A Running Start

Here’s how to set a steady pace to become a runner.


We all know that running is great exercise and an effective way to tone muscles and lose weight—so why is it so darn difficult to get off the couch and take that first step? For many, the thought of running is simply too daunting. But the reality is far less intimidating, says running guru Jeff Galloway, the official training consultant for the Disney Endurance Series of running events.

“The biggest misconception is that you have to run continuously,” he says. “It’s quite easy if you start with walking and insert running into the walk.”

Instead of running full out from start to finish, which can lead to aches, pains, injury and discouragement, Galloway recommends walking at first. Once you can walk for 30 minutes without becoming short of breath, start adding a 10-second run to every 50 seconds of walking. Gradually increase the

ratio of running to walking each minute, backing off if pain or strain kick in.

Ready to get started? Break through that wall of excuses by establishing a realistic schedule. And joining a running group can be a great motivator, adds Galloway. “Group support pulls you out of the bed; it pulls you along and gets you to the finish line.”

So get ready to cross that finish line, whether it’s at the end of a 5k, marathon or just the street—no matter what the distance, you win.

Get ‘Technical’ Shoes

When my college-age son went to a podiatrist with complaints of foot pain, he was diagnosed with a stress fracture—the result of running in inadequate athletic shoes. The doctor scrawled something on a prescription pad and handed it to him. It wasn’t an order for a cast, splint or even pain pills. Instead, the doctor had written “Track Shack” on the paper. What my son really needed, the doctor said, was a quality running shoe with a firm upper to provide foot protection and support.

The Orlando running store is often visited by customers bearing doctors’ “prescriptions” for what Track Shack manager and trainer Bruce Egeland calls “technical” running shoes. “We get that on a fairly consistent basis,” he says, explaining that technical running shoes are made with such features as additional shock-absorbing gel and higher quality materials than the typical athletic shoes found at department stores and mass retailers. They come with a correspondingly higher price tag, too, but they’re considered essential equipment for serious runners.

To help avoid foot injuries associated with running, go to FootHealthFacts.org.

Get Equipped

In addition to wearing the proper shoes for running, choose lightweight clothing made of high-performance fabrics that wick moisture away from the body so you’ll stay cool and comfortable. But don’t wear a hat, which can prevent your body from efficiently releasing excess heat through your scalp; instead, wear a visor.

You can find running attire at fitness specialty stores and mass retailers, and there’s a variety of runner-friendly accessories on the market that can make your treks go more smoothly.

Here’s a sampling of what’s available:

If your ensemble lacks pockets, the PortaPocket straps onto any appendage or around the waist and holds keys, IDs, credit cards and other small items. $25 at portapocket.com.

Or, carry your essentials in a sporty terry wristband with a concealed compartment. It comes in a variety of colors. $12 at wallets2wear.com.

It’s also tough to tote a water bottle while running, but Swiggies provide a hands-free option. They strap to your wrists so you can easily sip while on the run. $12.95 a pair at swiggies.com.

Get Going

Ready to enter local running events? The Track Shack’s website, trackshack.com, lists running events throughout Central Florida, including Florida Hospital’s Autumn Rock ’n Run in Casselberry on Sept. 11 and Chick-fil-A’s Miracle Miles 15k and 5k in Orlando on Sept. 25.

Disney’s marathons, half-marathons and other running events are popular with serious and noncompetitive runners alike. Coming up is the Wine & Dine half-marathon and Mickey’s Halloween Family Fun 5k events in October. You can get details and register at disneyendur anceseries.com.

There are also local running groups and clubs that hold regular runs. The Orlando Runners Club hosts a run each Sunday and organizes other events; log on to orlandorunnersclub.org for more information.

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