more than 300 members. They offer weekly group runs, plus other events and services to help keep you motivated and healthy.
Greater Derry Track Club
The Greater Derry Track Club of Southern New Hampshire is a great resource for people new to running, and offers a free couch-to-5K running program that culminates in racing the Run for Freedom 5K in Derry NH on the Fourth of July.
White Mountain Milers
The White Mountain Milers is a nonprofit club founded in 1985. This friendly social group promotes fitness education, running and walking events in the greater Mount Washington Valley. Upcoming events include the Dirty Girl 10K trail race on May 19, the Race for Reading: A Color 5K and kids’ fun run on May 26 and many more.
Upper Valley Running Club
A club for all levels of runners offering group runs, track workouts and socials in the Lebanon, Hanover and White River areas of New Hampshire and Vermont.
Running in the USA
Find many more running and track clubs throughout the Granite state.
Girls on the Run
An organization that inspires girls to find their inner strength and confidence through running in a 10-week program that culminates in a 5K.
Loco Races organizes a series of fun events in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Consider the Stonyfield 5K & Fair in Kingston on May 12 or the What Moves You 5K in Exeter on June 10.