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Want to Start Running?

You'll be joining a growing crowd

(HealthDay) -- Faster might be better for some people when it comes to running. But more and more runners are opting for a kinder, gentler approach.

According to an article from The Washington Post, more runners than ever before are over age 40. Women are increasingly picking up the sport. They're entering races, getting coaching and joining clubs. But they're doing it on their terms and to meet their own goals -- whether it's to get fit or to finish a marathon.

"Running is becoming a fitness sport rather than a competitive sport," says Amby Burfoot, executive editor of Runner's World Magazine, whose circulation has risen steadily since it began publishing in 1966 and jumped 10 percent in the past two years, to 505,000. "It used to be that everyone wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Now more people are running for health and fitness, to control their weight and to reduce their stress."

One increasingly acceptable trend is that people are combining running and walking. Actually, folks always did this. It's just that, more people are now admitting to it. Even Burfoot, who won the 1968 Boston Marathon, says he walks sometimes instead of running all the time.

More than 8 million Americans run at least twice a week. People are increasingly running as part of a group, with runners clubs becoming more popular. And more "5K" -- 5 kilometer -- races are being sponsored, providing a good entry for those who want to be competitive but aren't ready for the rigors of a marathon. But even marathons are becoming more popular. Last year, 400,000 people finished marathons, up from 25,000 in 1976.

To find out more about how to get started as a runner, you can read this article from Runner's World. For tips on a more intensive workout, you can read this from

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