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Staff Writer

“Together Decatur” columnist, food and entertainment reporter for the Herald & Review.

5K Journey

Runners participate during a Learn to Run training program at Nelson Park and Lake Decatur. The beginning of the year marks the start of many New Year's resolutions. Follow the Herald & Review for tips and topics to keep the motivation throughout the year.

Clay Jackson, Herald & Review

DECATUR — As the new year starts with new goals and challenges, many put their health first as a worth resolution. They may join a gym, buy new equipment or clear the junk food from their cupboards.

This is a good start, as long — as they can stick with it.

According to a survey from, 73 percent of Americans give up their healthy habits before achieving their New Year’s resolution goals.

Walking or running can be a good way to start and stick with the program: Simply put one foot in front of the other.

Many runners say they choose the exercise because no special equipment is needed, other than a decent pair of running shoes. While the weather is not making it easy to be outside, inside venues are available, and local runners say any time is a good time to start.

Many will still run or walk outdoors, but they recommend venturing out wearing many layers of clothing along with stocking caps, gloves and proper shoes.

“Just don't be afraid to take your time,” said Decatur Running Club member Roberta Ryan Williams. “Walk, increase your walking pace.”

Central Illinois may be hit with bitterly cold temperatures, rain, sleet, ice and snow, but runners, walkers and those just wanting to exercise do have options.

For those wanting to go it alone, walking apps such as Couch 2 5k  or Map My Walk are available. Most are free and have built in motivators to keep you on track.

Many businesses, churches and schools offer opportunities for walking in a comfortable atmosphere. They may have long hallways or even a gym available for exercise.

Hickory Point Mall isn’t just for shoppers. Throughout the shopping center, signs are posted promoting a walking route. One lap is approximately 1 kilometer or about two-thirds of a mile.

The running community has opportunities to help. Free training programs are offered through a 10-week running program called Learn To Run. Members meet once a week beginning in April, giving support and advice along anyone's journey to healthier living.

Local athletic store Fleet Feet offers a fun run at 4 p.m. every Monday, which start from the store. Walkers or runners are outside during 1- or 3-mile routes. They don’t just run. Organizers use the weekly visits to encourage each other.

“You need to find that group that pushes you along the way,” said Heather Dodson, Fleet Feet store manager.

In the winter, the store also offers training events for a fee. Participants can test out the classes for free. Registration for other classes, 5K or marathons are available through Fleet Feet.

Health clubs often offer discount or trial memberships at the beginning of the year as well.

“Tour the facility and test it out,” said Decatur Indoor Sports Center member coordinator Melissa Rinchiuso.

She recommends those interested in getting healthy utilize health club facilities to find their interests and abilities. “People need to be kind to themselves,” Rinchiuso said.

Although she is a member of the Decatur Running Club and Learn to Run, Tracy Hewitt is not opposed to a gym membership.

“The way that I look at gear and gym memberships is that it is an investment in yourself,” she said. “You can surround yourself with the best people, equipment and gear, but you have to want the change for a healthier self.

"This community offers lots of fun and adventure if you're willing to step out of your comfort zone.”


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