Did you make a New Year's resolution to exercise more? Here are some tips for now to get started.
News-Press "Go Coastal" section, Jan. 6, 2016
Either way, one good motivator can be participating in some kind of group exercise – perhaps a run or a ride. If so, you’ve picked a good time to try one out, as the calendar is full of running events and there are a number of rides in the future as well.
If you’ve never done a group event, it can be a little intimidating at first blush. But it’s really not that daunting if you remember a few essentials:
- Be realistic. If you’ve just started running, it’s not a good idea to tackle a half-marathon as your first event. If you’ve just started cycling, stick with the shorter distances offered at group rides and work your way up to the big mileage.
- Play by the rules. If the ride info says “helmets required,” don’t show up without one – or you won’t be able to participate. If the race starts at 7:30 a.m., don’t show up at 7:15 a.m. expecting to register and be race-ready in time. Event organizers are usually very explicit about the things that they feel are important for participants to know and do – so know that and do them!
- Be prepared. Have your equipment ready for the event, and be prepared to be self-sufficient (particularly when cycling) and not reliant on the kindness of strangers (even though you’ll likely get help if you need it). Know the course, the schedule and the pertinent details before you get there, even though most events will be well marked and well run.
- Watch and learn. If this is your first time, watch what other people are doing and learn from their experience (or their mistakes). Feel free to ask questions (within reason), and be flexible in both your attitude and approach.
- Thank a volunteer (or even be one yourself). These events would not be possible without enthusiasts willing to give their time and talent to make this all come together – so the least you can do is give them some gratitude.
If running is your thing, there’s some kind of event almost every weekend for the next two months. If you prefer to ride, you have the Tour de Cape on Jan. 17 and the Royal Palm Classic on March 13 – plus a host of Critical Mass rides if you’re looking for a more fun time. And if you both ride and run… well, be prepared to be busy.
Ken Gooderham writes this on behalf of BikeWalkLee a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County—streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at www.BikeWalkLee.org.
Ready to ride or run?
Run: A few 5Ks, of course, plus two half marathons – one off-road (River, Roots & Ruts at the Caloosahatchee Regional Park in Alva on Sunday) and one on-road (Naples Daily News Half Marathon a week later).
Ride: On Jan. 17, Tour de Cape offers distances from 15 to 100 miles roaming the wilds of Cape Coral. SW Florida Critical Mass has events down the road… in the Cape Jan. 29, plus a starter ride in Fort Myers on Jan. 30, followed by the first-Friday ride Feb. 5.
Both: It’s the HITS Naples Triathlon Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, with races of every distance from the very short Open to the very long full Ironman.
To keep people safe at night while biking, we’re working to provide free bike lights to those unable to afford them (but who have to ride at night). BikeWalkLee partners (such as including Pawnbroker Marketing and Billy's Bikes) will be coordinating events during this campaign. Be sure to watch the BikeWalklee Facebook and Twitter pages for more #BeSeenLee event announcements and details.