OKC’s Best Running Circuits
Whether you run for fun or race to challenge your personal record, Oklahoma City has you covered. Favorable terrain, agreeable weather most of the year, and a packed race calendar make OKC and the surrounding region a great place to hit the road or trail.
Running Events Galore
Just last weekend, for example, the Watermelon Run (5k and 10k events) took place at Jeff Davis Park in Rush Springs. Sure, at about an hour of drive time from downtown Oklahoma City ,that’s a bit of a hike, but throw in the festival entertainment (and a ton of free watermelon) and it’s more than worth the travel.
Plus, in the next couple of months or so, you might consider signing up for events such as:
- The American Cancer Society Run for Hope OKC: This fundraising event on August 25th will help raise money for the American Cancer Society and features a fun run, 5K, and 10K event.
- The Blacklight Run. This crazy, untimed 5K fun run takes place in Remington Park on September 8th, and features glowing powder stations (seriously) every kilometer. Plus, a portion of the proceeds go to support children’s cancer research.
- Speaking of childhood cancer research (notice a theme?), the Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer is September 22nd. Whether you walk or run, the distance is 5k.
- The OKC River Run. More serious runners might be eyeing this October 6th event at Wiley Post Park, which is USATF certified and includes 5K, 10K, and half marathon events.
Top Trails Abound
Of course, competing in timed races (or even covering yourself in glowing powder with thousands of strangers) isn’t necessarily the main goal for every runner. For many, the exercise, fresh air, and beautiful trail is more than enough reward.
We like the Lake Hefner Trail, which does get a fair amount of foot traffic but remains a great place to put in a decent-length run. The circuit is completely paved and relatively flat, with great views of the lake and wildlife and access to cool shops and restaurants.
Fair warning: the entire loop around the lake is a little more than nine miles, and on a windy day it can feel even longer. If you aren’t already prepared for a half marathon, you might regret running out of steam 5 miles away from your car in either direction!
The Lake Hefner trail links up with the Hefner-Overholser Trail along the west side of the lake, and stretches about 5 miles southwest to, you guessed it, Lake Overholser—not to mention the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge, which is itself a great place for a run or hike if you’re looking for something a little more rugged and unpaved.
But of course, the truth is that while it’s always fun to pick out a new trail and change the scenery a bit, there’s really no shortage of great options—your neighborhood, your local park, around your workplace. The most important thing is just getting out there and going!
Preventing Pain Is a Must
Of course, while we love running, as foot specialists we also see what it can do to feet and ankles—if you don’t take the right steps to protect them! As you might imagine, we see a lot of runners of all skill levels at our office. We love treating them for their sports injury, but we love helping them avoid the need for treatment even more!
A few basic rules you can follow to reduce your risk:
- Wear good running shoes. They don’t have to be ridiculously expensive, but they do need to be running shoes (as opposed to, say, walking or cross-training shoes) and they do need to fit your feet and gait style properly. They should also be in good shape: Running shoes tend to wear out their cushioning after around 300-500 miles of use.
- Increase your mileage slowly. The general recommendation is to spread out your running evenly over the week, and only increase your total mileage by 10-15 percent at most week over week. This allows your body (and especially your bones) to grow stronger and adapt to higher force loads.
- Don’t go overboard on impact exercise. So for starters, you probably shouldn’t be running more than 3-4 days per week at most. Building rest days into your calendar is important, since your body needs recovery time. That doesn’t mean you have to just sit around on those days, however. Hit the weights, go for a swim, and cross-train in activities that don’t put so much pressure on your feet and joints.
Don’t Ignore Pain—Treat It
Unfortunately, you may end up sore, or even in pain, despite your best efforts to avoid it. When this happens, you have three basic options:
- Keep running even though it hurts.
- Get your injury evaluated and treated.
It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that we strongly encourage option number three.
Quitting something you love and reducing your activity is never a good option unless you really have no other choice. And pretending that pain doesn’t exist is just about the best way available to turn a minor injury into a really, really bad one.
But if you seek help early, we can almost always help you get better quickly—and by using methods that are conservative and preventative, rather than surgical.
That might, for example, include extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT), which is a completely safe, non-invasive, and advanced therapy that is extremely popular among athletes and active people. ESWT serves as a sort of “kick start” for the body’s natural healing and repair processes, and when it’s combined with traditional treatments (rest, physical therapy, etc.), it can drastically reduce typical recovery times.
Or, we may recommend custom orthotics. These versatile tools are one of the best preventative options available for foot pain, particularly when gait abnormalities or structural foot flaws (flat feet, for example) are involved. We take precise measurements of your feet, then use them to construct shoe inserts that can give them exactly the support, cushioning, and stability they need for peak performance. Not only can they cut your injury risk, but they could very well help you run lower race times, too!
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, but the point is that we have a team of experts that work exclusively with feet and ankles, see runners every day, and offer the highest quality tools, techniques, and training to help you get better.
So go out and hit that trail or sign up for that half marathon with confidence! Just remember to protect your feet while training and give us a call if you have any problems. We’re here for you!
To schedule an appointment, please give us a call today at (405) 418-2676.
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