People sometimes ask why I run. As a sprinter in swimming and an outside back in soccer, swimming over 400 meters in a race was torture and running was always used as punishment or a necessary evil. However, after my sports career ended in college I became lost as an athlete. An identity I had since childhood was no longer there and I didn’t really know how to workout if there wasn’t something I was working toward. People kept encouraging me to start running, but I really struggled to pick it up. The challenge was less about the act of running itself, but figuring out how to pace, how to run without a goal in mind, or how to reframe my mindset around the fact that I was doing it “for fun.” However, slowly but surely, I got there.

Running became a means to explore new cities, get lost in the beauty of nature, and to reunite with friends in races across the country. I now use it as a stress release and act of self-care. I am even at the point where I have actual running goals! I want to run my first ultra and do a running event in every state. One of the coolest parts of my running journey was that as I became more involved with running myself, professionally it was becoming a consistent part of my life as well.

I started my physical therapy career in the Boston area, a great running community, similar to Chicago. I had the privilege to work with runners and triathletes at all levels. This deepened my appreciation for endurance athletes and the unique demands they have. The barrier to becoming an endurance athlete doesn’t have to be high, but can be complex in making sure the body meets the demands of the challenges placed on it. In the case of running, all you need are a pair of shoes, a safe place to perform, and then you choose the rest. You can walk, jog, run, sprint, or some combination of the three. You can go far distances or short. Races can be as fun (through obstacles, while chugging a beer, or in a Santa suit) or as competitive as you want. However, no matter what type of endurance athlete you are or what your “why” is for doing these events, there is always a community for you if you want there to be one. And that is pretty special.

We want to be a part of this community, your community. As physical therapists, performance coaches, and running instructors, we see ourselves as assistant coordinators of your movement experience. We have created a program that helps to evaluate, individualize, develop, and train your movement system to meet your goals! We will be offering:

  • Evaluation & Film Analysis
    • We will explore your training history, goals, strength, flexibility, structure, and movement patterns to learn what can aid your performance.
    • Evaluation includes filmed technique analysis for running or swimming, assessment of your energy zones, and more.
  • Race Plans
    • Individualized running race plans for 5K-Marathon distances.
  • Training and Recovery Programs
    • Ranging from performance and strength training to recovery sessions to promote balanced training.
  • Physical Therapy
    • One-on-one physical therapy to help you recover from injury and participate in your sport.
  • Events & Resources
    • Join Team PIM for races, seminars, and talks.
    • Discover our network of different movement experts including nutritionists, coaches, doctors, and more!

Running took me out of a confusing and challenging place. I now take that love with me to work and give back to a community that forever impacted my life. We are so excited to roll out this program to aid in the athletic pursuits of endurance athletes!! Please contact,, if you are interested in support for your movement journey! I can’t wait to hear about your “why.”


Author: Alex Uding, PT, DPT, PN1