Whenever I would see people running on the side of the road, as I drove by with my McDonalds chicken nuggets in hand, I would think “I could do that.” However, each time I started up running, I would find something that discouraged me from keeping up with it. Whether it be that everyone seemed faster than me (even a 12 year old at a 5k race), or some sort of physical pain associated with it (like knee pain from the wrong shoe).
Now, I’m back at it again. I’m up to almost 5 miles and just registered for the Rehoboth Beach Half Marathon on December 10th.
After each time I quit running, something brings me back…usually my unwillingness to give up junk food. But, aside from the obvious physical benefits of staying in shape, running regularly also helps to provide stress relief. I could have had the worst day, feeling anxious and stressed about a project at work or a family issue, and it all seems to melt away during a run. I’ve even seen some studies show that exercise can be as effective as any anti-depressant!
Another reason I have been consistently drawn to running, is the community that surrounds it in Delaware. There is an inherently social aspect of running, particularly here. It’s quite a network of people who go from event to event, and a great way to get to know people.
Delaware Running Company
Our local running community is so supportive and impressive… and most of it centers back to the Delaware Running Company (On Route 52 by the BBC and Main Street in Newark). Mike Monagle is the owner and I caught up with him for some running advice, in an effort to stick with it this time.
The Delaware Running Company, and the running club associated with it, started by training Olympic athletics, and now focuses more on programs like “Couch to 5k” that get beginner runners out there with a “just do it” philosophy.
Mike’s advice to novices is just to commit yourself to the practice and get involved in the running community.
“The rest comes naturally, and if it doesn’t there is a whole support network out there waiting to help. Don’t worry about how many miles you’re doing,” emphasized Mike.
If you’re a more experienced runner, there is also a variety for running groups out there. Many of them meet for long runs at trails throughout the state. Just show up for one of the runs scheduled on their website and they will welcome you into the pack, says Monogle.
Tips on Safety for Runners
“Shoes are the single most important way to prevent injury,” said Mike.
The Delaware Running Company will provide an assessment of your running style and the best shoes for you. They even have a physical therapist on the premises.
Also, run with a partner for safety and encouragement, and when it’s dark out run with something that is reflective to increase visibly.
So if you’re like me and always wanted to get back on “track”(pun intended), stop into the Delaware Running Company to get started. Answers are always free at the Delaware Running Company, as Mike says. I’m even headed there this week to figure out how I can beat some shin splits with a running assessment.
Running Trail Suggestions from Mike
Brandywine Valley (especially in spring and fall)
Woodlawn Trust and Brandywine Creek – my personal favorite
White Clay Creek
Plus, almost every weekend, there is a 5k or some way to go out and get involved. Check out www.races2run.com for races. Next on my list is the PNC Thanksgiving Day Run/Walk for MS.