First Time 5Ker?

Will the Special Z Games be your first 5K? 5K runs, or runs that are five kilometers (just over 3 miles), are very popular with beginner runners because the distance is long enough to be a physical challenge, but short enough as far as endurance running goes.

Since they are a great place to begin, 5K runs have been used as community events with a wide range of themes or to benefit different organizations. The Special Z Games race is hosted by PACES and is dedicated to bringing awareness to the post-apocalyptic terror our students with special needs face in school systems. Some 5Ks, like Special Z Games, have added elements to the run to make it more challenging.

If you are planning on running a 5K, whether it is your first or your 50th, it is important to do some training ahead of time. A training schedule for a complete beginner should include two to three sessions of 20 to 30 minutes of running each week, leaving time in between runs for your body to rest. As you feel stronger, you can increase the sessions or length of sessions. If you feel like you need to walk at first, that’s okay too! The focus should be on building up and working a little harder each time.

Every time you run, it is important to stretch and warm up to protect yourself from injuries, which can be very common among beginning runners. Your body needs a warning that you are about to exert energy. Stretching and a short, brisk walk will do just that.

Likewise, it is good to end a workout by cooling down. Instead of running for twenty minutes and completely stopping, slow to a jog for a few minutes after the run. This helps your body transition back into “normal” mode, catch up on oxygen, and gives you a chance to make sure you haven’t injured yourself.

If you are still feeling nervous about the Special Z Games after you have trained a little, relax. One of the amazing things about 5K races are their ability to bring together a community of people. The Special Z Games is about support, awareness, and incredible people doing kick ass things. Walking the race is allowed and any obstacles that are too challenging for runners can be skipped. Just do the best you can!

With a little training, you’ll be ready to take on the zombie hoard in no time. BRING IT!!!!!

Keeping Active All Week Long: Spotlight on a Healthy Lifestyle

Keeping active is a different challenge to different people. Some people are more successful at staying active when they schedule it into their day and go to a gym. Other people become anxious about these appointments and dread working out, ultimately avoiding exercise altogether.

But exercising doesn’t have to be a coordinated and intentional affair. Working regular activity into your day keeps you healthy without feeling boring or anxious. In this Spotlight on a Healthy Lifestyle, we will be profiling David Sholiton, co-founder of the Special Z Games.

David stays active with his family. His wife, daughter Marisa, and his two dogs help him meet his fitness goals. By exercising with the people (and pets) that he loves, David gets even more enjoyment out of having a healthy lifestyle.

“If I’m not feeling it that day, my dogs get me going,” David said, “They are so used to this run, they actually motivate me to take them out every day.”

David runs a 3 mile course daily with his two dogs, Chuck and Froggy. On Sundays, the whole family runs the course together, sometimes even with extended family. Running is a great way to get cardio exercise, the kind of exercise where your heart and lungs have to work hard as well. A good exercise routine will feature cardio for at least an hour, at least three times a week.

Playing tennis with his wife Martina is another of David’s active hobbies. They don’t play on a regular schedule, but they play at least once a week. Tennis is a high-energy cardio exercise that also strengthens upper body strength. Exercising with a spouse has the added benefit of reducing stress and increasing happiness in your partner, due to the flush of feel-good hormones that exercising releases.

“When I’m done exercising for the day I am always thinking clearer,” David said. “During the run or exercise, I come up with a lot of ideas for our companies. The exercise seems to help with creative thinking and helps release stress.”

David’s daughter also enjoys a healthy lifestyle. In addition to running the Sunday course with her parents, she plays volleyball and enjoys riding her bike.

Obstacle Unveiling: The Mud Pits

The Special Z Games will be hosted for the very first time in 2016. The course hasn’t been finalized yet, but we will be unrolling details regularly throughout the coming months. Our first obstacle to unveil is crucial to any so-called mud run: the thick and sticky mud in various patches along the course.

There will be a minimum of three mud pits at the Special Z Games. Runners will have to make their way through them, and possibly over obstacles at the same time. We don’t have the exact specifications on how deep the mud will be, but runners should be prepared for knee- to waist-deep mud.

Mud completely changes the running experience. Not only does it take much more force and energy to run through mud, but being covered with mud also poses a unique challenge to runners. Running through mud means exerting a lot more force to move through the substance, and that means that a little training might be in order.

You can incorporate different training techniques to help yourself prepare to face mud pits. Try taking a run through water to experience the power needed. Start with a light jog on the beach, working your way into ankle deep water. As you run, move deeper and deeper until you are running through waist deep water. Then, run back out to the beach again. This will help you get ready for the mud at the Special Z Games.

If you are able to find clean mud, taking the time to get used to the way mud feels on your skin (and how heavy your clothes can be) will help you feel prepared. This might be more difficult and dirty to pull off, but you don’t want to take the chance to be surprised and overwhelmed by new sensations.

If mud makes you nervous, remember that any obstacles can be easily bypassed. But we think a little training and motivation can help you over more obstacles than you know. The better trained and more motivated you are, the better you’ll do at our zombie run!

* Visit this page regularly to find training tips, event updates, and to learn more about each obstacle as they become announced.