By Geneve N. Mankel, Public Affairs Staff
Almost anyone can train to run in a 5K (3.1 miles) event, but there are
a few things people should do to ensure they are doing it safely,
effectively and efficiently, said Julie Pressler.
Pressler, a personal trainer at the Rumpel Fitness Center who has been a
runner most of her life, said the only thing needed to start running is
a good pair of running shoes and motivation.
Participants in the Wellness Fair
5K run begin the race near the fitness center.
(Photo by Liz Weaver)
Individuals who have or may have an underlying medical
condition should consult their doctor before starting a running
program, Pressler said.
“Start out easy, stick to flat paths or run on a treadmill with a
low incline,” Pressler said.
For someone who has no running experience, the three-week rule also
is a good idea, Pressler said. Stick to the same routine for about
three weeks before progressing.
For example, someone who has just begun a running routine or is
brand new to exercise can begin by walking for 30 minutes, at least
three days a week (on non-consecutive days) for about the first
three weeks. Running can then be gradually mixed in. For every two
to four minutes of walking, run for 15-60 seconds. Eventually there
will be more running and less walking until walking is completely
Whether a beginner or a seasoned runner, gradual increases in
distance and speed can help reduce burn out or injury, Pressler
said. But everyone is different, so it’s key to listen to your body.
Taking a slow and consistent approach worked for novice runner
Nicole Halverson, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and
Recreation (DFMWR) Outdoor Recreation administrative assistant.
Fort McCoy 5K events
Fort McCoy holds 5Ks and other
running events throughout the year.
Events held at Pine View Campground and Whitetail Ridge Ski Area
are open to the public; others are open only to the Fort McCoy
Walkers also are welcome to participate in the events.
Personnel can register at the Rumpel Fitness Center, building
1122; the campground office, building 8053, for events at Pine
View; or via the webtrac website at
For more information call the fitness center at 608-388-2290.
Prizes are awarded to first- and second-place finishers in each
The upcoming Fort
McCoy running event schedule is:
Thursday, June 14 – Army Birthday Commander’s 5K Run
Saturday, July 7 – Forever Free 5K at Pine View
Saturday, Aug. 25 – Mud Run at Pine View Campground
Wednesday, Sept. 12 – Road Kill 5K
Wednesday, Oct. 31 – Halloween Relay
Thursday, Dec. 20 – Frosty Foot Race
January 2013 – Snow Adventure Race at Whitetail Ridge Ski
February 2013 – Indoor Triathlon
“I’d never run three miles before,” she said. “I always
wanted to run and decided to start training for my first 5K event
earlier this year.”
With the help of Pressler, Halverson, who had participated in other
exercise activities, began training four days a week by running one mile
and gradually increasing the distance, Halverson said.
“We would run during lunch time,” Halverson said. “We started running on
the three-mile route and went just a little further each time. It’s also
good to take the same route so you can see your progress each time you
For Halverson, training for the events is a stress reliever. She said
she feels great and has more energy than ever.
Halverson completed her first 5K event in La Crosse in April and plans
to run more events at Fort McCoy.
Those who have prior running or exercise experience can reap benefits
from the 5K distance, said Misty Brown.
During her years in the Army, Brown helped dozens of Soldiers max the
run portion of the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) by having them run
Brown, now a contract specialist at the Mission and Installation
Contracting Command and an avid runner for more than 31 years, said she
tells runners to start out with a slow, two-mile jog, and then add a
mile or two every two weeks depending on how they feel.
“Every runner is different,” Brown said. “I think where most people go
wrong is when they start out, they start out running long and fast and
then, of course, quit because they are injured or it’s just too much.”
Brown started running track in middle school and cross country in high
school. She has since competed in the Army Ten-Miler eight times,
numerous half marathons, the Milwaukee Marathon, and the majority of 5K
runs offered at McCoy. Brown has placed first in several McCoy races in
her age/gender category, including the 2012 Wellness Fair 5K May 9.
Richard Mancl, 88th Regional Support Center support services specialist
and Army reservist, began running competitively two years ago.
“I used to hate running,” Mancl said. “But I needed to lose weight, and
bike riding wasn’t helping.”
As Mancl began running he saw his weight drop along with his running
time, and he became hooked on the sport.
“It’s important for people interested in running a 5K event to build a
cardio base first,” Mancl said. “They should give themselves about three
months to train to build endurance and lower-leg muscles.”
Runners with a good cardio base can incorporate interval training to
help increase speed for racing, he said.
Mancl said running 5Ks has helped improve his two-mile APFT time.
“I’ve completed my best two-mile time since I started running 5Ks,” he
said. “That distance helps raise your VO2 max (maximum amount of oxygen
used during intense or maximal exercise) and that can help with
increasing speed for two-mile runs.”
Mancl said runners should pay attention to their bodies; if anything
feels out of the ordinary they should stop, rest or seek medical
attention as necessary.
Along with the 2012 Wellness Fair 5K event, Mancl has competed in five
McCoy races, the Army Ten-Miler, several area races and a marathon.
Mancl has placed first in five of the McCoy races.
Mancl said he enjoys running in the 5K events at McCoy because the races
are convenient and the routes are well-planned.
The Fort McCoy DFMWR hosts monthly running events at Fort McCoy, said
Adam Hangartner DFMWR Outdoor Recreation Fitness/Program Manager
trainee, who also helps coordinate running events on post.
These events give installation personnel a fun alternative to physical
training or fitness routines, Hangartner said. People also like the
friendly competition fostered by the events and the camaraderie between
all who participate.
“The 5K events at Fort McCoy are good for beginners because they are
smaller and less intimidating,” Halverson said. “There are also people
throughout the course to give directions and provide motivation. The
terrain also is good for beginners.”
“The staff at Fort McCoy does a fabulous job organizing these running
events,” Brown said. “The routes are safe and they seem to genuinely
enjoy being there for us.”
Fort McCoy has multiple routes that personnel can use to train for a 5K
event, said Hangartner. A half-mile outdoor running track is available
at East Eaton Road and South O Street.
Marked one-, two-, three- and five-mile routes begin near the fitness
center, building 1122. Runner-friendly hiking trails are available at
Pine View Campground and are open to the public. Treadmills are
available at the fitness center and at the Community Activity Center,
building 2000, for authorized patrons.
For advice on beginning a running program, contact the fitness center at
608-388-2290 to talk with a personal trainer. The trainers are not
running coaches but can offer tips and pointers about running and
overall fitness programs.
Beginners who start a training routine now can be ready to run the Sept.
12 Road Kill 5K at Fort McCoy, Pressler said.
More information about starting a running regimen also can be found at
the American Council on Exercise website at