True story (thumbs up). At the start of the New Year, I set out to get back into the group fitness scene after a long hiatus of mostly working out on my own and only occasionally attending classes at various studios. But alas, I was ready to jump back into a more structured fitness routine, make some friends at whatever studio, and at the same time, challenge myself with something new.
I was a proud and all-but-religious (not to offend anybody) Jazzercise-r for nearly 8 long years and it was my first immersion into group fitness. I loved it. The energy, the sweat, the seemingly effortlessness of working out because it was just that fun. Fun is a word that I think is often missing when we describe our exercise routine but is so important. Then, I started to play around with my overall day-to-day routine: working out in the morning or on my lunchbreak at work to free more time into my evenings, since I was now living alone and had a yard to mow and 2 dogs to get home to after work. Suddenly going to a 5pm class every night, driving there and then driving home didn’t fit into my schedule. (Oh and for a couple of those years I lived in BFE, so that drive was > 1.5 hours roundtrip.) Fast forward to leaving Jazzercise behind and searching for other fitness resources that I could refer to on my own time or studios that had lunchtime classes with no long-term commitment.
Why I love group fitness There’s a sense of community and built-in accountability that comes from being a member of a studio and showing up to workout with mostly the same people 2-3+ times per week. Bonus: It’s such a great way to meet new people and make friends because most of the women (or men) are people that you ALREADY have something in common with. And if you’re like me (which I’m usually not a competitive person at all), working out with other people instantly makes me workout harder. Seeing others slay, lift heavier, jump higher, etc. motivates me to do the same! We’re all here to get train and push our body a little further each time, right!?
Some of the group fitness classes I considered: Jazzercise (again), barre classes at a local studio, joining my local gym (LAC) for a variety of classes from yoga to kickboxing
The common denominator in them all: Working out on someone else’s schedule.
Whomp, whomp. I will say for the record, that there is nothing wrong with working out on someone else’s schedule. Let me repeat, I did it for MANY years. And I will probably continue to do it sporadically with classes, organized fitness events and runs. But, that is not what I was looking for this year. Maybe next year, but not now. So my quest continued. Out of the blue, I got a postcard in the mail for the annual Kentucky Derby Festival Mini/Marathon (KDF) and Louisville Triple Crown of Running. I found this very odd because I ran my last race nearly 4 years ago and I have moved 3 times since then. I laughed, made a remark to my boyfriend about it and tossed the postcard in the recycling.
3 weeks later, I’m sitting here and I’m happy to share that I have booked the race! To be specific, I have committed to the Papa Johns 10-Miler on March 23rd and the KDF Mini-Marathon on April 27th. Frustrated with my ability to settle on a new gym, I resorted to the one thing that has provided me with both the structure of a plan and flexibility to perform within the confines of my own schedule in the past — running. I researched a TON of races, races across the country, races held locally, races in the surrounding states. You guys, I was surprised at home many freaking races I found. So many good causes, so many locations from local to international and options for almost every month of the year. Below are some great resources for researching your next race:
- Vacation Races – These are all races that take place in National Parks, how cool is that? There are also running festivals and ultra marathons.
- Virtual Running Club – The VRC offers virtual options for completing your next race. They are also celebrating some National Parks with the centennial celebration of the Grand Canyon and Acadia!
- Active.com – One of the most popular resources for races across the country. The Filter options help you narrow down where, when and distance to find a race suited to what you are looking for specifically.
- Your local metro/city facebook page or website! If you live in Louisville or the Kentuckiana area, you can find races at KentuckyRuns.com or at the Waterfront’s Calendar.
I will be using Adrienne Herrenbruck’s Half Marathon plan as my training guide. It is a free 12-week plan that meets me perfectly where I am right now and will have me from 1-2 miles per week to “mini-marathon ready” in April! I know that there are a lot of 12 to 15 week plans out there, including apps, but I decided upon this one after comparing a few. Bonus: She is also using her plan right now to train for a half (you can follow on her IG stories) andddd she has her PhD in exercise physiology so it’s safe to say that she knows a thing or to about fitness.
Got any tips for a (sorta) newbie runner? Leave me a comment below if you have a run planned for this year 🙂 Have a great week! And for those of you running, happy training!