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Copyright 2013 Dayton Newspapers, Inc.

Dayton Daily News (Ohio)

April 19, 2013 Friday


540 words

Ready, set ... a guide to local 5Ks; If it's your first, be sure you're ready.; HEALTH & FITNESS


5K season has sprung.

It's the season of the 5K in the Miami Valley, the gateway drug to more serious running.

It took only one 5K race - 3.1 miles - and J.J. Kunkle was hooked. "I was 28, working a desk job and my metabolism had taken a little jolt, so I started running," he said. "After that race, I started training for a 10-mile and then a marathon."

Kunkle is one of many avid runners who got an extra burst of enthusiasm after crossing the finish line for the first time.

"For a lot of people, finishing a race is what hooks them on running," said Dr. Michael Bogden physical therapist for Cleveland Clinic Rehabilitation and Sports Therapy. "It gives them an urge to do more."

But competing in your first race takes more than a positive attitude and a good pair of running shoes. It takes time, training and teamwork.

So how can rookie racers get ready for their first 5K? Bogden and Kunkle who, in addition to be an avid runner, is a personal trainer and fitness instructor at the Kettering Recreation Center, suggest how to get up and running.

Start preparing early

Getting race-ready will take time, especially if you're fairly sedentary. "If you aren't real active, be prepared for months of training," Bogden said. "It takes eight weeks to make any changes in your strength level if you haven't been active."

Bogden suggests that beginners start with intervals of walking and running as a way to ease into it. Start with 20 minutes, no more than three or four days a week, to prevent overuse injuries.

"The first sign of overuse is a feeling of avoidance of an activity that you enjoy," he said. "Lots of people use a running plan that they find in a magazine or a book and that's fine, but remember that they are guidelines. You need to listen to your body and you might have to modify the plan."

Kunkle similarly advises that beginners work their way up to running.

"If your fitness level is such that you can't walk three miles, then that's where you need to start," she said. Then ease into a reasonable walk-run ratio.

Get some advice

"Unfortunately, there is a perception about running that you don't have to worry about form and that's simply not true," Bogden said. "If your mechanics are bad, it can cause injuries and you're not going to have fun."

Bogden recommends working with a certified strength and conditioning coach or physical therapist to decrease your chances of injury.

Sixteen years after her first race, Kunkle is sharing her love of the sports as she teaches a 0 to 5K Running Class at the Kettering Recreation Center.

"Purposeful or competition-oriented training can be very effective," said Jim Engelhardt, City of Kettering division manager for Fitness and Sports. "Like a good training partner, the class will you hold you accountable, come rain or shine."

Don't do it alone

You might cross the finish line by yourself, but getting to the starting line might be easier and more effective with friends.

In addition to local recreation centers, groups like the Ohio River Road Runners Club and Five Rivers Running Team sponsor many events.

Some area retailers also provide guidance. Up and Running has a free Natural Running Form Class monthly and Runners Plus offers My First 5K.

Contactthiscontributing [email protected]

April 19, 2013



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