I’ve been an avid runner for a long time, but over the past year or so my passion for it has cooled a bit. After spending the better part of three years training for various races and devoting an inordinate portion of my Saturdays to long training runs, I hit a bit of a wall mentally and lost some of the fun.
A running group seemed like just the thing to get me back on track. Providence Running Company in Wayland Square recently began hosting a weekly run on Thursdays at 6pm and, Chase, the store manager, invited me to join.
Chase’s group runs are pretty casual affairs. He keeps the groups small, the pace and distance manageable, and fosters a relaxed, non-competitive atmosphere. A handful of folks turned up on the night I attended. A trainer from Fitness Together, a nearby personal training studio, started us off with a quick lunge routine to activate the muscles and get the legs warmed up.
After that, we divided into faster and slower groups. I sized up the faster group: Chase, a Road Runners Club of America certified coach who does ultra-marathons just for funsies; a former track competitor; and a Russian guy with the imposing build of the villain in an ‘80s sports movie. I knew I was at least capable of their intended pace, if not currently training at it, and I decided to try to keep up with this fleet-footed group.
We set off through Wayland Square to the start of the Blackstone Boulevard path, ran it to the end and back for a little over four miles. It was a vigorous run, but Chase never pushed us to the point that it stifled conversation – he even dialed us back a little when we found ourselves ahead of pace. The company of other seasoned runners kept me running faster and stronger than I might have on my own. A good time was had by all and I had the opportunity to talk a little shop with Chase after:
What advice do you have for a lapsed runner?
Mix up your routine. Each week should include some easy runs, some speed work and a long run. You’ll also want to increase your distance during these training blocks. It’s important to strike the right balance between intensity and volume (miles). Simultaneously increasing volume and intensity is a recipe for injury.
Make your easy days easy. It’s tempting to hit the road hard, but recovery is an imperative when looking to improve. An easy pace should be considerably slower than your other paces.
Finally, run on trails. It can be invigorating. Trails also tend to have hills, which are great for incorporating strength and intensity in a run.
Are you training for anything?
I have a habit of biting off more than I can chew, so I’m to trying keep my racing schedule light. I’ve already entered the Rhode Island Six Hour Ultra, and I might jump in the Newport Marathon last minute. I’d like to finish the year with the 40-mile option of the TARC (Trail Animals Running Club) Fells Winter Ultra. My wife and I are expecting our first child (it’s a boy!), so it remains to be seen if what I’ve proposed is too ambitious.
Providence Running Company
195 Wayland Avenue