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Jumping into the unknown world of running

Sloth -- one of the seven deadly sins man practices daily.

It's one that I've been practicing since my high school years, avoiding voluntarily exercise routinely.

I've covered numerous cross country and long-distance track events, and although there was an admiration for the long-distance runner -- there was always my thought that it's crazy to be in a sport which is most other sports' punishment.

My thinking of running was, "You run only if something is chasing you."

But there was a kink in my armor of this ignorant way of thinking the last week or so -- I thought maybe I shouldn't judge it until I try it.

Lo and behold, enter the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center and their Training Program for the upcoming Beardsley Race, which is Sept. 6, in Detroit Lakes.

An offer crossed my e-mail from Kesley Myhre, who is a diehard runner herself and also works at the DLCCC. It was an offer to take part in the DLCCC Training Program, for either the Half-Marathon or 5K race.

The Training Program is geared to either the experienced runner or the first-timer, which professionally trains them in a 12-week regimen.

So the decision was made, I would take part in the 5K Training Program, which is mostly for the beginning runner such as myself.

It will be a challenge keeping to the schedule, but one I look forward to. I will track my progress -- and that of others in the each of the 5K and Half-Marathon programs -- each week in a column in Sunday's Detroit Lakes Tribune, starting this weekend.

So it's off to the races for this out-of-shape sports writer, destination Sept. 6.

Professional training is the key

The idea of creating a Training Program for the Beardsley Race blossomed from suggestions by DLCCC members, who were interested in running the event.

The DLCCC has coordinated the Beardsley Race for the last three years, and numbers have increased for the event on an annual basis.

The first year of the race -- 1996 -- 340 total people ran in all the events combined. Last year, a total of 1,656 ran, including 945 in the half marathon and 512 in the 5K walk/run.

"We saw just over 30 percent growth from 2006 to 2007, so there has been a lot of interest," said DLCCC program director Brent Wolf, who kickstarted the Training Programs. "Members were suggesting to me that we start a training program, not only for the Beardsley Race, but for races like Fargo (marathon).

"They were just looking for guidance in training."

Each of the half marathon and 5K training programs will be headed by DLCCC personal trainer Angie Johnson, who has set up daily planners for each program.

The half marathon is geared to the experienced runner, one who has been running at least on a partial basis over the last year.

"The half marathon training program is for someone who has been running for awhile," Johnson said. "Usually, they will have run a half marathon before."

The half marathon training schedule includes daily runs of three miles, with a four-mile run on one day and one day a week for rest.

"People usually don't realize that the rest day is just as important as a running day," Johnson noted.

Every Wednesday, the two groups will meet, with the 5K runners meeting from 5:30-6:30 p.m. and the half marathon runners from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Johnson will run informational classes each Wednesday and also there will be workouts held, such as hill repeats and tempo running.

She will teach runners about nutrition, stretching, injuries, heart monitors, shoes and other informational tools about the art of long-distance running.

"We'll talk about every little thing which comes with running," Johnson added.

The half marathon is much more intense training, with a progression of running three miles a day, to six miles by the sixth week and up to 10 miles once a week by the 10th week.

For the beginner, the 5K is the perfect fit. Most of the daily workouts are a half hour, consisting of a combination of walking and running.

There's a gradual increase each week, but it isn't based on mileage like the half marathon training; rather, it's based on time.

For instance, in week two a runner starts to run for two minutes and walks for four -- and repeats that cycle five times.

"By the 11th week, you will be running for the full 30 minutes," Johnson said. "It's a good introduction to running."

Wolf added each program also provides self-motivation, since for the majority of the training program you work out by yourself.

"The biggest thing is consistency," Wolf said. "It's important to walk or run at least four days out of the week to help build up each week. The 5K training also is good because you don't have to jump in and run three miles right away.

"It's more enjoyable."

People can still join Wednesday or next week, with costs being $40 for premier plus members of the DLCCC, $42 for premier members and $45 for non-members.

There also is a relay race for the Beardsley event, where one runner runs six miles and their partner runs the other six. The training programs can help in that regard, as well.

For me personally, the attraction of taking part in the training program was the professional training and the guidance of a daily planner.

It's also heading into the unknown and setting a goal of finishing my first long-distance running event.

Whether it's at 3.2 miles (5K) or 13.2 miles (half marathon), a finish line is a finish line and working towards that goal of crossing one will be the driving motivation through a 12-week program.