By now, most people have slowly ditched their New Year’s resolutions, with fitness goals being no exception. In fact, it seems as though every year, like clockwork, the gym-goers dwindle and happy hour patrons start to peek their heads through the snow banks that line Chicago streets.
Who’s to blame them? It’s easy to get bored when you think the only options you have are running mindlessly on a treadmill or dedicating hours to fiddling around with weights in your local gym. But what if we went back to our roots, back to when we were kids and focused on play? There are so many fun ways to get fit and active throughout the year that go much further than just your typical big box gym.
Whether or not you conquer these fitness adventures alone or gather a group of friends together to get their sweat on, here are the top four fitness adventures of 2016 going on throughout the Chicagoland area.
If you love scenery, pounding the pavement, teamwork, and have a bit of a competitive streak, this is the race for you. From June 10-11 teams will embark on a 200-mile race from Madison, Wisconsin to Chicago. Runners travel with their teams in creatively-decorated vans and each person runs a leg of the race to cover the total distance. Part race, part active vacation, this route promises beautiful scenery ending with views of Lake Michigan as you approach the finish line. Fuel with the cheese curds in Wisconsin’s capital and celebrate at the end with some deep dish pizza in homage to our beautiful city. Because what else will you be craving after 200 miles?
Nestled 90 minutes outside of Chicago, Rockford is home to the notorious Tough Mudder. While you’ve probably heard of it, it may never have crossed your mind as something you’d be able to accomplish. But 2016 this is the year of strength and muscles, am I right? Test your will on May 21 by completing a 10-12 mile race full of with more than 20 obstacles. Create a team, defy the odds, and suffer together through challenging and exciting obstacles like mud crawling, ziplining, and climbing over walls (no that isn’t just done in the army). Get it done and then brag about it the rest of the year. Show off that strength!
If casual running followed by copious amounts of food and drinks is more your thing, this is your event. The Cinco de Miler will be held on May 7 and consists of five beautiful miles starting at Soldier Field and highlighting all that the Chicago lakefront has to offer. After you’ve logged the miles (surrounded by other runners dressed to the nines in costumes and Mexican wrestling masks) you’re met with a post-party full of beer, horchata, salsa and tamales. And that, my friends, sounds like the most perfect end to any fitness endeavor.
We all know that triathlons are a lot to take on – but if you want to get a taste for the competition, the training, and the fun of it all, the Chicago Triathlon on August 27 offers a SuperSprint option. Athletes start the event bright and early at 7am with a 0.23 mile swim at Foster Avenue Beach followed by the 6.5 mile bike ride along the lakefront. Participants end the excursion with a 1.5-mile run between Foster and Montrose Beach. Who knows, you just may get hooked and go for the full next year!