Even if you are a beginner, you could realistically prepare for a 5k event. Running three times a week over a period of two months and incorporating cross training into your regiment can get you into the right shape to compete and also be a way of meeting people from all walks of life.
The Health Benefits
In addition to the obvious benefit of getting in shape, running can serve as preventative medicine. Recent research indicates that running raises the levels of good cholesterol, helps the lungs function at optimal levels, boosts the immune system and lowers the risks of developing blood clots, along with other benefits that help reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Running is also a great stress reliever, a great way to clear the mind. When you feel good, that feeling extends to your level of confidence and self-esteem. Plenty of research shows that including regular exercise in your routine can combat depression. While running, the brain secretes endorphins, which reduce the perception of pain and heighten positive feelings. This is what runners mean by a “runners high.” The euphoric feelings, triggered by endorphins, are often experienced during a run.
Running in Packs
In South Florida, there are many running groups for those who wish to tap into all these benefits. There are two local chapters of Frontrunners, the LGBTQ running and walking club with with a worldwide presence: the Miami Frontrunners and Frontrunners of Fort Lauderdale.
The Miami Frontrunners group meets every Wednesday for its at early evening run. There are people at all levels of fitness in the group. frontrunnersfortlauderdale.org/Miami
The Frontrunners of Fort Lauderdale schedules two runs a week: Sundays and Wednesdays. frontrunnersfortlauderdale.org
Managed by an international steering committee and regional directors, the International Frontrunners will hold its annual general meeting and run during the World OutGames Miami event, which will take place from the last week of May through the first week in June. frontrunners.org
In addition, there are a host of running events that take place throughout South Florida and each has its own theme, related charity and vibe. The Insane Inflatable 5K is scheduled for December 17 in Central Broward Regional Park in Fort Lauderdale. As its name suggests, inflatables are involved. insaneinflatable5k.com
The Miami Jingle Bell Jog will take its merry holiday vibe to Tropical Park the following day. jinglebelljog.net/miami
As part of the celebrations that take place over Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend, the 2016 Human Race will kick off on January 16 at Charnow Park in Hollywood. humanracesouthflorida.org
Farther south, the 19th Annual Key West Half Marathon & 5K Run events are scheduled for January 15 and will take off from the Key West Historic Seaport at the foot of Margaret Street in Key West. keywesthalfmarathon.com
The World OutGames Miami 2017 will host 5k and 10k races for a global audience, and registration is currently open for those who are interested in participating. outgames.org/sports/races-5k-10k
If you are on the fence about running in an event because you fear you are not in shape, remember, the body can be conditioned with regular exercise and practice. Enlisting the help of a personal trainer could help you achieve your goals and give you the tools and knowledge needed on how to train.
Running? Keep in Mind
• The importance of cross-training
• Pushing through it
• Making it fun
• Sticking to a plan
• The importance of rest
• Switching side
• Going over the hill
• Changing things up