As a long-time competitive runner, I love getting new runners more involved in the community and their own health, so I prepared this guide on the best races in Kansas City and how to train for them. After years of running, here’s my personal expertise, experience and some advice to runners of all body types and fitness levels.
BEST RUNNING RACES IN KANSAS CITY
The following is list of running races from April through October in Kansas City that come to mind when I think of popular races around town. There’s loads more for sure, but these are some of the most widely known. Some dates have passed, but they’re great races to consider for next year.
April 8th: Brew to Brew 44 mile relay
April 14th: RTP half/5k
April 21st: Garmin Marathon half
April 29th: Trolley Run 4 mile run
May 12th: Heartland 39.9 Series – RTP half, Garmin half, Running with the Cows half (5 weeks, 3 races, 2 states)
June 1st: Hospital Hill Run 5k
June 2nd: Hospital Hill Run half
September 9th: Plaza 10K
September 23rd: Broadway Bridge Run half/10K
October 20th: KC Marathon/half/10K/5K
HOW TO TRAIN FOR RUNNING RACES IN KANSAS CITY
Whether you’re running for fun or competition, training will vary for everybody because every ”body” is not the same. There are loads of variables to consider when thinking about the proper training program for you. A few key notes of worth are: determining your ‘why’, knowing your current state of fitness and your fitness goals, nutrition knowledge and apparel.
Why do you want to run? I hated running. I grew up playing competitive Premier League soccer and we traveled all over the country. I could run for days during a match; but during practice, I hated it. It wasn’t until seven years ago I decided to give it a go off the field. My why was a girl. I needed a fitness avenue and running seemed like a great way to assimilate since she was a runner too. But the trick is to allow yourself to become vulnerable; don’t worry about what someone else may think of your why. Understanding the true reason of why you want something will give you a massive advantage in achieving your purpose.
Your current state of fitness and fitness goals are important because they give you a starting point. Whether you’re in decent condition or haven’t worked out in ages, beginning at the proper starting point will be massively beneficial. For someone just starting to run, going too fast too soon can be a recipe for disaster. Start off by walking and sprinkle in some running. Run as long as you can until you’re winded, then walk again letting your heart rate lower…and repeat. Set small goals at first. When I first began running (for fun), my goal was to run a mile without stopping. It took a few weeks of walking, running, walking, running until I was finally able to run a mile non-stop. That was huge for me! That small personal victory sparked excitement and my goals kept getting loftier and loftier. Another note of worth is tying in your physique goals with running. For instance, if you’re looking to increase body mass, you’ll want to focus on shorter distances for speed and power.
Fueling your body appropriately according to your goals is huge. Distance runners require more carbs than sprinters/ shorter distance runners because it’s your body’s main energy source. If speed and power is your goal, then you’ll need more protein to help build lean mass. Every body is different in how their system processes food, so you’ll have to play with your nutrition a bit and listen to how your body responds. Whole foods with ingredients you can pronounce are a safe bet. Avoid the highly processed stuff that’s typically in the center of the grocery store – stick with the outer perimeter. Think of your body like a luxury vehicle; BMW, Mercedes, Lamborghini; they all require premium gasoline in order to run properly and efficiently. If you don’t fuel your machine properly, it’s like putting sand in your car’s gas tank. No one wants a sluggish Lambo!
Fitness knowledge and apparel tie together because you need to know what works best for your goals. I’ve got two pair of shoes always; one for shorter distances where speed is the objective and one for longer distances where endurance is the objective. I prefer a more minimalist shoe on the shorter, speedier runs because of the airy, lightweight feel; and a more cushioned shoe for the long hauls. If you’re stumped on what to get, drop by a running-specific store. A lot of them will analyze your gait and suggest the best shoe for you and your desires. Also, ONLY use your running shoes for running. Don’t go to the mall in them, don’t go to the grocery in them, don’t go… you get my drift. Your running gait and walking gait are different in how (and where) the shoe receives impact. When it comes to clothes, moisture wicking clothing is a must! Cotton clothing retains moisture aka your sweat and becomes heavy, sabotaging your run.
If you have an injury or you just have some questions, contact me or one of my fellow Woodside trainers for assistance (I hear they’re pretty good).
After carefully considering all the above, it’s time to start training! Lace up your shoes, log some miles and remember to have fun! More useful tidbits to come.
Want more? Join fellow runners and myself this summer for Woodside’s Run Club every Saturday beginning May 5th with the Run Club Kick-Off Party. These coach-led runs will challenge you to build endurance, log some miles, and get in a great cardio workout, all while getting to know your Woodside community of runners.
Send us an email to let us know if you’re interested in joining… full details coming soon.