Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Welcome to Workout Wednesday: every hump-day, we'll be rounding up some of the city's hottest fitness trends and studios.
For some people, running is the simplest and most effective way to exercise—but for others, it's akin to torture. Putting one foot in front of the other is simple enough, but motivating yourself to go the distance (or even get out of the front door) is easier said than done. But the daunting task might not be so dreaded if you're out with a running club.
All summer long, activewear brand Lolë has been hosting a weekly beginner's running club that leaves from its Mercer Street store on Wednesdays—perhaps you've spotted yellow-hatted participants dodging sidewalk traffic through lower Manhattan on Wednesday evenings?
Sessions are often led by Marnie Kunz, a sales associate that moonlights as a running coach and leader of the Run Street Runners in Prospect Park every Saturday. Here, the St. Louis native gives us a rundown (no pun intended) on club basics, dispels the myth that they're not just for elite athletes, and offers some tips on how first-timers can start out.
They're not just for speed demons.
"A lot of people think that they're for advanced runners—they're intimidated because they think that you have to be a marathoner, or run a six-minute mile. So many beginners think, 'I'm not a real runner, so I don't belong in a running club,' but it helps you become comfortable [with the sport]."
In fact, they're great for beginners.
"Run clubs are good for encouragement and support, because one of the hardest things when you are starting out is sticking with it and staying motivated … You can learn a lot from other runners on what works for them."
Especially for those who are also beginners to New York City.
"I know, for me, when I moved here, it was a little overwhelming with all the traffic and not knowing your way around. So it can be nice to get ideas for running routes. And you'll have people to run with for safety, too."
Image courtesy of Marnie Kunz
Finding a club isn't hard at all.
"Go to your local running stores—they usually have running groups. Looking for a group that is open to all levels is a good idea, because then you can find someone to run with at your pace. Also, being in a group with faster members can be good motivation."
Make a connection with the group leader.
"I think a running group leader is a coach too where people look to them for guidance and they ask them questions. They're encouraging and supportive, so that everyone feels included."
And don't worry—your group leader won't let you get lost.
"[As a leader,] I usually run between people, kind of going back and forth. I try to tell people ahead of time, very clearly, what the route is, and then make sure that everyone knows."
Image courtesy of Marnie Kunz
Plus: Just starting out? Marnie shares her tips for those looking to become bona fide runners…
Start out with the right gear: "You can get injured if you don't have good running shoes, especially for your foot type. Get fitted at your local running store before starting out."
Don't get too excited: "Around New Year's, a lot of people pick up running—they'll go to the treadmill and run for two weeks and then get injured because they do too much. Increase your mileage no more than 10% a week—if you do 10 miles one week, just add one mile the next week."
Watch your pace: "I really think it does help to run with people for pacing. Also, use an app like Nike Plus or RunKeeper ... In track and cross-country, we used to joke about how when we were beginners, we would go out too fast and die in the middle of the race."
· Lolë Run Club [Facebook]
· Lolë, the Brand That Did Yoga at the MoMA, Opens in Soho [Racked NY]
· All Workout Wednesday Posts [Racked NY]