Coach's Corner

By Coach Dan Kittaka

Experiencing an injury that keeps you from running can be one of the most painful things you can experience as a runner. It is cruelly ironic that being unable to jog can be more painful than ripping a 400m repeat or toughing out a 20 mile long run. The silver lining is that an unplanned break from running can help you become a better runner and hopefully a better person, too. So as much as possible, keep an open mind as we walk through my guidance for dealing with injury. To be clear, this guide is not meant to replace medical advice, please consult a medical professional if you are experiencing physical pain.

Once you’ve received the proper medical advice, take some time to appreciate your pain and loss. The loss you’re experiencing would not be painful if you really didn’t care about running. You should appreciate and celebrate your passion for running. It is truly a privilege “to have loved and lost (temporarily).”

Next, accept that for the near future you won’t be running to allow your body to heal. Commit to your break from running with the same passion you’d apply to training for a goal race. Riding an emotional rollercoaster of “test” runs every week or three keeps reopening the wound of being unable to run, disrupts your body’s efforts to heal, and keeps you from focusing on the work you should be doing. It might take some time to come to a point of acceptance so be patient with yourself. Just because you aren’t running doesn’t mean you are no longer a runner. Respecting your body and allowing it to heal on its own schedule is a way to practice a deepening understanding of what it means to be a runner.

Shift the way you allocate your time and focus. View the freedom from the demands of running as an opportunity to apply your limited resources of time and focus towards other activities. Some of these other activities might be ancillary to your running. For example, you may spend time building a routine that includes physical therapy exercises to address the issues that led to your injury. You may also spend time maintaining muscular strength by lifting and aerobic fitness by performing some sort of alternative like swimming, biking, or deep water running.

Resist the temptation to dump the time and focus you spent running directly into these ancillary activities. Unless you’re training to make an Olympic team or podium, an unplanned break from running should be viewed as an opportunity to invest in other aspects of your life. Not only will your life be enriched, but this break from running and ancillary activities will allow you to return with greater focus and resolve. Just like in the midst of a repetition workout we include recovery breaks to allow for more focused faster running, breaks in training, planned or unplanned, are an opportunity to allow our bodies and minds to grow into the next level of focus and fitness.

In my running, when I experience an unplanned break, while it is frustrating, I celebrate my commitment to resting from running as the path of the runner. I shift my time and focus towards building relationships outside of running and my artistic pursuits of illustration and comics. As for ancillary activities, I do my best to address the root cause of the injury and spend a moderate amount of time on strength and flexibility work. When I return to running, may feel a bit out of shape, but I also feel a refreshing level of gratitude for each pain-free step. I hope you experience the same!

Team News

  • We’re looking for volunteers to help at the Chicago Marathon Expo. If interested & available Friday or Saturday, let Allie know!

  • Racing Indy Monumental HM or Marathon? Enter race weekend deets here

August Race Highlights

Updates to the DWR Top 10 Lists (Men / Women):

Women’s 10k:

  • Kristina Aubert - BTN B1G 10k - 35:36 (PR & 3rd place!)

  • Emma Grimes - BTN B1G 10k - 36:38 (PR!)

  • Jeannie Sullivan - BTN B1G 10k - 38:27 (AG champ!)

  • Michaela Spannaus - Beach to Beacon 10k - 38:37

Women’s 10M

  • Kristina Aubert - Crim 10M - 57:11 (debut & 2nd American!)

  • Sarah David - Crim 10M - 1:00:31

Women’s Mile

  • Sarah David - Nike Pop-Up Mile - 5:11

  • Amanda Porter - Nike Pop-Up Mile - 5:27

Men’s 10k:

  • Chris Robertson - BTN B1G 10k - 31:37 (PR & 3rd place!)

  • Brendan McDonnell - BTN B1G 10k - 31:52 (PR!)

  • Chris Porst - BTN B1G 10k - 33:08

  • Dan Kittaka - BTN B1G 10k - 34:28

Men’s 10M:

  • Damon King - Crim 10M - 52:11 (PR!)

Top Placings & Age Group Wins

  • Stacy Nigrelli - St. Barnabas 5k - 38:37 (AG champ!)

  • Chris Robertson - Beer Mile World Champs - 4:47 (2nd place!)

  • Jess Sokolowski - Balboa Park 8M - 58:02 (AG champ!)

  • Dan Stanton - BTN B1G 5k - 17:10 (2nd place!)

  • Jamie Hershfang - BTN B1G 5k - 18:57 (Champ!)

  • Curt Hansman - BTN B1G 10k - 56:49 (AG champ!)

  • Eric Cale - Old Plank Sunset HM - 1:18:13 (Champ!)

  • Kaitlyn Clark - Butterfly Dash 5k - 20:39 (Champ!)

  • Bri Rohne - Bluff Tuff 20M - 2:50:20 (Champ!)

  • Katie Dudek - 13.Wine HM - 1:37:06 (Champ!)

  • Jess Bird - Brooklyn Wildlife 24 Miler - 3:45:09 (2nd place!)

  • Julie Crutchfield - Tour de LaPorte HM - 1:31:14 (2nd place!)

  • Allison Koch - Fort2Base 11.5M - 1:24:43 (3rd place!)

Personal Bests

  • Sergio Moreno - Nike Pop-Up Mile - 4:52

  • Steve Spangler - Nike Pop-Up Mile - 5:08

  • Sascha Edge - Nike Pop-Up Mile - 5:25

  • Steve Spangler - BTN B1G 10k - 37:02

  • Sascha Edge - BTN B1G 10k - 38:23

  • Varun Praveen - BTN B1G 10k - 39:59

  • Katie Dudek - BTN B1G 10k - 42:57

  • Brett Joseph - BTN B1G 10k - 46:13

  • Melissa Urban - BTN B1G 10k - 1:03:06

  • Sergio Moreno - Strider HM - 1:19:44


Upcoming Events & Major Races

  • 9/8 - LR @ Chicago Recovery Room

  • 9/12 - Easy run & Fireside Chat

  • 9/14 - LR @ Waterfall Glen

  • 9/19 - Goose Island Pint Night (1800 W Fulton)

  • 9/21 - LR @ Busse Woods

  • 9/28 - LR @ Waterfall Glen

Check out the calendar (and add it to your own calendar!) here.

September Birthdays

  • 9/1 - Katie Dudek

  • 9/7 - Blake Renaud

  • 9/8 - Erica van Heerden

  • 9/10 - Valere Guertin

  • 9/11 - Jeannie Sullivan

  • 9/18 - Sam Greenwood

  • 9/19 - Kristina Aubert

  • 9/23 - Sarah David

  • 9/24 - Dan DeRosa

  • 9/25 - Dan Stanton & Emma Grimes

  • 9/27 - Anthony Molinaro

  • 9/28 - Lauren Zumbach

  • 9/29 - Jessica Bratko

  • 9/30 - Alex Nordin

Meet the Newest DWRunners!

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