Our first Run Club was a success! We were nervous all day that the weather would force us to cancel, but we decided to just do it regardless. A little rain never hurt anyone.
The weather did deter some people, so our original count of about ten was brought down to four: Julia, Anna, Luisa and me.
Sara D. Roosevelt Park across the street from Plank was the perfect place for our Club. I’m glad it’ll be our home. The Rivington walking path was where we started. Walking quad stretches, hamstring stretches, high knees and jumping jacks were our starting active stretches. Just warm enough, we started our first lap around the park, a 0.5 mile loop. We ran two by two with Julia setting a Goldilocks pace (not too fast, not too slow, just right), and I could immediately see that my stride was faster than I thought. The damp evening made the park pretty deserted, so we practically owned the place. No dodging kids or homeless people.
With Loop #1 done, we went back to our Rivington walkway where we relayed. Julia and I started off with a sprint down the walkway then karaoke or grapevine side stepping back. We capped it off with static backwards lunges in place followed by some jumping jacks, then we on our way again for the second loop. Loop #2 ended with some side stepping and shuffling, then we were back onto our Loop #3. We went the opposite way around the park this time and picked up the pace going around the last bend. A little cool down along the walk way settled our pace and our muscles, and we headed back to Plank. With the loop running and the relay drills in between we ran about 2 miles!
The four of us decided that the Run Club is wonderful. In thirty minutes we had successfully completed a fun cardio work out. I felt pushed by the group dynamic, engaged by the park and the conversations, distracted from all the work I was doing by the constant change of pace and inspired by the fun way to raise money for charity. I wish I had learned how to run like this.
Here’s what I learned from Julia in those 30 minutes:
- Don’t over stretch before you run. Your muscles will warm up just from doing the activity.
- With your running stride, keep the weight mostly pressing off of your toes.
- Keep the arms at a casual 90 degree bend.
- If you ever get a cramp, try to shorten your stride to work through it.
- With your breathing, have your exhale mimic the action of blowing out a candle. (Don’t think 50th birthday cake candles, but more a single flame at the dinner table type thing.)
- Push yourself at the end of your run. Don’t feel like you need to sprint, but definitely pick up the pace.
- You don’t necessarily have to cool down after a run. It just feels nice to settle into your muscles.
- You don’t necessarily have to stretch after a run. As long as you make stretching a part of your weekly work out routine, then you’re fine.
What I learned about myself as a runner:
- My pace is faster than I thought. I can cool it sometimes, and my endurance will probably increase.
- I liked running in a park a lot more than on city streets. There are healthy distractions (unlike dodging oncoming traffic) and pretty floral smells.
- I like running with people. I’m not sure I would do it all the time, since it’s nice to have running as an activity that’s solely for myself. I did really enjoy the social aspect of it though!
- My dancing skills make me a fast and furious grapevine-r.
- I’m already anxiously awaiting the next one!!
We loved it so much that our next Run Club session is Tuesday, May 1st at 6:10pm! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to join us!
Very happy running,
The Run Around Girl