You've Got to Walk Before You Can Run

by Benita Zahn

If I had a dime for everyone who's ever said to me, “I wish I could run.” But that's usually followed by a comment about knees, time, endurance, or age. If you run, you can recite the litany of excuses. But often the excuses are rooted in fear. Let's face it, the thought of standing on a start line with dozens or hundreds or thousands of people in spandex, sporting impressive looking watches and wearing sunglasses that give the impression of being hip, not to mention the fitness level, can be daunting, threatening and downright intimidating. What everyone on the sidelines fails to realize is that every runner had to make the same leap from sidelines to start lines. And running is much like the African proverb “How do you eat an elephant?” One bite at a time. It’s the same with running. It's one step at a time. Often a very slow step. But you have to take that step.

Sure, you can sign up for a couch to 5k program, and those are incredibly successful. But some folks need the encouragement of a group. Check any source on this topic and you'll find that training with others improves confidence, motivation and goal achievement. To support those who need that community, there are two programs going on in the 518. The first is aimed at women. It's the venerable Freihofer's Training Challenge. This marks the 13th year for the training program, which provides support and instruction for all levels of “movers.” You don't have to be a veteran of the race. In fact, those new to the sport of running are enthusiastically encouraged to join. This is the second year for the walking and running tracks. That's right, you don't have to run, simply walk and build your stamina over the 11 week program. It's also an appropriate program for those who want to run/walk the 5k course. Registration is open through April 7th. The Freihofer's Run for Women takes place on June 3rd. It also provides training and mentorship for women (yes, I'm a mentor) who are experienced runners but want to take their performance to the next level. The cost is $55 for the in-person training and there are a host of training sites around the Capital Region. For those who can't commit to training at a specific time and place, there's a virtual training option and that fee is $40. No matter which version of the program you join, you get a 12 week membership at Capital District YMCA locations. For more information check out Training Challenge (

There's another training option that's just launched. Sponsored by Fleet Feet, it's called Moving with Purpose. It starts Monday, April 10 and runs through June 12.  This has been a long time dream of Fleet Feet owner Charles Woodruff. It's not enough to log 9 or 10 thousand steps a day, research tells us. We have to log 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous exercise to reap the full benefits of activity. While Moving with Purpose can ready you for the Freihofer's 5k or Firecracker 4 miler on July 4th in Saratoga, it will definitely serve to get you to that 150 minute a week goal. Dr. Kim Kilby is leading the training and yours truly is part of her team providing motivational and self care tools.  As I share with the clients I coach toward health and wellness at my practice at Capital Cardiology, don't look at this as EXERCISE. Recast it as moving to your best health. In short, Moving with Purpose. This program costs $100. Here's the link to learn more and to sign up:  Fitvil :: Moving With Purpose Walking Program.

So, who in your life has been talking a good game of getting going but needs that nudge to “put their money where their feet are?” Now there are two viable choices. Time to lace 'em up and join the fun. Your body will thank you. 

About Dr. Benita Zahn

BenitaBestLogo.jpgBenita is a certified Health and Wellness Coach working with clients at Capital Cardiology Associates. Benita spent more than 40 years as a health reporter and news anchor at WNYT in Albany, NY. She covered issues such as wellness, treatment breakthroughs, aging, nutrition, and the latest health care trends. Benita’s work has taken her around the world and across the USA. She continues to produce and host “Health Beat” a digital health interview program that posts every Monday and Thursday on and can be heard on the station’s podcast. Benita is a contributor to the weekly “Live Smart” page in the Times Union, the HMRRC Pacesetter and the new magazine 55+LIVING. Benita also created and co-hosts the podcast EVERYTHING THEATER.

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