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Want to start 5Ks this year? Tips from nurses who run

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Jogging Stands Out as Best Exercise to Combat 'Obesity Genes'

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Nurses who work in the Atlanta metro area have constant reminders to take up running. Atlanta's own AJC Peachtree Road Race is the largest 10K in the world, and is even sponsored by some regional hospitals. The Atlanta Track Club is very active, hosting 30-plus events each year, and inclusive. And there are highly visible nurse-runner role models like critical care nurse Rita Pincumbe and bariatric nurse Nancy Juarez Sanchez. But moving from that awareness and inspiration to becoming a new runner can be a bit intimidating.

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If you have been inspired, don't let anything get in your way, according to Pincumbe, a "lifer" nurse currently working full time at the Gwinnett Medical Center-Duluth ICU. She credits her daily weekday runs with helping her survive a stress-filled career and the joys and hardships of extended family life. She highly recommends it for other nurses looking for exercise or a hobby.

Along with a "now's the time" attitude, Pincumbe and other running experts shared these tips for nurses who want to start running for fun (instead of just running themselves ragged):

Start slow. "Tell yourself you will go out three days a week," Pincumbe advised. "Get an app like Interval Run. You can set a timer to run for 15 seconds and then walk for 15 seconds or whatever you want to start with."

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Consider running meetups. The Atlanta Track Club offers a Run, Walk, Go! program that accommodates runners at every level and rotates to different neighborhoods from week to week. It features Eastside, Westside, Southside and Northside Atlanta BeltLine trails.

Find a buddy. "Getting a running partner helps give you someone to talk with, and there is safety in numbers," Pincumbe added. "I run every workday morning with a good friend of mine."

Do a race every now and then. "Be proud of being a consistent runner first and for finishing races second," noted the None to Run blog. If you aspire to run in this year's July 4 AJC Peachtree Road Race, you can prepare with the Atlanta Track Club's online in-training.

But long before such races, all you need to worry about is lacing up your shoes and getting out the door, None to Run added. "Even if it's for five minutes." And remember, as the blog explained, "the best time to run is whenever you can."

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