Information systems professor Ellen Walk started running at age 56 and joined the Weinstein Center for Recreation and Wellness’ training team for the 2012 Monument Avenue 10K as soon as she could run a mile.
“I confess with the hills around UR, I had to walk on occasion,” Walk said, “but that was okay! We each could progress, improving at our own pace.”
The Weinstein Center will again run an eight-week training program for members who are preparing for Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K on March 29.
Personal trainer Jason Blake will lead team sessions Wednesdays and Saturdays from Feb. 5 until March 28. Blake will hold a meeting to discuss the structure of the training program in the Weinstein Center at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30.
Blake will provide team members with a spreadsheet that prescribes workouts for days when the group meets, as well as individual training days. He will give this plan to members before the first session to help them prepare.
“Before that race, I had never run more than 3 miles in a row,” said senior Cici Pandol, who participated on the training team last year. “I knew nothing about running long distance in general. The team environment gave me the courage to try longer distances.”
Pandol placed 46th in her age group last year. She has already signed up for the training team this spring.
Members complete a timed one-mile run during the first training session. Blake then sorts participants into the beginner- or advanced-level group. Both groups run portions of the same route, but the advanced group completes longer distances.
Here is a weekly example of workouts for the beginner group: 2-mile run Monday, rest Tuesday, 2-mile run Wednesday, cross-training Thursday, rest Friday, longer group run Saturday and light cross-training Sunday.
Students made up one-third of the training team last year, contributing to the highest student participation since the team began in 2010. The program coordinators intended to cap the group at 30 participants last year, but accepted 42 because many members were only able to come to one of the semi-weekly sessions.
Registration is still open, said Heather Sadowski, the Weinstein Center’s assistant director of wellness. Interested students need to pay the registration fee of $10 and bring their energy to the program, she said.
“Last year we had a couple of international students participate who had never run a race before,” Blake said. “It was good for them, because not only did they get the experience of the running, but they got to meet other students, faculty and staff members.”
Blake said he liked to watch team members’ progress from the program’s beginning to end, as well as from year to year. For example, Walk sliced nine minutes off of her time from the previous year.
She attributed her nine-minute drop between the 2012 and 2013 races to three factors: the confidence she gained by running the hills on campus, her continued running throughout the year and her husband, for pouring cold water on her head during the race.
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