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I am not a runner…yet.  Back in the day, I hated running laps in P.E. class and I haven’t grown much more fond of it all these years later.  I have several friends who are runners.  A couple of them wake up early in the morning when the sky is still dark to go for a run.  I remember being on vacation with said friends and receiving a kind invitation to join them.  I kindly declined and told them if they happened to run by a Starbucks, they knew what to do.  🙂  Interestingly, I soon may be singing a different tune.

Here’s the scoop…another runner friend introduced me to a program called C25K or Couch to 5K.  It’s exactly what it sounds like…a program that trains couch potato types to run 5K (approximately 3.1 miles) in a period of 9 weeks.  I wouldn’t exactly call myself a couch potato, but I am a running novice.  C25K was designed for folks like me and apparently has helped many to start running.  The regimen is a mix of walking and running that gradually builds until you’re running for an entire half hour.  You run 3 times a week for 20 or 30 minutes, beginning and ending each session with stretching and a 5 minute warm up/cool down.

I’ve only completed Week 1 of the program and am halfway through Week 2 but so far, so good.  I’m already patting myself on the back for trekking on when my legs and lungs were screaming for me to stop.  And while I didn’t believe it when others told me it would get easier, the truth is that it did!  I’ve found my rhythm, have learned to breathe and am actually starting to enjoy it.  What helps is my dandy personal trainer.  I found an iPhone app with the C25K training program called Get Running.  There’s a peppy British woman who tells me when to run and when to slow to a walk and adds a little encouragement along the way.

I’m so excited about this because there are so many great benefits to running.  Aside from improved cardio health, running helps with weight loss, improves bone health and can even improve your mood.  Running is an excellent cardiovascular workout that may help to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.  Running is also one of the most effective exercises to help shed those extra pounds.  So much energy is expended and so many calories burned when running, it makes weight loss is a cinch.  Running builds strong bones, as they are stimulated and respond to the increased physical demands of the run.  Finally, the endorphins released while running create a sense of euphoria (aka “runners high”) that makes you feel happy and less stressed.  Knowing this, who wouldn’t want to take up running?

Find more information on C25K by visiting this link:  http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml

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