Program trains students for first 5K

If you’ve ever been interested in running a 5K or living a healthier lifestyle, but have shied away from gyms or more advanced programs, The University of Southern Mississippi Student Health Services has a solution for you.

The solution is the seventh annual ‘My First 5K’ which is an eight week training program that introduces beginners to running and exercise without fear or intimidation.

The program provides training up to three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Trainers not only teach the proper way to reach the goal of running in a 5K race, they also provide much needed motivation.  Following an eight week training period, participants will have acquired the necessary skills to compete in the 5K run which will be hosted on the USM campus on Nov. 2 at 8 a.m.

Jodi Ryder, USM’s Health Educator, and the Student Health Services began ‘My First 5K’ seven years ago in an effort to promote a healthier lifestyle on campus.

“We wanted to provide a program, another outlet, another resource on our campus to get people involved in a healthy lifestyle,” Ryder said.

Katie Sheridan, Ryder’s graduate assistant, is one of the trainers in the program and she believes that the ‘My First 5K’ is a great way to start towards a healthy lifestyle.

“It’s somewhere to start for people who necessarily don’t run or don’t feel healthy. This is a baby step,” added Sheridan.

Jodi Ryder, USM’s Health Educator, recognizes that the University should offer a healthy lifestyle both for mind and body and that many of us fear that we are in worse shape than others. This fear and other poor choices, such as inactivity due to long hours in the library or the extra-large, extra whipped cream coffee lead to further inactivity and even unhealthier choices.

Sheridan also believes that the program is great way for students to meet other students.  “They can meet other people who are in the same position they are in.”

“In a training program, everyone feels the same way as you and is working towards goals just like you,” said Sarah Hughes, a sophomore accounting major and avid 5K runner.

“Whether you can only run for a minute or only walk for five, no goal is unreachable with patience, motivation and hard work … the feeling of crashing the end line for the first time is incredibly rewarding, addictive and incomparable,” Hughes said.

Registration for the ‘My First 5K’ training program is on Thurs., Sept. 5 at the Payne Center Atrium from 4 – 6 p.m. and costs $20. Training begins on Sept. 10.