When it comes to fitness, it's all about support and motivation. Without a goal and a support system, it makes it pretty tough to keep on going when the going gets tough.
And, as the weather gets cooler, we all want to be outside. So, we've scouted out some of the best local running groups " and events " to get you linked in to enjoying fitness outdoors.
"Accountability is No. 1," said Cat Isom, founder of Campus Running Tours in Norman. "By having a group that knows you'll be there, it keeps you motivated."
Over the past 20 years, the number of runners finishing a road race has nearly tripled, according to Running USA. About 75 percent of Americans run to stay healthy, and 62 percent run to relieve stress. To stay fit and on track, a running club could be your answer.
"Starting a running program isn't the hard part. It's sticking with it," said Isom. "You have to remember how you feel when you are done with a good workout to last long enough to make running a habit."
This is where others can help.
Campus Running Tours was born out of an idea to offer a unique tour experience for visiting potential graduate students at the University of Oklahoma. The organization began last month and holds a weekly group run open to all residents, prospective students and OU visitors.
"Our goal is to provide a social network for current students, faculty and staff with an interest in and motivation for running," said Isom. "It's exciting to help build and support a healthy community."
The Edmond Running Club, which has been around since the 1970s, holds monthly meetings with inspiring speakers, and organizes and volunteers at several running events throughout the area. The group meets Saturday mornings, and distances vary from 5 to 12 miles. To keep things fun, breakfast always follows the workout.
"I love getting to know other runners from all walks of life," said Tim Taft, club president, who recently finished his 13th marathon. "It's great to see people regularly in the Oklahoma City area that you've met at other races or events."
Speaking of events, local ones can be found almost every weekend this fall, from 5Ks and 1-mile fun runs benefitting Susan G. Komen to half-marathons and even a 24-hour road race on Oct. 23. No matter the goal, there is something for everyone.
The mission of the Oklahoma City Running Club, aka The Landrunners, is "to support health and fitness of all ages through recreational running." It does just that with marathon training groups, monthly meetings, weekly training runs and plenty of social activities year-round.
Recently, The Landrunners began fall marathon training and are seeing "record turnout "¦ averaging over 200 runners each weekend," said Chuck Mikkelson, club president. "It's great to see so many people choosing a healthy lifestyle."
For beginners, Taft recommends finding "a local runner you know and have them direct you to a running store they trust and purchase a great shoe. Don't be afraid to walk. Start off slow and begin running at a conversational pace. Then, pick a goal and find a friend to run with."
And, he said, it's simple to find a running group. Simply contact one and sign up. Fees range from $10 to $20 annually.
The metro area is an incredible place to run " from Lake Hefner and the South Grand Trail in Oklahoma City, the campus in Norman, and Mitch Park in Edmond, open space awaits to get your legs moving.
No more excuses! "Valerie Kramer Davis
Contact your local running club to get fit this fall.
The Landrunners (above)
Edmond Running Club
Campus Running Tours, Norman
Some of this year's fall running events:
Sept. 25: The Oklahoma Run to Defeat Diabetes 5K run and 1-mile fun run, okdiabetesrun.com
Oct. 2: Shape Up Oklahoma 5K run, montagefestivals.com
Oct. 9: Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K run and 1-mile run/walk, komencentralok.org
Oct. 25: Oklahoma Ultrarunning Championships six-hour, 12-hour, and 24-hour runs, 24thehardway.com
Oct. 30: OBNEA Halloween 5K and 10K run/walk, www.obnea.org/runHome.htm
Nov. 6: Race with the Stars 5K run, okcu.edu/racewiththestars
For more, visit active.com or runningintheusa.com. "VKD
top photo Landrunners training run. Photo/Rick Swyden.
bottom photo Landrunners in Green Bay.