You can almost smell a whiff of turkey in the air. That means the Turkey Trot in downtown Detroit and the annual Grosse Pointe Jingle Bell Run are just around the corner.
If this thought is enticing you to lace up your sneakers to train for one of these runs, your success just may depend on your training program.
"Those are both good races for first-timers or those getting back into running," said Keith Hanson, who owns on Mack Avenue in Grosse Pointe Woods. "They are good events for people starting out or just getting back into running."
The key is to keep running fun. The first place you should start is with your feet. Get good running shoes.
"But I've got some running shoes that I use for walking around on weekends; I'll just use those," you might say. "Why should I invest money into shoes if it turns out I don't like running?"
That, according to Hanson, is setting you up for failure. Without the proper shoe, you are likely to experience aching hips, knees or feet–because of the shoe, not because your body isn't meant for running.
"It's kind of like someone saying they want to learn how to ice skate, and they go out on the ice in their shoes or boots," Hanson said. "You need the skates to learn."
Likewise with running. If you think it's something you want to pursue, first invest in the shoes. Next, develop a plan. For new runners, Hanson suggested a walking-running combination.
"Maybe do a total of 15-20 minutes," he said. "Start by walking five minutes, then run for a minute or two. Over time, gradually replace the time you walk with running."
It's the once-upon-a-timers that have the most potential to overdo it and sustain injuries. These are the track stars from high school, the people who used to get up on Saturday mornings and run down Lake Shore Drive from Vernier to Moross without breaking much of a sweat, but for years their sprinting has been limited to running to the store for a gallon of milk.
"Those people can be hard on themselves," Hanson said.
Give your body the time it needs to get back into shape and return to the running groove. Do this, and then the Turkey Trot or Jingle Bell Run will be a great way to spend a holiday.
If you need help devising the running program that best suits you, look at the Hansons website.