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Get a jump start on FFM race

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By Tommie Kendall

I hear the same question every September. It never fails.

“The Friends For Michael 5K is this Saturday, what should I do for training?” I politely reply with a “run a few miles a couple of times this week and don’t go out too hard in the race.” But, deep down, what I want to say is “build a time machine and go back to 10 weeks ago to start training you dummy.”

So my advice to all those wanting to race the FFM on Sept. 26 is to start running now. Don’t put it off. You will thank me when race day finally arrives.

I usually write a story the week before the FFM race about the upcoming event, but this year thought it would be a better idea to write one a couple of months beforehand to hopefully motivate some not-so-motivated people into training a little earlier than the week before. After all, there are those that need a little kick in the butt to get going.

It’s nine and a half weeks away, perfect for enough time to get into shape while not burning out. Dust off your running shoes — or just buy a new pair is probably the better idea — and get out on the roads. An easy plan for beginners is to start easy with a mile a day, slowly build up to three to four miles per day, mix in some hill runs and sprints a few times, then back down the final week leading up to the race. On paper, at least, it sounds easy enough. The hardest part is that first step.

For the fast runners up front, there is a little more incentive to run fast than a winning time and trophy. For the second year in a row, FFM is part of the Kentucky USATF 5K Running Series, which has a prize purse of $800 per race and $2,850 total. The other two races included the West Louisville Appreciation 5K in July and the Black Cat Chase 5K in Frankfort in October. To be eligible for prize money, runners must be members of the Kentucky Association of USATF prior to the race.

At FFM, the top overall male and female runners win $100 for first, $75 for second and $25 for third. Also, the top masters (40-and-over) win $75, $50 and $25. The overall series champions can add $100, $75 and $50 to their winnings. If a runner sweeps all three races, he or she can earn $550 for around 50 minutes of running. I’m no mathematician, but that’s around $640 per hour. Not too shabby.

As for the middle-of-the-pack runners or walkers who won’t see those top guys and girls much past the first left-hand turn on the course, this is a great chance to get a jump start on your training to close that gap. For those not shy about giving out your training secrets, send me an e-mail to keep me updated on your progress.

The FFM 3.1-mile road course starts in front of Henry County High School on Hwy. 55 and turns left on Hwy. 421. The turnaround point is just before the fair grounds, and the finish line is on the high school’s track.

Wherever you are in your training, try to turn it up a gear this week. Don’t be that person needing to build a time machine, asking what you can do to get ready for a race less than five days away.

Tommie Kendall can be reached at (502)845-2858 or sports@hclocal.com. Follow his Twitter account at www.twitter.com/hcsports.