Barry Paschal is a Columbia County resident who serves as senior director of marketing and communications for Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA - He retired after 30 years in Augusta media, most recently as publisher as The Columbia County News-Times. Follow on Twitter @barrypaschal
Posted March 25, 2013 10:12 am

Starting to run? Start with your feet


Using any search engine and looking for something like "tips for beginning runners" will give you an overload of advice.


Much of it is similar, for good reason: Starting to run isn’t really rocket science. It’s like Stephen King’s advice to people who want to be writers: write.


So, if you want to run, run.


But: While just saying "run" is good advice for answering the question of, say, "What do I do if I’m chased by bears/zombies/bill collectors?" all the beginning-runner advice is really for beginners who want to not just start running, but continue to do so.


Pretty much all of the best advice starts in the same place: at your feet.


There are few things worse than trying to pick up any hobby, especially one involving fitness, with cheap equipment. Any beginning carpenter knows that inferior tools will produce inferior products; likewise, cheap, poorly fitted running shoes likely will make your first attempts at running less successful, and discourage you from continuing. The couches are full of fluffy people who decided running wasn’t for them purely because their crappy shoes made them miserable and gave them another excuse for quitting.


The best place to start and keep going, then, is by getting good running shoes.


And no, "good" doesn’t mean "expensive." But you really do get what you pay for. Your best bet is to visit an independent running store to get properly fitted with someone who knows what they’re doing.


Think about it: You wouldn’t expect a minimum-wage, part-time worker in a big-box store to give you valuable advice on buying tools, would you? It’s the same with running shoes. Buy your first pair from someone who can get you off to a good start.


Of course, once you put a few miles on them, you’ll learn more about the shoes and about yourself, and can shop around for the next pair if you’d like – although, if you develop a problem that needs correcting, you’re still better off going back to the specialty retailer than risking a faulty self-diagnosis.


The rest of the advice for beginning runners mostly is common sense, and widely available. But before you can try any of it, build a good foundation with good shoes.




If you’re ready to run, here are some of the upcoming races in the works:


• Registration closes Thursday, March 28 for the Amazing Grace 5K at the H. Odell Weeks Center in Aiken. Sign up at .


• Registration closes Friday, March 29 for the 2013 Tough Mudder Georgia in Wilkes County, set for April 6 and 7 (the weekend that starts Masters Week). Sign up at


• The annual Blue Clay 5K is Saturday, March 30 in Hammonds Ferry in North Augusta. Register at .


• The Rock N’ Glow 5K to benefit Golden Harvest Food Bank will be held May 4 at the H. Odell Weeks Center in Aiken. Sign up through May 2 at .


• The 2013 Marine Mud Challenge will be held May 11 at Fort Gordon. Register at




As always, let me know of any other future races you’d like to promote.




Let’s hit the road!