Time to keep those resolutions, train for charity 5K run

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 13, 2001

Natchez’s Junior Auxiliary is sponsoring its second annual 5K on April 7.

Sound like a long way away?

For those who haven’t dusted off their New Year’s resolutions yet, now is the perfect time to begin a 12-week training program for the race, whose proceeds will benefit the children’s activities JA supports.

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The &uot;Spring Into Action: Run for the Kids&uot; 5K – a 3.1 mile run/walk – will begin at Memorial Park and wind through downtown Natchez.

Stephanie Daly, race co-organizer and a veteran of several half-marathons, said Junior Auxiliary is hoping to make the event bigger every year. And this year, that means involving as many people in the community as JA can recruit to run.

A 1-mile fun run for children 12 and under will take place after the 5K.

&uot;That was the most touching part of the race last year,&uot; Daly said. &uot;Seeing those little kids work so hard to get across the finish line. This is for the kids, so it was nice having the kids involved.&uot;

And to get their parents involved as well, Daly has created a 12-week training schedule adapted from Runner’s World magazine’s Web site.

She emphasized that the schedule is only a guide – people who need to take it more slowly should do so, and those who are more advanced can skip ahead.

&uot;It’s only important that you cover the distance,&uot; Daly said. &uot;Don’t worry about time. If this (training schedule) is too easy, go ahead and work on your time. If it’s too hard, go at your own pace.&uot;

But before beginning a training schedule, consult a physician, Natchez physical therapists Missi Cranston and Jessica Huckaby.

Cranston and Huckaby offered several other tips to help make the most of training – and prevent injury:

Stretching: Most people agree stretching is an important method of injury prevention for runners. The best time to stretch is when your muscles are&160;&uot;warmed up&uot; – most likely after you run. Focus on the muscles that are tight and don’t stretch the ones that are flexible.

For example, if a specific stretch causes you to feel a strain, then you need to be stretching that muscle or group of muscles. If you try a stretch and experience no muscle tightness, then you do not need that stretch. If you are experiencing soreness or pain in a specific area, you can consult an orthopedic surgeon for recommendations of specific stretches to try.

Important muscles for runners to stretch are: lower back, hips, groin, front and back of thigh, calf muscles, shins, and the iliotibial band, the muscle and band of tissue from the hip along the outside of the thigh to the outside of the knee.

Rest: Remember to rest the day after a challenging run (this may be a short run for beginners). Take the day off or do a lighter form of exercise to allow your body to recuperate and the muscles to repair. This also helps prevent more severe injury from overuse of muscles.

Warm-up: Warming up, running slowly for the first five minutes or so, is important as you begin each run to allow heartbeat and metabolism to increase gradually and your muscles to loosen for the work ahead.

Cool-down: Running slowly or walking at the end of a run will prevent your muscles from tightening in response to the hard workout. It also prevents blood from pooling in your legs and aids in muscle recovery.