There are two great events coming up in our area this summer that can benefit your personal health as well as that of your entire community. These are the Huron Shore Run on June 4th and the Saugeen Shores Gran Fondo on August 21st! Both of these events, which are back on this year as “live and in person”, require a certain level of fitness on your part and are fundraisers for the Saugeen Memorial Hospital Foundation. This year both events will raise funds specifically for the “Bring Tom to Town ” campaign which will bring a CT scanner to the hospital in Southampton. This equipment will literally save lives. You can learn more about this on the Hospital Foundation website.
Your personal health and fitness can be improved by setting a goal to participate in one or both of these awesome community events. The Huron Shore Run, begins in Southampton and is a 5 or 10 km walk or run along the shore of Lake Huron. Google that to get the details and I will focus here on how you can prepare to participate. If you have never done the distance be sure to start slowly and progress gradually. Start with a half a kilometer, walk it at least three times a week then add one half a kilometer weekly. You will be surprised how quickly you will feel comfortable with the distance if you follow a gradual progression. When you get to a distance you like, stick with it. Do it regularly. Improve your time. Choose alternate routes that add hills. This all makes you stronger and fitter.
If you are comfortable with the distance and want to go from walking to running, a gradual progression is also recommended. Use time. Start by running for just 30 seconds and walking for 3 minutes. Do these intervals for the duration of your distance. Three times a week is also best. Increase the run time and decrease the walk time by 30 seconds each week. Be aware of how all of this feels, keeping in mind that adding too much too soon can set you up for muscle pain or injury. Back off a bit on the run time if something hurts. Keep in mind the muscles that aren’t used to activity may be sore at first but that won’t last. Keep going. Any joint pain however should be addressed. If knee, hip or back pain develops seek advice from a personal trainer, chiropractor or physiotherapist regarding your technique or footwear. If you typically walk or run the same distance each time you are out but have set a longer distance for the event, start now by adding just a bit more distance each week. Chart your progress, enjoy the challenge, improve your personal fitness, register for the run and help save lives. Watch for next month’s column on training for a cycling event.