Athletes

How does Achilles work?

Athletes are paired with a guide to develop individualized training plans, tailored specifically to each athlete’s unique physical capabilities and personal goals. The guide-athlete relationship is important for training and support on race day, and out of this relationship. trust and friendships are built as well.

Achilles CT is one of the 65 chapters of Achilles International, which is based in New York City. Achilles provides the opportunity for disabled athletes throughout the state to return to, or enter, mainstream athletic events.

Who can join Achilles CT?


Membership to Achilles is free and open to anyone with a disability, including but not limited to persons affected by: amputations, traumatic brain injuries, PTSD, autoimmune diseases, cancer, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, vision impairment, paraplegia, quadriplegia, stroke, and autism.

Do I need any experience?


No experience necessary!  Really!! Whether you are an accomplished athlete or just beginning, there is a place for you as an Achilles athlete. Our chapter participates in numerous races throughout the year with members walking, running, or handcycling their way to a personal best at each event.

How to Join Achilles CT


To become a member of Achilles International, email membership@achillesct.org or click here

We hope that you join us, either as an athlete or a guide, and help us to make the athletic dreams of some very special individuals a reality!


Community Partners

Here are some of our partner organizations for you to check out that offer great summer programs if you are interested in other adaptive sports:

Achilles International Kayak Program

Gaylord Sports Association (multiple adaptive sports programs throughout CT)

Leap of Faith Adaptive Skiing (Sandy Hook)

Burke Rehab (Westchester NY) Adaptive Sports

Tips for Achilles Athletes

First, we’d like to note that in Achilles parlance, running means many things. It means conventional running, of course. But it also refers to walking, wheeling, hopping, or swinging through on crutches. In other words, any form of locomotion that you use to move along the route.

What to wear

The most important item for runners is a good pair of running shoes. Special clothes aren’t necessary. Just wear loose, comfortable clothing that’s suitable to the weather. During group workouts or on race day, wear your Achilles t-shirt with pride!

Speed and pace

Remember, speed is not important. Some Achilles athletes move slowly, others very fast. Our goal is to help you build strength and confidence in your ability, and to have fun doing it. Don’t be concerned if you’re a novice runner, or out of shape. You will notice improvements quickly.

Avoiding injury

Avoiding injury while running or racing is critical, and it’s equally important to enjoy yourself while you run. Here are some tips to help you:

•Start with a good pair of running shoes to properly support your feet.

•Get socks specifically made for running. Cotton socks can chafe and lead to blisters.

•Race day is not the time to try out new shoes or new clothing.

•Use a lubricant, like Vasoline or Body Glide, to keep socks and clothing from rubbing and chafing.

•Do not compare yourself to others. Run for yourself, and set your own goals.

•Progress comes in fits and starts, but it comes. There will be some tough days, but there will also be great days. Focus on the great ones.

•Hydrate. Make sure you drink water throughout the day.

•To feel your best after a run, make sure you eat and drink in the hours immediately after your run.

•Do not run two hard days back-to-back.

•A package of frozen peas makes a great icepack for aches and pains.

•For races longer than 5k, start out slower than you think you should.

•It’s OK to take walk breaks. There is no shame in walking.

Training

One goal of each workout is to provide a meaningful aerobic experience. We want your heart rate to increase during exercise, which will improve the efficiency of your cardiovascular system. The result will be increased energy, sounder sleep, and a faster metabolism.

Before a workout or race, spend a few minutes warming up with a series of dynamic stretches to loosen tight muscles and get the blood flowing. When your muscles are relaxed, you’re less likely to encounter injuries or strains.

You are encouraged to participate at whatever level of running, walking, or rolling is comfortable and appropriate to your ability. Our goal is for you to build strength and endurance so that you can run at least 20 minutes without stopping.

We have experienced runners who serve as guides and will assist you and answer questions. We encourage you to work out more than once a week in order to build endurance and develop a comfortable running style. This may sound daunting at first, but you’ll soon find the rewards of time spent running with friends.

Racing

Participating in a race is a goal for many beginning athletes. In addition to the fun and excitement of the race experience, athletes experience a great sense of personal achievement.

To begin, choose a short race, such as a 5K (3.1 miles). Planning ahead is essential. Give yourself plenty of time to train, and set realistic goals. For some, this may mean finishing under a particular time. For many, completion is a sufficient goal. Many Achilles runners make the decision to run a marathon. This takes a much larger commitment of time and effort, but is extremely rewarding.

Nerves are common before a race. Even the best athletes suffer from them and second guess their ability to complete the race. Remember to start slow and wait until you’ve hit a comfortable stride before you pick up speed. The experience of participating in a race should be an enjoyable one, and the most valuable reward you’ll get for crossing the finish line is a sense of accomplishment and confidence!

New York City and Boston Marathons

Please note that in order to be eligible for guaranteed entry into the New York or Boston Marathons as an Achilles athlete, you must be an Achilles member for one year and participate as an active member of the Chapter.