Running is one of the easiest ways for you to stay fit and have fun this summer. If you practice running, you can keep up better in all kinds of sports. You can also run in local races sponsored by the Fredericksburg Area Runners Club.

Where can you run?
If your family has a treadmill, you can use that, rain or shine. If you don't have a treadmill, you can run outside with your mom or dad. Lots of local parks have trails you can take to make it more interesting. If you can't run with mom or dad, think about running in place-just don't pick a spot near the china cabinet or anything else that might fall and break! For the first few days run for five minutes, then for 10, then for 15 and so on until you can run for a very long time with no problems.

Warming up!
It's important to get your muscles ready before you run. If all you've been doing is sitting around, watching television or playing on the computer, your muscles are not ready to run, and it's possible to hurt yourself that way. You can do some easy stretches to help your body get ready to move.

Eat right!
You know junk foods such as chips, cookies, and sodas are not good for you. Your body needs more of these things: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein, such as you would get in meat, dairy or soy foods.

Sometimes it's good to drink a healthy breakfast before running. Grab some berries and a few other basics for an easy, healthy smoothie.

Striding Berry Smoothie

A handful of washed strawberries (caps and stems removed) or blueberries--slightly-thawed or fresh
A half a cup of vanilla yogurt
A cup of milk

If you like, you may swap out a banana, blueberries, or any kind of melon for the strawberries—or use soy milk and soy yogurt instead of the real deal. Put all the ingredients in a blender—getting a grown-up's help, if needed—and whirl away. If your strawberries are not very ripe, you may want to add just a little sugar.

Young runners can find inspiration for their journeys with these terrific books. Click on the titles to place reserves:

The Battle for St. Michaels by Emily Arnold McCully
This story for advanced beginning readers mixes history with legend. Nine-year-old Caroline Banner is a mighty fast runner who must use her speed and courage to help defend her Maryland town from the British in the War of 1812.

The Big Mile Race by Leonard Kessler
All the animals are getting ready for the big race in this classic beginning reader. Part of a series.

Running Girl: The Diary of Ebonee Rose by Sharon Bell Mathis
In her diary Ebonee Rose records her passion for running, her desire to be like the great African American women athletes who have come before her, and her preparations for the All-City Meet.

Running the Road to ABC by Reynold Ruffins
Haitian children run at dawn through the beautiful island countryside on their way to school where they can learn their ABC's. A picture book.

The Rainforest Race adapted by Laura Bergen
Dora the Explorer's cousin Diego races against the rainforest animals in this easy, beginning reader. Go, Diego, Go!

A World-Class Marathon Runner by Haydn Middleton
Read about the training, techniques, and skills that a world-class marathon runner uses to move ahead of the competition.