Lace’em up: And get out the door

May 2015 Posted in Sports
Fun runs on the schedule:
Register at
unless otherwise noted.
May 9: Silverton Health Fun Run
May 30: Run for the Hills
June 6: Silver Falls Challenge,
June 27: Pajama Rama
Aug. 9: Homer’s Classic
Sept. 19: Oktoberfest Road Race

By Steve Ritchie

As the days get longer, many of us feel a stronger urge to exercise outside.

Walking, cycling, running, backpacking, swimming, kayaking, golfing – the list of activities for warm months is long and the choices good. But, for a “go-to” exercise on a regular basis, I prefer running.

Running is inexpensive, doesn’t require special training or equipment, and can be done just about anywhere, anytime. Your run can be as social or as solitary as you want. It is a great stress reliever, and it’s easy to get the benefits of exercise in a short time. So, how to get started? Here are my tips:

Running shoes

First, it’s critical to get a quality pair of running shoes. Good shoes that are well-suited for your foot and stride will help prevent injuries and provide maximum comfort. A good pair will last 300 to 500 miles, and are worth the investment of $80 – $125.

I suggest going to a running shoe store because of the expert help you can get. Gallagher Fitness Resources in Salem is my favorite place, but there are good running stores throughout the valley.

A staff person will get information on your running, suggest shoes to try and sure the shoes are the proper type and fit for your stride and foot strike.

Running buddy or solitary (wo)man

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner was the catchy title of a popular book from my youth. It captured the image of running at the time: a solitary and somewhat eccentric pursuit. If that was ever true, it most certainly is not the case now. Running is, in fact, a great way to socialize. Find a partner to chat with as you jog around town or on the track.

I always tell my high school cross country runners, when they go out on a long run or a recovery run to do it at “conversational pace,” meaning not so fast that they get out of breath and can’t easily converse during the run.

Finding a running buddy is easier these days thanks to Facebook, Twitter, websites and the like.  Get in touch with a local running club like Silverton Runners Club, or with an informal group like “Mom’s on the Run,” both groups can be found by searching on Facebook. Or join a training group through a running store.

Not everyone wants to make their training a social occasion. Some people love being out on the road by themselves. That works well as long as you pay attention to safety.

Variety adds spice
I know some runners who do the exact same route and distance whenever they run. That would drive me crazy. I love the variety of training runs I can do at Silver Falls Park, Willamette Mission Park, Bush’s Pasture Park and Minto Brown Park. Flat or hilly? Short or long? Fast or slow? Dirt trail or asphalt bike path? Doing more trail runs reinvigorated my running this year. Vary your routes and types of runs and it will help keep you looking forward to the next run.

Set a goal
Setting a goal of running a 5K, 10K or a half-marathon can be a very powerful motivator to get you out of the house to do your training run. Pick a race two or three months in the future, sign up and pay the fee. Tell your friends and see if one of them will join you – then you’re really committed! The main thing is to lace up your shoes and get out the door!

Steve Ritchie is the track and field and cross country coach at Kennedy High School.

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