Get in gear to run

Planning to run in the Chattanooga Heroes Run on July 16? If you aren’t a runner by nature, read up on how to prepare yourself to run.

First, let’s talk a little about the Chattanooga Heroes Run. The Run/Walk, sponsored by Erlanger Health System’s Trauma Services, is in honor of Chattanooga’s fallen heroes.

The route is a special one — it will begin at 8 a.m. on Amnicola Highway at the Naval Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center and follow part of the path emergency medical services took on July 16, 2015 in response to the attack.

Following the 5-mile Run/Walk, there will be a 1-mile fun run at the hospital for those in 8th grade or younger. After the races, there’ll be an expo at Challenger Field for all to enjoy.

Proceeds from the race will help fund a permanent memorial near the Naval Operational Support Center.

Now, here’s how to get yourself ready to run:

  1. Gear up properly. This applies to your pre-race training and the day of the race. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s hot outside! So it’s especially important to make sure your attire fits the bill.

When running outside, choose loose, light-colored clothing. Look for materials that are sweat-wicking and quick-drying. You want them to evaporate your sweat so that you stay cool but not damp.

If you don’t have a pair already, work with staff at a shoe store to find a pair of running shoes that will match your foot type.

Put on sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays and any materials in the air. And don’t forget your most important gear: sunscreen.

  1. Warm up. Don’t walk outside and simply start running. Always begin with a warm-up routine.

Set aside five minutes at the beginning of your workout to warm up. You don’t need to do anything special during your warm-up — simply walk at a slow pace to prepare your body.

  1. Create a training plan. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Looking at a calendar, consider how many days you have between now and the race. Then sketch out “appointments” to train for a half hour at a time.

Don’t start with running. The first day or two of your training plan should consist of walking at a moderate to fast pace for 30 minutes.

Then switch to run/walking for the same amount of time. Run for 30 seconds to one minute, then walk until you catch your breath. Repeat. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend running.

In the final days before the race, you’ll spend the entire half hour running. This will prepare you for the 5-mile course.

While training, be sure to also do other forms of physical activity, such as strength training or swimming. This, combined with plenty of sleep and days of rest, will help your body recover.

  1. Breathe. Running requires more oxygen than you’re used to, so efficient breathing is essential.

Train yourself to breathe correctly. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to link your breathing to your steps — breathe in every two to four steps and out every two to four steps. This will get oxygen to your muscles.

There’s still time to register for the Chattanooga Heroes Run! You can sign up here or register beginning at 6 a.m. on the day of the race.