Mini Marathon preparations start now

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We're roughly two months out from the nation's largest mini marathon. The One America 500 Festival Mini attracts nearly 35,000 entrants each year.

For many participants, this is the only race they will enter this year. Those in the fitness field say a few tips on #MiniMondays can help these novices have a better experience. The planning starts now.

That means being consistent with your training and slowly adding miles each week tops the advice list from the experts, and also using the right gear leading up to the race to avoid injury.

"You don't want to break in a new pair of shoes the day of. You want to know what you are getting into," said Justin Roeder, 27.

Jeff Frame, an expert biomechanist, says it's a common mistake. Rookies and long-time runners go to the shoe wall and pay more attention to the color of the shoe than to the support it offers - until there is pain.

"They know something is wrong. They just don't know what it is or the biomechanical root cause. They always focus on the symptom," said Frame.

For 35-year-old Danielle Stasiak, the issue was in her left foot, a painful plantar fasciitis.

"I would feel a lot of ache at the arch and sometimes my toes would just go numb. I would think - what is that happening?" said Stasiak.

For answers, she sought out a Personlized Movement Profile at Endurance House. The images revealed she was stretching and twisting her foot when she landed. After several tries she found shoes that stabilized her heel and an insole which minimized her movement. The gait improvement was immediate.

After shoes, the next tip is to avoid cotton baselayers like socks.

"You just don't want to get all that moisture and heat in that area then you have friction blisters, black toe nails everything like that," said Roeder.

Opt instead for fabrics that wick the sweat away so you can avoid runner's rash, something this former professional triathlete says is an unnecessary irritant.

"It can be the back of the knees, the thighs, the armpits, even the neck. A nice little rug burn that reminds you for the week while you sweat," said Roeder.

Danielle Stasiak is now suited up to recover. It means she is curbing running for now. She is staying active in Zumba class with better foot support. As far as the making mini? Maybe next year.

Watch this year's 500 Festival Parade and Mini Marathon on WTHR!