Local 5K’s offer summertime fitness plan

The days are getting sunnier and warmer, the pollen levels are finally subsiding, and summer is quickly approaching. For many looking to get into a healthier lifestyle, improve their well-being or just get outside a little more these summer months, these are the tell-tale signs of the 5K season. With two widely-known running organizers spearheading dozens of events, there are plenty of opportunities to lace up those sneakers and get out there, all for great causes.

The Seashore Striders, headed by race director Tim Bamforth, have been putting on runs primarily along the Delaware shoreline since 1988 but also sponsor events in surrounding areas, as well, picking up participants from Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and beyond. Although their summer runs gain the majority of the club’s participation, Strider events span from February through December.

This year marks the Seashore Striders’ 21st Annual Summer Championship series, which kicks off Memorial Day weekend with the 18th Annual Masser 5-Miler on Sunday, May 29. The Summer Championship Series includes 14 runs throughout the Rehoboth and Lewes area, as well as Millsboro.

Other Seashore Striders’ events, not part of the summer series, include the Third Annual Justin’s Beach House Memorial 5K Walk/Run, scheduled for Saturday, May 28, at 8 a.m. in Bethany Beach and the 5th Annual Ed Dean Memorial 4-Miler in Ocean View on Aug. 27, with at least one event going on each week through the summer.

While most runs begin at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. on Saturdays or Sundays, times vary, so check www.seashorestriders.com for all race information.

Races2Run, operated by Wayne Kursh, has been putting together runs throughout Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Their highlight events are the summer’s widely popular Seven Sisters and Two Brothers of Dewey Beach series, which includes nine runs, sponsored by Dewey-based businesses, spanning from Monday, May 30, through Saturday, Sept. 10.

Races2Run also offers several pump-and-run competitions, which incorporate bench pressing prior to the run, providing time deductions. For schedules of Races2Run events, visit www.races2run.com.

A 5-kilometer run translates to 3.1 miles. Like any form of exercise, running should be taken in stride (pun intended). Most beginning runners make the same mistake, starting too fast, too early. The team at Seashore Striders recommends a simple “couch to 5K” plan that can get you ready and out there in only 10 weeks.

The program, designed by Bamforth and fellow runner Bob Porter, gradually lengthen the amount of time you actually spend running, eventually getting a walker able to do a slow, continuous 30-minute jog, equal to a 5K. The program is designed for a half-hour session four days a week.

It is noted that days of rest between the workout should remain consistent. For example, try to keep a routine, such as Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

The following is Bamforth’s and Porter’s training program:

Week 1 - Walk 4 minutes and jog 2 minutes. Repeat 5 times.

Week 2 - Walk 3 minutes and jog 3 minutes. Repeat 5 times.

Week 3 - Walk 3 minutes and jog 5 minutes. Repeat 4 times.

Week 4 - Walk 3 minutes and jog 7 minutes. Repeat 3 times.

Week 5 - Walk 2 minutes and jog 8 minutes. Repeat 3 times.

Week 6 - Walk 2 minutes and jog 12 minutes. Repeat 2 times.

Week 7 - Walk 1 minute and jog 16 minutes. Repeat 2 times.

Week 8 - Walk 2 minutes and jog 18 minutes. Repeat 2 times.

Week 9 - Walk 1 minute and jog 20 minutes. Repeat 2 times.

Week 10 - jog 30 minutes

By easing into the 5K lifestyle, you can improve your personal health, feel better mentally and physically energize your body. So, get out there and hit the ground running. (As always, check with your health-care provider before starting any new exercise routine.)