Summer had millions of viewers watching Olympic runners in peak condition compete for the gold. For those wishing to achieve their own running goals, there is no shortage of marathons from which to choose.
But, how does one decide if they are ready to join the racing circuit?
“I think the biggest thing to focus on is having fun. Too many people jump into running too serious about losing weight or making a specific time. If you’re not having fun – those two things mentioned will never happen,” said James Adams, running coach, Wattie Ink Elite Team member, and vice president of the Temecula Valley Triathlon Club.
When fitness and weight loss are in the loop, running is a great way to go, Adams said.
“Where else as an adult can you drive that inner competitiveness to run, bike and swim like a kid again and lose weight while doing it? It will change your life. You’ll have more energy, look great, set a great example for your family and friends and have fun in the process,” he added.
Adams recommends starting slowly, and if you’re going to invest in the process, be sure to get a great pair of shoes,and consider investing in a fitness coach.
“The Running Center gives you free video analysis, so start there. A coach will take the worry out of getting injured or wondering if you’re doing the right workouts.”
Whether running with a coach or a running partner, your next step will be entering a 5K race.
“Racing provides such a great atmosphere,” Adams said, “where runners of all levels get together to have fun doing what they love.”
The Temecula Valley Triathlon Club, sponsored by The Bike Shop of Temecula, trains at all levels. The schedule for members includes directed practice three days a week that includes open water swims at Vail Lake, a track workout at Temecula Middle School, and a group bike ride on Saturdays of both short and long distances.
“All levels are welcome. We have some in the club that have never done a triathlon before all the way to the elite level,” Adams said.
How does one know if they are ready to move up to the next level?
“I often I see people go from couch to marathon instead of taking baby steps,” Adams said. “The jump (from 5K) to a 10K isn’t quite as bad as most would think. If you can do five miles comfortably, then you are ready for a 10K. Now, when you decide to jump to a half marathon, that’s when (a runner) needs to start looking at long runs, and maybe some hill intervals.”
And, it’s always easier if you have someone to run with.
Adams’ wife Amy runs both with her husband and a small group of friends.
“There is a special camaraderie and sense of accomplishment that comes from running and racing with friends. When you are with a friend, their encouragement and presence can bring you further then you think you are capable of and it’s the best feeling when you cross that finish line together,” Amy said.
Fellow runner and half-marathoner, Jamie Enfield agrees: “I loved running my last half marathon with friends. Because of them, it never crossed my mind that we wouldn’t finish the race.”
With the Adams family, support and accountability come with the territory.
“It’s important to include your family in training and racing. We make camping trips out of races that are out of town. Amy pulls the kids on her bike while I go for an evening run. We take the family to the track, and all run around. Amy and I don’t just workout, it’s our lifestyle. Most of the activities we do, most of the things we eat and the friends we hang out with revolve around it and we wouldn’t have it any other way,” Adams said.
James Adams can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about coaching. Mention SWRNN in the subject line for a special discount.
Ashley Ludwig is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.