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Ready, set, run!

For almost 20 years, runners from across Atlantic Canada have celebrated the beginning of summer running season by participating in the Blue Nose Marathon. Why not make this the year you lace up your shoes, pin on a number and get running? From the Doctors Nova Scotia Youth Run to the full marathon (with plenty of options in between), there’s lots of fun to be had for runners of all skills and abilities.

If you start training now, a 5K race is within reach. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Get the all-clear
If you’re not a regular exerciser but you want to start running, it’s always a wise idea to get the all-clear from your family physician before you begin. Your doctor will identify any potential health issues or existing conditions that could affect your running plan. Once you get the thumbs-up, you’re ready to run.

Dress appropriately
All you need to run is a pair of running shoes and comfortable clothes that you don’t mind sweating in – but sometimes a bit of specialized gear can come in handy. If you’re running in the early morning or later in the evening, consider wearing a reflective arm band, a jacket with reflective stripes, or even a headlamp. 

Wear layers, including a hat and gloves, in winter, so that you can adjust your clothing to your body temperature. You might like to add a pair of “ice grippers” to your shoes to help keep your footing on ice or snow.

Be safe
Staying safe when you’re out for a run is largely common sense, but it bears repeating: make sure you’re wearing hi-vis clothing (neon or reflective), especially if you’re running in the early morning or after dark; stay on the sidewalk whenever possible, and if you can’t, run facing oncoming traffic; and make sure that someone knows where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

If you’re listening to music, make sure it’s not so loud that you can’t hear what’s happening around you. Take your cell phone and money for a cab ride just in case you need to call for help.

Easy does it
Don’t take off at a sprint as soon as you’ve closed the door behind you; in fact, slow and steady is a better pace. Take the time to check your running form. Making sure you’re standing tall and that your stride is right can make a big difference to how you run…and how you feel afterward.

Try alternating running with walking and gradually increase how much time you spend running. You’re more likely to succeed if you take it gradually, rather than trying to run a full 5 km on your first expedition.

Make it a family affair
Kids are more likely to be active if their parents are active, so why not make training for a race something that the whole family gets involved in? Kids Run Club offers a variety of training resources that kids can use in school or at home. Start now and you won’t just be getting your kids ready for one race – you’ll be helping them build health habits that will last a lifetime.

Focus on the 3 Ps
Be persistent, pace yourself, and push yourself – that’s the best way to make progress when you’re training for a race. Running takes hard work and motivation, and having a clear goal in mind makes it easier to stay motivated. Consider signing up for the Blue Nose 5K now. Happy running!

(If you can’t make it to Halifax, check out this list of other running events happening around Nova Scotia this year.)

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