Spring is here! Time to get out of the gym, lace up your running shoes and and onto the lakefront. Chicago is an amazing city for beginning runners. The city is flat, breezy and the Lakefront Path offers miles of uninterrupted running with gorgeous skyline views. Walkers, joggers and runners alike can all enjoy a Sunday morning workout on the lakefront.
The best way to get pumped for running season is to sign up for a spring or summer race! Choose from hundreds of races in the city, everything from 5ks to marathons. Some are chip-timed and offer big prize money, some are “fun-runs,” designed to be walk-friendly, there are even races you can do with your dog!With so many races, how do you know which one is for you? Some important questions to ask before committing to a particular race: How much time would I have to commit to training? How competitive is this race? Does it support a particular cause or charity that I feel strongly about? Does it have an awesome post-race party and swag bag?
If you’ve never run a race before or want to try a walk-run event first, a 5k is the way to go. It’s just over three miles (3.1 miles) and the perfect distance for a beginner to build up. To train, try a “Couch to 5k” training plan or app that will have you building up your run intervals little by little, alternating running with walking. Check out the Bastille Day 5k and Block Party, for a great Lincoln Park neighborhood race with a huge post-race party!
A 8k (just about 5 miles), 5 miler or 10k (6.2 miles) is great if you’ve mastered the 5k and are ready to start building up your distance. Burn off a couple margaritas and check out the Cinco de Miler. Proceeds go to the 100 Club of Chicago, a great cause that supports the families of fallen Chicago Police and Firefighters. The race features a post-race party with free beer and churros at Montrose Beach!
15ks (9.3 miles), 10 milers and Half-Marathons (13.1 miles) are the perfect distance for experienced runners who are ready to challenge their endurance. Training is a MUST and you will feel like you’ve really accomplished a big feat when you complete one of these challenges. It’s recommended that you train for at least two months for a race of this length, so plan accordingly! Start your training today and you’ll be able to make it to the finish line for the Soldier Field 10 Mile, which is right on the 50 yard line!
The Marathon (26.2 miles) is the runner’s Everest. Recommended for advanced runners who are prepared to dedicate at least four months to training. Did you miss out on signing up for this year’s sold-out Chicago Marathon? You can still register through a charity team, if you’re willing to raise some big bucks for a good cause. You can also check out one of the other marathons popping up in the area like the Fox Valley Marathon in St. Charles, IL, which offers all the big race amenities, in an uncrowded, supportive, family-friendly race setting.
Whatever your running goals are for this spring and summer, we hope that you get outside and get moving as much as you can! Enjoy all the great running opportunities Chicago offers and stay fit and healthy in 2013.
Guest Blogger: Andriana Pachella