Have you noticed fall’s rolling tide of changing colors yet? Cooler temperatures, burning orange trees in the sky and crunchy leaves beneath my feet are all begging me to get moving outside.
Midwestern autumns do not last forever. The time to seize this season’s beauty with crisp autumn walks and runs is now. As the leaves change, so can your fitness routine. The tree-lined trails at Wheeler and Island parks are perfect places to take in fall’s beauty while getting back in shape.
In college, I took a marathon training class that began in the fall. The perfect September weather and scenery helped jump-start my eight-month training plan. Led by our professor, an Olympic marathoner, I completed the 26.2-mile race as my Marathon Training 262 final in the spring.
Whether you’re taking on marathons or simply getting moving again, here’s a few tips that helped me hit the pavement:
• Invest in the right shoes – everyone’s foot hits the ground differently. Getting fitted by a professional at a specialty running store can prevent injuries to keep you on track.
• Pace yourself and start slow – online training plans are easy to find and ensure you build intensity at appropriate intervals. Coolrunning.com, Runner’s World and Hal Higdon are great resources for training plans at any level.
• Run socially – talking with friends on runs and walks makes exercise enjoyable. Plus, you’re less likely to skip with someone counting on you.
• Fuel well – hydrating before and after workouts is important. Eating healthy whole grains, lean protein, veggies and fruit also will help you find energy.
• Use races as benchmarks – signing up for races keeps you accountable for your goals. Finishing races gives you a sense of accomplishment as you reach new personal records.
To celebrate this ideal running and walking season, the Geneva Park District will host its annual All-Terrain Twilight Harvest Hustle 5K on Sept. 28 at Peck Farm Park, 4038 Kaneville Road, Geneva.
The Harvest Hustle 5K is the perfect place to take on a challenge or simply walk on a picturesque September evening. Serious runners will enjoy challenging themselves up sloping hills and on four terrains: asphalt, grass, gravel and mulch. Runners and walkers of all ages will delight as the sun sets on rolling fields of wild grasses, up sloping hills and around serene Peck Lake before a post-race celebration.
At the party, runners will receive a complimentary Chick-fil-A sandwich and beverage, while having plenty of fun with family and friends until 8:30 p.m.
Pre-registration is $34 and ends Sept. 25. Registration is available in person at the Sunset Community Center, 710 Western Ave., Geneva; the Stephen D. Persinger Recreation Center, 3507 Kaneville Road, Geneva; by phone at 630-232-4542; or online at signmeup.com/93977. On-site registration and check-in begin at 5 p.m.
Dri-fit Harvest Hustle T-shirts are guaranteed to those who register by today. Remaining registrants can reserve shirts on a first-come, first-served basis.
For information, call 630-232-4542 or visit www.genevaparks.org.
• Natalie Seidel is the marketing coordinator for the Geneva Park District and can be reached at 630-232-4542. Email her at email@example.com.