While there is no national provider of running or walking programs specifically for beginners, many communities offer their own. Contact the following resources for programs or referrals in your area:
Some of our sponsors also offer walking and running groups that meet regularly throughout the week. It’s a great way to get your homework in and meet new workout buddies.
Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) http://www.rrca.org
Check this national association of grassroots running club chapters’ website for a list of clubs in your area. Then contact the clubs to see if they have any programs that help you start a walking or running program. And don’t let the word “run” in the title stop you from calling. Clubs often welcome walkers !!!
US Track & Field Association (USATF) http://www.usatf.org
This is the website for the national governing body for track & field, long-distance running, and race walking. Don’t let the words “track & field” in the title scare you. The clubs are independent and vary greatly. Some are more beginner-friendly than others.
Specialty Running Stores http://www.runnersworld.com
Local retailers who specialize in running and walking are usually familiar with resources for beginners in the area. In fact, some offer programs through their stores. But even if they don’t, these generally smaller stores are a wonderful resource for personal advice on shoe selection and injury prevention. Plus, if you encourage the owners to contact FIRST STRIDES®, we can help them start a program in your area. It will be great for their business—and a fabulous resource for you.
National Recreation & Parks Association http://www.nrpa.org
This association promotes public awareness and support for recreation, park, and leisure services. Check the list of affiliated state organizations on their website to determine if there are any community centers and recreation programs near you.
Yellow Pages www.yellowpages.com
Look for local community centers, health clubs, YMCA/YWCA, physical fitness facilities or specialty running store listings, and call to find out if they offer beginner’s programs or can refer you to one in your area.