Feet and wheels on the ground
As the summer slowly begins to wind down and the days get a little shorter and the nights get a little cooler, we naturally start looking ahead to fall. Since the season of yellow leaves and orange pumpkins also heralds the return of cooler weather, we often imagine spending more time indoors where it’s cozy and warm.
There’s nothing wrong with snuggling by the fire, of course, but don’t let a nip in the air keep you from getting outside and moving every bit as much as you did this summer. Fresh, crisp air is one of the pleasures of fall, and with the return to school and regular routines, it’s a good time to develop new, healthy habits.
If you’re the kind of person who sometimes has trouble sticking with an exercise plan (don’t we all?), why not help to motivate yourself by linking your exercise goals to a charity by doing a walk, run, or ride that’s raising money for an organization you care about? Most runs have a walking option, and usually a choice of routes (1K, 5K, 10K and up), so you can train for whatever distance you think you’ll be able to accomplish.
And in case you’re thinking, “But there are no organizations doing runs in the fall!” Think again! While it’s true that a lot of charity walks, runs, and rides take place in the late spring and throughout the summer, it’s not the only time of year that feet and wheels hit the street.
Each September, Canadians right across the country participate in local Terry Fox runs, a legacy to the late Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope in 1980. In the United States, walkers in 600 communities across the country participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s every fall.
One of the best ways to find out about charity walks in your area is to check your local newspaper or its website. You can also do a quick online search by entering your city or town’s name and “run” or “walk” in the search field.
We’ve done a quick round up to help get you started:
If a large, organized event isn’t your thing, did you know that you can participate in charitable “virtual races” any time of the year? You simply sign up, pay your fee, then walk, run, or cycle outdoors in your neighborhood or indoors on a treadmill or stationary bike until you reach your goal. The fee you pay goes towards a charity, and you receive a fun medal in the mail! Check out sites like Virtual Race and Will Run for Bling to find out more.
Training for a charity run
Before you start any kind of new exercise regimen, make sure to visit your doctor to get a thorough check up in order to make sure everything is in working order. Once you have the all clear from your doctor – who may be a good resource for tips and strategies to help you achieve your exercise goals – it’s time to start gearing up for your charity race.
Be aware that while they are often called races, it’s all in how you look at it and what you want to get out of it. Some participants treat charity runs/walks as races and attempt to cross the finish line first, while others simply want to best their previously achieved times for similar runs. But many participants in charity races are simply there to enjoy the day, get some exercise, and support a charity they care about. Their finish time isn’t important – finishing is all that matters.
If you’ve never walked or run 5K before, it’s important to train for the event so that you know you can safely and comfortably complete the course. Check out Very Well for tips on how even beginners can train for a 5K run. Health Communities has a great training schedule for those who are planning to walk 5K.
It’s all about building up your stamina, wearing the correct gear, and ensuring that you are properly hydrated and fueled with good, healthy food.
Remember, many charities have shorter courses for children as well as adults who are unable to complete a 5K or 10K race. Look for 1K or 2K fun run options when you’re hunting for a charity walk/run. Even if you’re not walking as far, you’ll still be getting out, getting some exercise, and doing some good for a charity you care about this fall!
For great tips on how to fundraise for your charity run, visit Learnvest.com.