Training: Running in La Crosse

Why are there so many runners in La Crosse? Do runners really like it? Why? Good questions those. Let’s try to answer them.

First, without question La Crosse is a great city in which to be a runner! Runners here are truly blessed to have well-maintained sidewalks, bike trails, more trails in the La Crosse River marsh, Hixon Forest, and Goose Island. La Crosse drivers are courteous to pedestrians and runners. The City snow plows do a commendable job of clearing streets of snow in winter, and the large majority of home owners and businesses are generally conscientious about keeping their walks shoveled. In the summer’s heat, the city’s residential streets and bike trails offer a goodly amount of shade, and water is readily available at the many public drinking fountains. And sweaty runners can walk into any Kwik Trip store to have a drink of cold water from a courtesy cup – try doing that in Manhattan or LA!

Second, after someone has begun running year round in Wisconsin he or she will discover pleasures that were unforeseen at the beginning. Runners experience the neighborhoods, houses, yards, and flower gardens throughout La Crosse more fully than people driving by. Fall and spring weather is usually almost ideal for running. And winter running, especially on a bright sunny day with little wind, really is much more pleasant than it probably seems to someone looking out the window. Summer is the most challenging season for runners everywhere, especially when the temperatures and the humidity are high, but fortunately La Crosse is far enough north that such days are not too frequent.

Third, La Crosse has an active and long-established running club, the River City Running Club. For most of us, doing the longer training runs required to prepare for a marathon or a half marathon welcome the opportunity to run with others of similar abilities and goals. As indicated on its website, the RCRC has regularly scheduled group runs on the weekends; runners at any level of ability are welcome to participate without becoming a member, and on those group runs advice on training and racing is readily dispensed (and may even prove useful).

Fourth, the short answer to the question, “Do runners really like running?” is definitely “Yes!” While it’s probably true that most people who start running do so to improve cardio-vascular fitness, to lose weight, or similar healthy goals, those who stay with a sensible regimen of running for even a couple of months often find that the mental benefits match or exceed the physical ones. Research has shown that running often bestows improved self confidence, a sense of accomplishment, and even helps control depression.

OK. You’re now convinced that you want to enter one of the running events of the Festival Foods La Crosse Fitness Festival. Great! Now go back and check out the training advice for the event of your choice.

One final point before you go: The famed Dr. George Sheehan, runner, philosopher, and writer, once said, “The difference between a jogger and a runner is a completed entry blank.” You’re on your way to becoming a runner!