Spring is in the Air! After a harsh winter, spring has finally sprung and the official start to the Chicago running season has begun with the completion of the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle this past weekend. Were you out there among the thousands running on Sunday? Were you standing on the sidelines cheering on the runners thinking to yourself, “I want that to be me…” that CAN be you. Follow these basic tips to help you complete your first running road race.
- Sign up for your first road race – there are hundreds of running races in Chicago this spring and summer. If this is your first race, perhaps consider a 5K (typically the shortest distance at 3.1 miles). If you are a seasoned runner, challenge yourself by running in a distance that is new to you. Things to consider: big race vs. small race, distance from your home, cost of race, race amenities, reviews of race posted online and of course the swag bag!
- Get a group or running buddy – motivation, accountability and commitment to your race increase significantly when you are running with a group or a running buddy. Check with your local running store to see if there are group runs that you can be involved in. Popular Chicagoland running stores include but are not limited to:
- Fleet Feet Sports
- Universal Sole
- Running Away Multisport
- Have a plan – for whatever race you have signed up for, have a plan or a schedule to follow. You can be as strict or lenient with this schedule depending on your goals and desired outcome for your race. You can find a detailed running plan for your desired race distance on the Internet or at your local running store. Consider a plan that includes a slow build up of mileage, cross training (cardio that is not running), stretching and of course rest! Popular endurance training groups that Athletico recommends are Chicago Endurance Sports, Max MultiSport, Team in Training or Coach Brendan.
- Listen to your Body– again whether you are a novice or experienced runner it is always important to listen to your body. Running injuries are typically classified as “overuse” injuries and are put into four categories.
- Type I: pain after activity only
- Type II: pain during and after activity but not limiting activity
- Type III: pain during activity that restricts activity
- Type IV: chronic pain and inhibits you performing activity
Common running injuries: IT band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, knee pain and Achilles tendonitis.
If you are experiencing any pain with your running whether it is type I or IV, it is highly recommended that you get your body screened for potential injury. Visit any Athletico location for a complimentary injury screen by one of the Endurance experts. During a complimentary injury screening, the physical therapist or athletic trainer will evaluate your injury and help you determine what your next step should be to help you get back to your training regimen.