Looking ahead to warmer days, many of us will be back on the trail for the first time. This might seem daunting at first, but not to worry. Muscle memory is a real thing. “Even after a long break, you’re going to be running more efficiently and wasting less energy than someone who is new to the sport,” says Adam Knight, Ph.D., assistant professor of biomechanics at Mississippi State University said in an interview with Runners World. “You can make the assumption you’ll get back in shape more quickly because of that.” Just take your time and make sure you're only gradually ramping your mileage back up. Overexertion can cause you to suffer many injuries like Runner's Knee or Shin Splints-- neither are fun. Since we still have a chunk of bitterly cold weeks left to get through- I strongly recommend sticking to the gym and getting your cardio minutes in. Spinning classes and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) are great ways to get your heart rate up and your muscles moving. Supplement that with some treadmill time, and you'll be ahead of the game by the time it's warm enough for your first outdoor run.
Many Chicagoland runners like to participate in the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K, which will be on Sunday, March 29th this year. This 8K event is designed to be laid-back and fun. It's also often referred to as the "Official Start of the Chicago Running Season" as there are very few races in the area sooner than this date. Many runners also don't even train for this race-- they simply go out and run it just for fun. I encourage you to take a look at the race website and consider participating. The course mimics much of the first few miles of the Chicago Marathon, as it winds through the Loop and South Loop neighborhoods before finishing in the same place it starts-- beautiful Grant Park. This race is a great way to reignite your racing bug and to set your sights on your summer and fall racing goals. Registration is $50 and will sell out, so make sure to register soon.