Mt Pleasant News

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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 21, 2018
Fall Health

Walking your way to a 5K race

Sep 21, 2017
Photo by: Karyn Spory The REC Center’s Health and Wellness Coordinator Raul Becerril says now is a great time to sign up for a 5K, like the REC Center’s Glowing Pumpkin Fun Run. Whether you’re a beginner or a 5K pro, getting out on some walking trails or the tredmill is a great way to get into shape.

By Karyn Spory, Mt. Pleasant News


The season of the 5K is here and the REC Center’s Raul Becerril has helpful tips and tricks to make sure whether it’s someone’s first or 50th race, they’ll be running safe, smart and having lots of fun along the way.

For those new to the 5K circuit, Becerril, health and wellness coordinator at the REC Center, says the best place to start is anywhere. “You don’t have to be at the gym, you can walk around your neighborhood or find some trails and a couple of friends to go with you.”

If just starting out, Becerril says not to worry and not to expect to run three miles the first time. “Just start by walking,” he says. Then, those aspiring to run a 5K can begin to add jogging into the mix, incrementally. As individuals build up their strength, they’ll be able to jog for longer periods of time. “Eventually, you will say, “OK, I did 30 seconds of jogging, let’s go for a minute.’ Then, as you get comfortable with a minute, you’ll be able to go for a minute and a half and keep bumping up your time.”

Becerril says having a good support system is key when you’re training and recommends signing up for a run with a friend. “Having someone there, right next to you and by your side supporting you is a big thing,” he said.

Becerril says signing up with a friend will not only keep runners accountable, but can make the journey more enjoyable. “It’s going to be tough,” he says of working up to the first 5K, “but having someone there makes it so much easier.”

The REC Center puts on several 5K events a year. On Oct. 19, the gym will hold its annual Glowing Pumpkin Fun Run at East Lake Park. “People can come out at 6 p.m. and play games before the race starts at 7 p.m.”

Participants are also encouraged to dress accordingly for the Halloween themed event as there will be a costume contest. According to Becerril there will be awards for the most creative, scariest, funniest and best homemade costumes. Prizes will be awarded before the race begins.

For those not quite ready for that full 5K, Becerril says that’s all right. The glow run gives people the option to walk or run and they only have to lap the lake once if they want. If they’re pushing to make the glow run a true 5K, they would run the lake twice, hitting that 3.1-mile mark.

“This is a great opportunity for us to bring the community together in an active way,” Becerril says of why the REC Center hosts 5Ks throughout the year. The most recent one was held in July and was an obstacle course.

Before any big race, or even before any workout, Becerril says it’s important to warm up and cool down. “Everybody has their own way of warming up. Some people like doing the basic static stretching, others like doing ballistic (exercises) like high knees or butt kicks. Either way you want to do a warm up that will get your heart rate up.”

A cool down has a similar objective. Becerril says it’s important not to just stop after a workout. For a cool down, most runners go for just a little longer than say the 3.1 miles of a 5K and lower the intensity of their workout.

Lastly, Becerril says nutrition is important. “You can’t be eating junk food and then going out and run and expect to feel good. You have to fuel your body just like a car,” he said.

Becerril says although it’s easy, don’t get discouraged. “In life, we’re always exposed to something new. Don’t be afraid to try it.”

For more information regarding the REC Center or the upcoming Glowing Pumpkin Fun Run, contact Becerril at 319-385-3960 or


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