Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Bridge over Troubled Waters Those without Training for 15K Better off Walking

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Bridge over Troubled Waters Those without Training for 15K Better off Walking

Article excerpt

Hal Higdon has something to say to casual runners who decide they want to enter Saturday's Gate River Run without any specific training for the 15K event:

Try walking. Sign up for the 5K run/walk for charity and have a ball.

"Someone who comes in and just tries to do it, unless they're exceptionally talented, they may have a problem," said Higdon, a senior writer with Runner's World Magazine which provides training schedules for various races, including the River Run. "You'd probably say to them, 'There's also a 5K. Come back next year and train right.' "

Though it seems unusual that someone who hasn't specifically trained for the annual 9.3-mile race that crosses the Hart Bridge would attempt to run, that situation isn't uncommon, said River Run race director Doug Alred.

"Every year we ask the question on the entry forms, 'How many River Runs have you run?' " Alred said. "We were surprised that about 50 percent of the people were running it for the first or second time. We get a lot of new people.

"I think there's quite a bit of that. It's hard to tell who those people are until the race day."

Those people usually become evident once the race reaches its halfway point, Alred said. That's usually the point when some start to drop out, but some will push on until they hit the Hart Bridge at the Mile 8 marker.

"They're probably the ones who'll be looking at the upslope of the Hart Bridge and be saying, 'My God, what have I gotten myself into?' " Higdon said. "The temptation is to jump in and just do it [the River Run]. It can be very painful if not trained. If you're carefully trained, you'll zip over the Hart Bridge without a heart flurry."

Higdon's training schedule -- which he offers on his web site www.halhigdon.com -- recommends that anyone serious about running the River Run begin in early January. Under his schedule, a novice runner would be running 17 miles in the week before the River Run.

But if they're not training for the River Run, Alred advises approaching the race cautiously. …

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