No matter your ultimate running goals—some people want to run marathons, others are simply looking to burn more calories—something you may want to consider with a running program is participating in 5k races. (Don’t let the term “race” scare you off – it is perfectly acceptable to run these races solely for enjoyment.)
These races are great because A) there are so many of them during the year, B) 5k (3.1 miles) is a good distance for beginners and pros alike, and C) they often use proceeds to benefit worthy causes.
Some runners in Indianapolis want to push themselves a bit harder. These dedicated individuals run 10k races and both half and full marathons.
In the event you are an aspiring runner—or you already run and are trying to plan which races you want to participate in this year—here are some local ones to consider:
- 03/17/2018 28th Annual Shamrock Run & Walk
- 03/24/2018 49th Sam Costa Half Marathon and 13th Sam Costa Quarter Marathon
- 03/31/2018 Easter Egg 5k & Adult Egg Hunt
- 04/07/2018 Notre Dame Holy Half Marathon
- 04/21/2018 Earth Day Indiana Recycle Run 5K & 1 Mile Walk
- 04/28/2018 Susan G Komen Race for the Cure
- 05/05/2018 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon
- 06/02/2018 Summer Night Trail Run
- 06/16/2018 Purple Stride 5k
- 07/04/2018 8th Annual Four for the Fourth
- 07/04/2018 CarmelFest Freedom Run
- 07/14/2018 Christmas in July Half Marathon & 5k
- 08/04/2018 You Can Call Me Al 5K
- 08/18/2018 DINO Trail Run - Southwestway Park
- 09/08/2018 Talk Walk Run
- 10/06/2018 Indy Half Marathon at Fort Ben (Note: we could open the front and back doors and then it would just be a quick job through the office!)
- 11/03/2018 CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, Half Marathon, 5k and Kids Fun Run
- 12/01/2018 10th Annual St. Nikolaus 5K / 5 Mile Run/Walk
- 12/24/2018 Rudolph Run
For a complete list of local (and some not-so-local) races, check out the Indy Runners Race Calendar.
If you are thinking about participating in any of our local 5k (or longer) races, it’s important to take the appropriate precautions to reduce your risk of injury:
Consult with medical professionals. Been a while since you were last physically active on a regular basis? Started your running program and now you have foot or ankle pain? Come see your go-to foot doc—and also your primary care provider—to make sure you’re in condition to start training!
We can assess your lower limbs and overall health before you start training. We will identify potential risks and determine preventative measures – like perhaps a pair of custom orthotics to reduce your risk of various foot and ankle problems.
Ease into it. If you are new to running, you may need to start with a walk/jog (or run) mix before you’re ready to jump into a full-fledged running program. Doing so enables your body to adjust to the additional stress you are going to be placing on it. Here’s a plan you may wish to follow:
In the first week, walk for four minutes and then jog for one (and repeat the pattern for however long you are planning).
In the second week, change the times to three minutes of walking and two minutes of jogging.
In the third week, walk two minutes for every three minutes of jogging.
In the fourth week, walk one minute for every four minutes of jogging.
In the fifth week, jog the entire time. Then, start to increase your speed a little (no more than 10%) every week thereafter.
Make sure you’re wearing proper running shoes. It is difficult to overstate the importance of this, but when you are logging lots of miles, you absolutely need proper footwear to prevent overuse injuries like stress fractures, Achilles tendinitis, and plantar fasciitis.
Don’t just order your footwear online! Actually go to a physical, “brick and mortar” store. Why? You can then make sure you buy shoes that fit like they are supposed to!
Additionally, going to a store like Blue Mile or Athletic Annex that caters to runners will let you to ask questions to a professional who knows about which shoes are best for which types of pronation patterns.
As we’ve mentioned before in our blog, don’t fall for the latest bells and whistles when it comes to running shoes. Remember, the most important feature of running shoes—one that is rarely promoted—is the heel counter. These plastic inserts are found in the back of the shoe and serve to reinforce the heel cup.
You won’t be able to actually see the heel counter, since it’s covered by material, but this feature locks the foot into proper position within the shoe – which reduces overpronation by controlling foot motion.
Finally, keep in mind that running shoes are an investment in your health. You will likely have to pay more than $100 for a decent pair, but the cost is worth it.
Warm up and stretch first. No matter whether you are training or racing, you need to prepare your body ahead of time. This means taking several minutes before a training session for dynamic stretches and exercises, and then 5 to 10 minutes of static stretching afterward.
(Not sure what we mean by “dynamic” and “static”? Well, static stretches are ones where you stretch and hold the position for about 30 seconds. With dynamic stretches, you move your body through a range of motion, focusing especially on the muscles you will use during the physical activity.)
Cross-train. You can ease some of the workload on your lower limbs by supplementing your training with cycling and swimming sessions. Additionally, you should start a weightlifting regimen to build up your muscles and improve your range-of-motion so your body will be strong enough to handle the additional force loads you place upon it during training.
Even better, cross-training works your body in different ways than just running does. This leads to better overall health and conditioning.
Plan your diet. You need healthy eating habits so your body has the fuel it needs to be in top shape and perform well. The best practice is to plan ahead. When you come back home following your run, you will likely be quite hungry. Avoid the temptation to binge a bag of chips by having prepared snacks consisting of a proper balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats.
Get plenty of rest. A big part of training is taking time to rest between workouts. If you work all day, go for a run, catch up on chores around the house, and then crash at bedtime every day, you’re basically asking for problems. Your body needs down time to repair cell damage and adapt to the new levels of activity (in the beginning). Need proof of the importance of rest? Kenyan runners—world-renowned for their marathon-running talents—are fans of taking naps!
Don’t push through pain. Long-distance running isn’t particularly comfortable no matter how you do it, but any sharp or chronic pain is a cause for concern and reason to contact us and request an appointment. Remember, early intervention is always the best practice for reducing the risk of serious problems.
We hope you can stay safe during your training or any race you participate in. If you do sustain any of the common lower limb injuries that can happen from running—stress fractures, heel pain, ankle sprains, etc.—give our Indianapolis office a call at (317) 545-0505 and we will be happy to help!