I’m not an avid runner. In fact, I dislike running. I am an active person, but running has never been my favorite thing – it’s just boring.

However, after signing up for Mud Run 2012, I found that I could have so much fun running!

There are many 5K runs, including the Mud Run, and every single one has its own theme to challenge or excite you.

Preparing for the Runs:
Before you start running, there are few things you need to do prior to the run if you want that to keep up and accomplish your goal of completing the race. Some runs require great physique and some don’t. But for every run, there are basic tips you need to follow:

1. Drink water! It’s important to stay hydrated. Otherwise, you will faint in the middle of the course.

2. Wear a comfortable pair of sneakers. There is nothing worse than finishing a run with blisters on your feet.

3. Train early. If you have not yet started running on a continuous basis, start now so your body can get used to running and so you can start building your endurance for long-distance runs. Nike has a running club that meets every Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Grove. The club runs range from three to four miles. This club is a great way to help you start running and preparing for the obstacles that might require you to jump, slide or climb.

5. Get a good night sleep before the run so you have plenty of energy.

6. Find a running buddy or group of friends to join you in the race. It makes the runs more enjoyable, and everyone can push each other.

There are several tips and training schedules you can find online. IF-fit.com (http://if-fit.com/how-to-prepare-your-body-to-run-a-5-or-10k/) and Active.com (http://beta.active.com/running-5k/articles/what-to-do-before-your-5k?page=1) have great lists that offer ideas on how to prepare yourself.

Running 3.1 miles can seem daunting, but it’s important to remember to have fun. Some people have a specific goal in mind of finishing within a timeframe, and run to get into shape and adopt a healthier lifestyle. And there are some people, like me, who just want to have fun!

Which Run Should You Choose?
When choosing runs, be sure to research carefully and thoroughly so you know what to expect. Here are some of the fun runs to check out:

1. Run For Your Lives (http://www.runforyourlives.com) - This zombie-infested course will test your “survival skills” against the undead. Here’s how it works: each runner starts with flags, and then the runners will have to run through obstacles as the zombies try to take their flags. If you finish the course with a flag, you are considered a survivor. If all of your flags are gone, you did not survive. It’s a very high-energy run and perfect for those who love zombie shows like “The Walking Dead.”

2. Color Run (http://thecolorrun.com/los-angeles) - Here’s a run that is quite colorful, literally. In the Color Run, you run through different color zones and get splattered with colorful powders. This is a very light run and is for anyone, from walkers to runners. Just make sure you wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.

3. Neon Run (http://www.theneonrun.com) - This is another colorful run, but this time you’ll be running during nighttime. In the Neon Run, people dress up and run through different zones such as “glowing water” and laser lighting. Music will be playing throughout the run, and you’ll get splattered with neon water that glows under UV light. It’s like running through a concert!

4. That Dam Mud Run (http://thatdammudrun.com/) - The name says it all. This is a course that will definitely get you dirty! Dress to get muddy, and make sure you tighten your shoes or they can get lost in the mud (I almost lost both of my shoes). At the end of the course, you will walk through soapy bubbles before rinsing off in big buckets of water.

5. Spartan Run (http://www.spartanrace.com/) - For a more serious and challenging run, try the Spartan Run. This run will test your endurance, speed and strength. It’s a boot-camp style run that will have you running under barbed wires, pushing tires and rope climbing. There are more than 15 obstacles to get through – make sure you’re tough enough to handle it!

Remember that the best part of a run is at the end, when you get the great sense of accomplishment when you realize you just completed 3 miles! The themes are just fun distractions to get you going. Sign up for one and see how far you can go!