I’ve been running on a treadmill and an indoor track. How quickly and when should I convert to running outdoors?
It makes sense that training outside on the streets of Chicago better prepares you for running the Chicago Marathon. If you spent the winter months training inside, on a treadmill or track don’t worry. There is still plenty of time to adjust to the outdoors.
I suggest to my patients who started their programs indoors to gradually switch to the outdoors. Remember that more injuries occur on outdoor runs than indoors so be cautious as you make this change. Start by running outside once a week and maintaining your inside runs during the rest of the week. After approximately two weeks, spend half of your time indoors and half of your time outdoors. Within six weeks, you should be able to have successfully adjusted your running program to the streets and lakefront of Chicago.
If you still feel pain and are having trouble adjusting after your third or fourth outdoor run, it would be wise to consult a Medicine physician, physical therapist or athletic trainer for a gait analysis and evaluation. These professionals are trained to help you perform more safely while improving your program.
How should I adjust my runs during rainy weather?
It is fine to run in the rain and it could, in fact, rain on the day of the marathon. There is, of course, the obvious warning to take extra caution on slick surfaces and be well aware of traffic.
Should I start participating in spring runs? How many and what distance?
I strongly recommend that runners training for a marathon participate in several races throughout the spring and summer. These events assist runners mentally as well as physically. Five and ten K races help runners get a feel for participating in organized events and are a great gauge in monitoring your progress. Start with a shorter race, like the Shamrock Shuffle 8K or 5Karrot Fun Run held in March and continue to incorporate these races into your training program.