What are some easy running routines that people can use to ease back into running?
Toni: The best plan that new runners can follow is the Couch to 5K program. It’s 9 weeks, and it takes you from being a couch potato to running a 5k, which is over 3 miles. Using an interval program, you build up your endurance.
What’s some good gear for ladies to buy to start running and getting back into shape?
Ashley: We always recommend that people get fitted for running shoes, because the easiest way to get injured is to go out and run in shoes not made for running or that are not appropriate for your stride. You also need a good sports bra.
Toni: Those are the two big things. And from there, as women commit to the sport, women should start investing in the proper materials. You should never wear cotton when running.
What are some of the misconceptions with African American female runners?
Toni: From my experience, one of the biggest misconceptions is that you have to look a certain way or be a certain size. The awesome thing about running is that someone bigger or older can have a faster pace. You can’t categorize people with running. One of challenges is convincing women that they can begin to run if they are willing to put in the work and train for it.
Ashley: I agree with Toni. Once people decide that they are a runner, then they are a runner, regardless of what you see people who run marathons look like or what is portrayed on television.
It’s still small percentage of African American runners. Why is that the case?
Ashley: We are slowly encouraging more African Americans to begin participating in running, but I think running is limited amongst African Americans because of culture reasons, due to lack of exposure and lack of information about the sport. I wasn’t exposed to long distance running because my family exposed me to the more traditional sports. It’s also due to lack of understanding of how and why you should run. Most people are used to running after a ball, not just running for sport, and I think that’s the reason why there isn’t a lot of African Americans involved in running today.
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