Jennifer Kimball, along with many other interested women (and few good men) founded Girls on the Run Nashville in 2007. The program uses running to deliver life-changing experiential learning lessons about self-esteem, healthy living and positive relationships to 3rd-8th grade girls. Girls on the Run Nashville began with 15 girls, and expects to serve 220 girls in 2011. Jennifer’s passion, energy, determination and love for the girls and the program is truly contagious.
Q: I can barely run a quarter mile. How can I build up my stamina?
A: Run a quarter mile today and then add a little more distance each time you run. Find a friend to run with; running partners make running a lot more fun and keep you accountable. Take advantage of local running stores’ 5k training programs. Join the Nashville Striders! Volunteer at Girls on the Run practice sessions, and build up your stamina as the girls build up theirs!
Q: I’m afraid of high impact exercising but want to start running. How can I run while still being good to my joints?
A: Assuming there’s no medical reason for you to be worried about your joints, my best advice is to stay off cruel-to-the-knees concrete sidewalks. Treadmills are safe, but BORING unless you can make a game of them. The kindest surface of all is the earth: do yourself a huge favor and try cross country or trail running.
Q: Should I stretch before or after running? Or both?
A: Well, the jury’s still out on that one; even experts disagree. Most fans of stretching would say dynamic stretches are best before running, static stretches afterwards, but there are studies that show no benefits to either! In any case, everyone agrees that flexibility is a good thing, so why not incorporate stretching into your regular fitness routine? I like yoga and Pilates classes, and swimming is also a great way to cross train, actively recover and stretch. Try this side-stroke variation for a luscious IT band (runners’ are often tight) stretch the next time you’re in the pool: swim on your side, with your bottom/lower arm extended, palm on a kickboard. Bend your top/upper arm and rest that top/upper hand on your bottom/lower shoulder (making a “pillow” for your head and neck). Try this with and without fins (these are very different stretches), and try not to fall asleep! It’s very relaxing, but it’s also doing your body good!
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