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      Running the Canal Run: Part 1

      Iâ??ve never been much of a runner. In fact, I havenâ??t done much running in almost seven years since I was in high school, but I always envied my friends who ran in marathons with ease.

      So a couple months ago, I decided to sign up to run five miles in Hancockâ??s premiere race, the Canal Run.

      I wasnâ??t really sure where to begin though, so I visited athletic trainer and Sports Medicine Coordinator at Portage Health, Brian Brewster, for some advice on running.

      â??Studies have shown that it helps prevent diabetes and helps manage people with diabetes, helps prevent heart disease, weight management, helps you burn a few extra calories, and it makes you feel better during the day,â?? he said.

      Brian said to first make sure youâ??re healthy enough to start a training plan, even if that means visiting your family doctor to get the OK.

      He said to prevent injuries and leg pains by purchasing the right pair of shoes.

      â??Usually a high arch needs a softer shoe, where somebody who has a flat foot needs a more rigid shoe,â?? Brian explained. â??You donâ??t want to go over 300 miles with those shoes. Once you get into the 300 to 400 miles, they start breaking down.â??

      And he told me to start off slow.

      â??If youâ??re going from zero, you havenâ??t ran in three years, two years, ten years, whatever it may be, I would say, start with walking. Itâ??s a little bit less impact,â?? he said.

      I was still a little nervous about feeling sore after my first time going for a jog, but Brian said there are numerous recovery steps you can take, like drinking chocolate milk to replenish protein for your muscles.

      â??Ice tubs are good, so you can go sit in the lake after you go for a long run, or just putting your legs up in the air will help get some of the blood thatâ??s built up in your muscles out will help,â?? Brian added.

      After Brian gave me some guidance on where to begin, I got the right shoes for my feet and started walking, but I wasnâ??t quite ready yet to run a full five miles, and decided to seek help from a personal trainer to get there.

      In part two of my series, I meet with a fitness trainer for some strength exercises and running tips so I could finish the 5-mile Run race in the Canal Run.