Hit the ground walking … and then run toward your 5K goal

Hit the ground walking ... and then run toward your 5K goal #355

The Mercury is engaged in a year-long effort, Fit for Life, designed to promote healthy living and inspired by recent health studies which indicate an alarming increase in obesity and overweight people in the paper?s coverage area. In addition to articles in the newspaper and on our website, Fit for Life features a blog with recipes, health tips, resources, tips on getting fit without breaking the bank, maps and other tools all available free online. Visit the website at www.pottsmerc.com/Fitforlife, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MercFit4Life and follow our efforts on Twitter @MercFit4Life.

You can follow Michilea Patterson on Twitter @MichileaP. Patterson is the Fit for Life reporter and is funded in part by the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation.

POTTSTOWN ? The idea of a 5K race can be intimidating, especially for people who don?t consider themselves runners, but building up endurance is the key to being successful.

The Mercury?s Fit for Life initiative is starting a 5K program that will help beginner runners and even non-runners eventually complete a 5K race.

A 5K race is 3.1 miles, and it?s not speed but endurance that racers need. Success in this type of race requires training the body to get used to the action of running and then staying motivated until the end of the race.

One of the most common mistakes beginner runners make is doing too much too soon. This involves running too great a distance before they?re ready or running at too fast a speed.

To help beginner runners, Mercury employees will meet Mondays, starting Sept. 8, at 5:30 p.m. in Memorial Park in Pottstown for a training session. The community is invited to join in these free sessions. The group will focus on building up endurance so participants can eventually race in a 5K. The park is located at 75 W. King St. and participants are to meet at the parking lot across the street from the Manatawny Green miniature golf course.

Diane Hoffman, The Mercury?s community engagement editor, will lead the 5K program. Hoffman began bicycling after her second child was born to help her lose the baby weight. She then became interested in triathlons, which is how she started running. She has completed three 5Ks and three half marathons.

Hoffman said she hasn?t competed in a running race in over a year. After separating from her husband in 2012, Hoffman became a single mother and she didn?t have as much time to exercise. She said she wants to start running again and encourage others to come along on the journey.

?It?s not too late to get in shape and be healthy,? Hoffman said.

Training will start with a walk and then brief periods of running. Everyone is encouraged to move at their own pace and at their own ability. Each training session will take about 30 minutes. The 5K group will meet once a week but participants are encouraged to train on their own two additional times each week. Participants should space out their training days to give themselves a chance to rest.

Participants will be training with the goal of competing in the Pottstown 5K Monster Dash on Oct. 19. If anyone doesn?t feel ready by that date, they can continue to train and compete in the Mid Atlantic Dairy Toss Your Turkey 5K in Pottstown on Nov. 27.

Training sessions will be every Monday rain or shine unless weather conditions become unsafe.

For more information about the beginner 5K group and to join, email Michilea Patterson at mpatterson@pottsmerc.com or call 610-970-4455.

For more details, visit www.pottsmerc.com