The Soleful Strutters smile for the camera after they finished the 2014 Hood to Coast relay. Photo by Bernie Foster.
Years of a sedentary lifestyle were taking a toll on Kim Lowry. Exercise always seemed to be the last priority in her busy life. But, after a visit to her doctor last year, she found out she was on the verge of becoming diabetic. At that moment, she knew she had to make a lifestyle change.
By chance, she ran across the Legacy Health Couch-to-Starlight 5k Training Program through a Facebook post. Lowry nabbed the last spot and spent the next 8 weeks preparing for her first 5k (3.1 mile) race.
Training will begin April 7 for the 2015 Legacy Health Starlight Run. Practice groups will meet once a week to participate in group workouts and learn how to run properly. Legacy offers meetings in five locations; Downtown Portland, West Portland, Tualatin, Troutdale and Vancouver, Washington.
The end goal is to run the 5k in the 37th annual Legacy Health Starlight Run on May 30. The run takes place on the Starlight Parade route during the Portland Rose Festival. The event also features a costume contest, and this years’ theme is “Good Times in the City!”
The Couch-to-Starlight 5k program takes its name from the Couch-to-5k running plan which is a method to transform a non-runner “couch potato” into someone who regularly completes 5k runs.
The original regimen involves interval training where the athlete runs a short distance and then walks a short distance. As training progresses and the runners get stronger, they run longer distances and walk less.
The Legacy program is open to those who have never run before, runners who are recovering from an injury and seasoned runners who want to improve their form. The group sessions will be accompanied by physical therapists that are there to give advice and motivation.
“I loved the trainers in the program,” Lowry said. “They would run with everyone and it made us feel like we were really a part of something – a part of the group.”
In addition to the professional help, the program connects beginning runners to other new runners in a safe and supportive environment.
Those who participate in the program will receive a professional training plan written by the physical therapists. There will also be informational sessions before each group workout where the therapists will go over:
Tips to strengthen your core
Proper running form
The cost of the program is $40 which includes registration in the Legacy Health Starlight Run and an official run T-shirt. These normally cost $30 -- Legacy is essentially offering eight coaching sessions for $10 total.
Lowry went from her first starlight run last year to competing in multiple races, including a 13.1 mile half marathon. She has dropped 80 pounds and has 20 more to go before reaching her goal weight. Lowry says she feels healthier than she has ever been.
She estimates that she has run 477 miles since she began training last year. Soon she will break her next goal, 500 miles of running. She attributes it to the Couch-to-Starlight program which gave her the tools and motivation to become a runner for life.
“It’s scary if you don’t know where or how to start. I was never a runner before this…in fact, I hated running,” said Lowry. “I didn’t think I could do it, but now I can. Anyone can really; it’s just getting off the couch and starting.”
Learn more about the Legacy Health Couch-to-Starlight Training Program.