Getting fit in 2018? Road runners want you to go the distance

With the dawn of 2018 and new fitness resolutions set, a pair of longtime road runners say British Columbians should consider distance running as a way to get in shape after the holidays.

Runners say distance races are a great way to meet New Year's fitness goals

Some of the more 40,000 registered runners in the 2016 Vancouver Sun Run. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

On your mark, get set, go.

With the dawn of 2018  and new fitness resolutions set, a pair of longtime road runners say British Columbians should consider distance running as a way to get in shape after the holidays.

And with more than 100 races of varying distances being held in B.C., there is a marathon-long list of events to choose from.

"The list goes on," Lions Gate Road Runners president Frank Stebner told The Early Edition guest host Michelle Eliot, rattling off the SeaWheeze, Times Colonist 10K and the BMO Vancouver Marathon, in addition to the big one: April's Sun Run with more than 40,000 participants.

Stebner is a long-distance runner who started with a dare to run the Manitoba Marathon in Winnipeg in 1979.

He only had six weeks to prepare but says he was hooked after that.

Listen to the full interview:

With 2018 about to begin and New Year’s resolutions for fitness being set, a pair of long-time road runners say British Columbians should consider distance running as a way to get in shape after the holidays. 6:47

How to stick with it

Club vice-president Margaret Buttner says if you're trying to get in shape, you don't have to take on an ordeal like a marathon your first time.

She says she prefers shorter events and logged about 20 five-to-eight-kilometre events in 2017.

"I'm not nearly as motivated by the challenge of doing a marathon as I am by getting out with my friends and enjoying myself," she said.

She says anyone who wants to hit the road but is intimidated should remember to start slowly.

A common practice is to run for one minute, then walk for four minutes and then repeat. Over time, she said the focus is to try to increase the time spent running and reduce the time spent walking.

"You're out here and some people are still at home having coffee," she said. "You're down on the seawall at eight o'clock in the morning ... But then you finish and you feel great."

Another great way to stick with the regimen and stay motivated is to run with friends, she said.

Stebner agrees anyone who wants to run a long race should start with shorter races and then work up to longer ones.

And Buttner adds there's no lack of choice across B.C.

"This is just a runner's paradise," she said.

You can find a full list of road-running events in B.C. at B.C. Athletics' website.

With files from CBC Radio One's The Early Edition