Updated: Jul 30, 2019
Running is an essential part of getting in shape for canoe season. Whatever the distance, type or style of running, getting blood in the legs will only benefit. Running keeps us in shape during the season, as many races include portaging. Too much focus on the upper body and not enough on the lower half can also create muscular imbalances that encourage the risk of injury. Common paddling injuries like lower back, butt and hamstring tightness can be eliminated by incorporating running, box jumps, squatting, and deadlifts into your training regime.
This weekend I will be participating in my first running competition of the year, the Joker Run 5k in Unadilla, NY. This race has an interesting format, in addition to trying to win you also get to collect joker cards along the way, and the finisher with the most cards wins a prize. Costumes are also strongly encouraged. While not a long distance, the pace will be fast as there is good local talent. It is very important to not overdo the milage early in the season, as impact injuries can easily happen. I have been mostly running indoors on a treadmill, so being outside will be a little different.
I don't consider myself a runner by any means, so a 5k time under 20 minutes is a good fitness benchmark for my buildup to the main goal of the spring, the General Clinton Canoe Regatta. Last year my time at this race was just a little under 20 minutes, and I went on to finish on the podium at the Clinton. The timing of this race is also excellent as the first canoe race of the season is the following weekend in Athol, MA. Testing and pushing up the V02 max a week out is a good strategy to prepare for the upcoming high intensity effort.
The 5k starts at the Unadilla elementary school, and heads off east on state highway 7. It then makes a right over the green 357 bridge, past the Long River Inn, another right onto River Road for the long backstretch of the race, back across the river and then a quick zig-zag through the roads of town to finish in front of the Baptist church.
The best part of the race is awards, the sponsors are very generous and there is a lot of swag to be had. Last year my girlfriend Miranda and I won a sports bag, water bottle, candy, and gift cards. Proceeds of the race benefit the youth of Unadilla. If you are in the area, check it out!
Race and registration information. https://www.facebook.com/events/2253310174953734/