Park Program Offers Training for Beginner Runners

Porter-County-Parks-Couch-to-FootDuring the past two years, Porter County Parks and Recreation has offered a series of Couch to 5K programs designed to motivate and encourage people who want to get in better shape.

This fall, Couch to Turkey Trot will be the latest installment in this program that has already helped many people achieve success. Beginner runners will have the chance to train for the Turkey Trot 5K with a group of like-minded people who are working to improve their fitness. The race takes place on Thursday, Nov. 22, the morning of Thanksgiving, in Valparaiso.

The team will meet every Thursday from Sept. 27 to Nov. 15 at 5:30 p.m. at Sunset Hill Farm County Park. The cost of the program is $50, and includes registration for the Turkey Trot and a T-shirt.

Porter County Parks and Recreation Wellness Coordinator Becky Kreiger will lead the group and offer personalized training programs to help each person accomplish their goals.

The eight-week program will build on incremental success. Participants will begin their training by walking for intervals of two minutes and running for intervals of 30 seconds. There are four walk/run workouts per week, two days of cross training, and one day off. As the program goes on, the run intervals will become longer, and the walking intervals will get shorter.

Participants will receive a packet that details daily workouts, Kreiger said, adding that she will send out weekly e-mails for motivation and will be available to answer all questions and address concerns throughout the training.

She said that she understood the apprehension that goes into trying something new and challenging, but said that this makes finishing a 5K even more rewarding.

Everyone is always nervous when trying something new,” she said. “I certainly was when I began running in 2009. However, the more you plug away at it, the more confidence you will gain. It takes guts to try something new, and doing something outside of your comfort zone takes courage.”

Kreiger explained that participants would begin to notice improvements to both their physical and mental well-being throughout Couch to Turkey Trot. She added that the running community in Northwest Indiana was very inviting and a place to meet new friends.

I know that through running, personally speaking, I have gained much more confidence in myself and what I am able to do,” Kreiger said. “And hopefully after completing the program, the participants will want to stick with being healthy. It doesn’t have to be running. It can be walking, aerobics, swimming, weight training, just doing things to make themselves healthier.”

For more information, or to register for the program, call the Porter County Parks and Recreation main office at 219-465-3586 or e-mail

About Porter County Parks and Recreation
The mission of the Porter County Parks and Recreation Board and Department is to preserve, protect and manage the natural, cultural and recreational resources within a diverse park system. For more information, call 219-465-3586, e-mail, or visit