First things first, and in the interest of full disclosure, I want to be clear about this… I’m not a runner.

Don’t get me wrong, I used to enjoy running when I was in shape to run…you know, back in high school.  Now that I’m no longer, shall we say, conditioned, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit nervous about this Run for the Wild.

I’ve had a couple of friends train for runs like this, though, and to a person, they’ve all raved about the Couch to 5K training program outlined on CoolRunning.com.  The program is an interval-based training schedule that allows you to build up your stamina and running ability over the course of 9 weeks. That gives just enough time to finish this training by October 6th, and have a few days to rest before the run on October 9th.

After a little bit of research, I found that there’s also an inexpensive ($2.99 on iTunes) Couch to 5K app that can be synced to my iPod so that I can train with my own music. There are also lots of free podcasts that can be downloaded with pre-programmed training cues and music; just Google “Couch to 5K podcast” and you’ll likely find something to match your tastes!

If you prefer to walk, you can also use similar training programs to build up to walking a 5K. A quick Google search found a host of options, including this plan from About.com, which also includes helpful tips at each stage and an event-day checklist.

I’m heading out for my first run tonight after work, on what I’m renaming my “Desk Chair to 5K” plan, and hope that some of you will be too!

Heather Zeman is the Events Manager at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, where she coordinates a wide variety of recruitment and special events. She’s currently planning a gorilla trek, to take place in Summer 2012.

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