There’s a big event coming up in Ottawa on May 16th. The Starved Rock Country Marathon will attract thousands of runners and supporters, and they’ll be lining the streets of Ottawa and the trail out to Starved Rock State Park. If you’re planning on participating in this event, now’s the time to start training.

Starved Rock Country Marathon

Because of the winter weather, training isn’t always going to be easy. Daylight is in short supply, and this means many people will be training in the dark. Here are some safety tips to help you get ready for the half or full marathon on May 16th:

* When running at night, use only those trails you are familiar with. Wear reflective clothing and attach lights to your body so drivers can see you. Before heading out, check the trail conditions. If it recently snowed or got warm enough to melt the snow, the trail might be icy. Purchase good running shoes and a pair of ice cleats to keep your feet under you on winter runs.

* Vary your workout. There are many training schedules online to help you prepare your body for the distance of a marathon. They recommend alternating your distances, speeds and altitudes, if possible, to help you build up the endurance and muscle strength you need.

* Give yourself a new workout. When you train for just one sport, you don’t necessarily work out every muscle in your body. So throw in a fun day of cross country skiing on the Starved Rock State Park or Matthiessen State Park trails systems. It will provide you with an enjoyable way of strengthening your endurance while you explore the beauty of Ottawa’s neighboring state parks.

* Dress for the weather. When working out, you’re going to get warm. You still need to protect your skin against wind chills, though, so most runners dress in layers. As you strip down during your run, however, you’ll need to find a way to carry your clothes or a place where you can leave them for pick up once you’re finished.

* Find an indoor alternative. When the weather is really awful, head to a gym for a safe workout inside. Ottawa has several fitness facilities you can join, all with workout equipment that will help you stay safe and warm while training.

The Starved Rock Country Marathon website also has training tips. Check it out atstarvedrockcountrymarathon.org

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