Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Women's Training Program Kickoff!

Yesterday was the kickoff of the 2014 Women's Training Program (WTP). I've heard amazing things about this program from Christina and have been looking forward to it for a couple of months. Another bright side to my passport-expiration vacation screw-up is that I am in town this week and didn't have to miss the first week of WTP.

The program is an 8-week program. We meet once a week for a guest speaker, followed by walking or running in your respective training group. The end of the program culminates in the Spring-into-Summer Women's Distance Festival 5k. Christina said it was such a great race last year that the coaches had to caution them that not all races are this amazing! I am already registered and looking forward to it.

The speaker schedule is amazing and I'm excited about the various topics. Margie Shapiro will be there next week - I learned so much from a talk she gave a couple of months ago and can't wait to soak up some more wisdom from her. This week Helen Russell from Metro Run and Walk shared information on fit and performance for shoes and bras. Fun facts I learned from Helen:

  • Each foot sweats 1/2 cup of fluid every day (yuck).
  • Feet elongate as we age so you need to have your foot measured regularly or you might be buying the wrong size shoes, which can lead to bunions, toenail problems, even plantar fasciitis (you know you are a runner when you can spell that without looking it up!).
  • Shoes are labeled with a "mm drop" - this refers to the height of the heel vs. the height of the forefoot. Traditional running shoes have a 12 mm drop. The Merrell Pace Gloves I used to run it have a 0 mm drop (e.g., barefoot shoes). The Saucony Guides I wear now have an 8 mm drop.
  • The "mm drop" doesn't tell you about cushioning, just the relative height of heel vs. forefoot. The Pace Glove has 4 mm of cushioning. Hoka shoes are designed with maximum cushioning; they were developed by ultra distance runners.
  • The first sports bra was invented by two women who sewed two jock straps together.
  • Seamless bras tend to run small and you should size up.
  • Look for a bra with modesty panels if you don't want headlights.
  • A bra with no encapsulation creates a uniboob.

For the running portion, we self-selected into one of four groups:

  • Walkers—all levels.
  • Run/Walkers—walk/run intervals of varying times (for example, Group A will start out walking 4 minutes, and running for 2 minutes, Group B will walk for 4 minutes and run for 1 minute and 30 seconds, or 1:30).
  • Beginner Runners—continuously run at or slower than an 11:30 minute mile pace.
  • Advanced Beginner Runners—continuously run at a pace between 11:30 minute and 10:00 minute mile.
I was on the fence trying to decide between BR and ABR. While it may seem I'm an advanced runner since I just finished a half marathon (!), I have a relatively slow pace. Continuously running at 11:30 or faster is challenging for me - it's a race pace for a shorter race, and certainly faster than my long-run training pace. So I made the conservative choice to stick with BR. I've learned that when I try to reach beyond my current training level I'm more likely to get injured. My friends Amy, Sally, Lynn, and Shawn are all in BR, too. Christina and Marian chose to go to ABR (and I can always switch if it seems appropriate).

We were going to run timed miles last night to get a baseline time, but when we went out to run the sky lit up with lightning. So we went back inside to have Q&A with our coaches, which was very informative. Here are five of the seven BR coaches:
photo credit: Brian Kent; photo courtesy of WTP.

I do not know all of their names yet; Agnès is in the front, Caroline (ironwoman!) is in the middle and Louisa is in the back. I am looking forward to learning from and running with these women over the next two months!


  1. Caroline is on my old tri team (Team Z)! Small world! I will see YOU at the 5K! Enjoy the women's training program - it sounds pretty awesome!

    1. So cool that you know Caroline. I will tell her next week that I know you. And that the 5k is your bday :)

  2. Well, I did not know her very well, but know who she is. We met on the Culpeper bike ride a couple years ago. Maybe she remembers me? I just invited her to 'like' Team Rabbit though! Thanks, Kim!