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How to get ready for the big event

Running is getting to be a messy affair, from mud runs to color runs to evading zombies.
Color runs, where runners are covered in colored powders throughout the 5K run, are popping up all over, including Charleston and Savannah.
Hilton Head Island has a run attached to just about every holiday and festival, from the Firecracker Run to the Shamrock Run to the Hog Jog to the Zombie Run.


“To put on a good race, it takes a lot,” said Mark Weisner, president of Bear Foot Sports. He’s been arranging races on Hilton Head and in Bluffton for more than 20 years.
“There are so many details,” he said. “If you miss one or two, you can really mess up a race. Rarely do you get a second chance.”
His punch list has about 100 items on it, from working with municipalities for permits and road closures to placing the water stations right where they will be needed.
“Every year we try to do it better,” he said. “We see a lot of the same people. They appreciate that we put on a good race."
For example, thanks to technology, runners’ results are posted online as soon as they cross the finish line.
“There are a lot more races than there used to be. There are more runners now than there used to be, but it’s cyclical,” Weisner said.
For a while, cross training drew people away from races, then triathlons were popular. There is a lot of competition for people’s time.
“Mud runs are popular, but our area isn’t very conducive to that,” Weisner said. “I don’t get into the trendy kind of things.”
Instead, he’s known for events that have become local standards: the Hilton Head Half Marathon, the Hilton Head Firecracker Run and the Bridge Run.
To make it to the finish line, runners should start training weeks in advance. Palmetto Running Company and the Wellness Institute in Bluffton have training programs to get you started.
Rachel Mullen, a physical therapist at the Wellness Institute, offers these tips.

DO:
1. Start out easy. Start with a walk/running program. For example, try walking for a minute and running for 30 seconds, then build up to longer periods of running. The Wellness Institute is planning a “couch to 5K” training program this spring or summer. Palmetto Running Company has training programs for runners of all levels and all races, from 5K to full marathons. The programs include two group runs per week, an individualized running program, injury prevention clinic and running mechanics advice.

2. Get the right gear. It's important to make sure you have the right shoes for your feet, the right socks for your toes and the right clothing for the weather conditions. Get professionally fitted at Palmetto Running Company.

3. Find a community. Some runners prefer to run alone, but others enjoy the camaraderie found in the running community. Free running clubs offer weekly group runs for runners of all levels. For example, Palmetto Running Club’s Saturday morning runs draw up to 100 runners.

DON'T:
1. Ignore those aches and pains. Anytime you begin a new exercise routine, you may experience some new aches and pains. Common injuries for runners include lower back pain, IT band syndrome, runner’s knee, shin splints and plantar fasciitis in your feet. If you experience persistent soreness that does not improve with rest and is aggravated by running (or you have had issues in the past that are preventing you from returning to running), have them checked out. The Wellness Institute offers free community screenings for runners.

2. Go too far and too fast. You can prevent injuries by gradually building up your distance and your time with a run/walk program. Give yourself plenty of time to train for events — up to eight to 12 weeks, depending on the distance. You may need longer if the distance is farther.

3. Don't give up. Starting a new exercise program of any kind can be challenging. Give your body and mind time to adjust to a new training schedule. But stay committed. It's well worth it.

Once you’re traveling the trails in your Brooks, keep in mind runners share the walking paths with walkers and bicyclists.
“Cyclists have the right of way. They’re going faster," said Rob Fyfe, owner of Palmetto Running Company.
For those running on or near roads, run facing traffic so you can see cars coming.
Fyfe does have a request of drivers. “Drivers can be more courteous here. Don’t beep your horn and scare us.”
The zombies are bad enough.

Sources: Rachel Mullen  •  http://newriverwellnessinstitute.com/


2015 Race Schedule

Feb. 7 HH Marathon, Half & 5K
March 8 Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon
March 14 HH Shamrock Run (5K)
March 28 Leo's Legacy 5K
April 11 Mitchellville Freedom Run 5K
April 28 Super Hero 5K, Port Royal
May 2 Taste of Beaufort 5K
July 4 HH Firecracker Run (5K)
Aug. 8 Bobcat Scorcher 5K
Sept. 12 Run for the Brave 5K
Sept. 19 Tiger Bass 5K/12K
Oct. 10 Beaufort Shrimp Festival 5K
Oct. 10 Red Cedar Foxes Trot 5K
Oct. 17 Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival 5K
Oct. (TBA) Bluffton Zombie Run
Nov. (TBA) HH Bridge Run
Nov. 26 Hilton Head Turkey Trot 5K
Nov. 26 Bluffton Turkey Trot 5K
Dec. (TBA) HH Jingle Run