It’s fall and races are in full swing! Whether you’re running a 5k, 10k or your first marathon, it’s exciting accomplishment and we wish you the best, in both race time and remaining injury-free! We treat runners at all different levels at our downtown Chicago and Elmhurst locations and know a lot about the issues that new and long-time runners face. Here are some of our pros and cons about running, from Kevin Cronin, owner of ARC Physical Therapy.
Pro: Running a marathon requires a training program that needs to start well in advance of the actual race. For a novice runner, that training program may be as long as six months prior, experienced runners may take as little as eight to 12 weeks. In any event, an extended training period like this will no doubt whip you into excellent physical condition by the time the race arrives.
Con: Because running a marathon requires a vigorous training regimen, it may not be for everyone. For example, individuals who possess flawless body symmetry, like those amazing Kenyan long distance runners, can run endlessly with very little abnormal strain to the bones and soft tissues (fascia) of the body. Someone with not so perfect symmetry, like a scoliosis or a leg length discrepancy, may experience significant myofascial pain due to the abnormal stresses the body endures as the miles pile up.
Pro: Completing a marathon is a singular achievement that not very many people can claim. About 1.1 million runners finish a marathon each year. It may seem like a large number, but not when you consider that it equates to approximately 0.01% of the total global population.
Con: Even though achieving goals in running can improve your confidence and motivate you in other aspects of your life, don’t risk damaging your body if running long distances is not for you. There are so, so many other valuable ways that you can contribute to your overall fitness that will enrich you as much, if not more. Also, if you’re not physically able to run the race, you can still get involved and support the runners or a non-profit, as so many races are for charitable causes. Volunteering for or otherwise supporting these charities, constructive involvement in social networks, investing in your education or own self-improvement, or even just making life better for someone you care about are all beneficial to our society and your overall wellbeing.
Note: If you do decide that running a marathon is for you, be sure to remain proactive during the training process. If something starts to bother you, go to a soft tissue specialist first, like a Fascial Counterstrain Professional (learn more about that here
) to help you correct the problem quickly and get you back on the road again.
If you have any ailment associated with running or marathon training, such as unusual or new pain, or want to get assessed before you start training, come see us! We also have experienced runners on our physical therapy staff who also know the rigors and challenges associated with running, so we’re very prepared to help you with your goals and your body’s overall comfort.