For one mid-Michigan couple, training for a 5K together provided motivation to move during an extremely cold and snowy winter and even helped them make some new friends. Cruz and Shelly Martinez took part in the Blue Cross Winter Warm-Up, a group training experience that helps empower residents on a journey from a sedentary to active lifestyle. Program participants work toward a common goal of completing a celebratory 5K walk or run at Hawk Island in Lansing by the end of training.
Over the course of eight weeks, participants were able to train two times a week at nine locations across the state. Certified Good Form Running and Walking coaches from the Playmakers Fitness Foundation were on hand for support and those who took part also received weekly communications from Blue Cross with training and nutrition tips. For the Martinez family, participating in the program for the first time provided an exciting bonding experience. Cruz, a longtime runner, had no trouble easing into the routine whereas Shelly had to adjust to the regular workout schedule. They also had to contend with a training season strained by intense winter weather. “Not being able to get outside because it was so cold made us miss a few sessions,” Cruz said. “It kind of took away some of the possibilities of running outdoors. So, we ended up doing most of our running and walking inside.” Despite the limited outdoor opportunities for exercise, the training sessions helped get both adequately prepared for the race ahead.
“They included some cardio stations in the school,” Cruz said. “We would have to do jumping jacks at one station and then we would walk and go to the next. They really mixed it up with the categories and it made it fun.” When it came to the culminating race day, it went better than expected. After arriving early, Cruz and Shelly noted that the race itself was a fun and positive experience for both of them. “My goal was being able to just walk it,” Shelly said. “Prior to starting this program in January, I normally didn’t get out and walk a lot or exercise much. I just wanted to be able to walk the whole thing and I was able to do it.” Following the Winter Warm-Up, Cruz is continuing to train to participate in other races. One of the most beneficial aspects of their training experience with the Winter Warm-Up came with the new relationships they gained by participating. “We made friends with another couple and we’re actually going to go out together and grab dinner because we really like them,” Shelly said. The couple has committed to join the training program again next year, although they’re hopeful the winter season will be more kind. They could both do without another polar vortex slowing them down. “I was hoping within the last two to three weeks of the program – I wish I could have gone outside more,” Shelly said. “I wasn’t really able to – I only went out once myself and didn’t like the cold. So, next year I hope the weather will be nice enough to go outside more.” Like this blog? Here are some others we think you would enjoy:
- You Can Do It! The Easiest Way to Prepare for a 5K
- Five Steps to Run Your First 5K
- Going From the Couch to Completing My First 5K
Photo credit: MI Blues Perspectives