Zoo Run Run Run to Zoo Run Run!!

If you have been following this goofy blog then you probably read in the post “State of the Goof” that I currently coach new runners to their first 5k race.  I also mention that there is no other feeling like the emotion I get from watching my runners cross the finish line.

Today was no different.  A couple of my runners had mentioned the Lowry Park Zoo Run because it looked like a lot of fun, so by a majority vote we decided to adopt that event as our culmination run.  Others may call it an assessment run, because it is the final after the course.  It is the race to see if the coaching and training was successful.  I am here to say that to those whom participated, it was extremely successful.  Just writing this I am getting excited remembering the faces on these women and the strength I saw as they fired over the timing mats at the finish line.  What a feeling!

The last workout before the Zoo Run

Some of these runners had trouble with the very first workout which is a 5 minute walk followed by a 3 minute run, another 5 minute walk, a 2 minute run, completing with a final 5 minute walk.  Now here they are 10 weeks later running a 5k (3.1 miles) straight without stopping.  What an improvement.  Barely 3 minutes to over 30 minutes in 10 weeks and hopefully having fun running it. (At least I hope.)  I tell my students in the beginning that I have four goals for the coarse;

  1. They adapt my formula for natural running
  2. They remain injury free for the 10 weeks
  3. They complete the course with a 5k run where they run the entire race
  4. They have fun running.

I also tell them that in my opinion that until a person can run at least three miles straight that they cannot make an educated opinion on if they actually like to run or not.  At the end of the course I expect one of three things to happen;

  • They love running and they make it a part of their lives (My favorite choice)
  • They don’t mind running and they use it as just a supplement to their fitness routine
  • They still dislike it, but at least they have the fitness level to make that educated opinion
Linda – 1st place AG

Today I had 10 runners whom all crossed the finish line.  Each one of them PR’d (Personal Record) whether it was their first record ever or if they did complete a 5k in the past.  I am absolutely ecstatic about their successes.  I had one of my women finish first in her age group of which we all stayed to watch her get her medal.  Four of my runners were top 10, two of which were top 5, but mostly everyone finished strong, with no injuries and with smiles on their faces.

I started the course with twenty-three new runners and through attrition of work, family, lack of motivation for some reason, I ended with around fourteen of which only nine of them were available for this date.  Either way, I am super proud of my team.  This is my favorite day every ten weeks.  It is obvious that they all still have different fitness levels and speeds so they do not finish together, but I get so excited that I end up running almost double the course running back and forth to encourage them, and I love it.

My Champions after the Zoo Run

My favorite way to go about this is to take the first two miles of the course and run back and forth between the fastest runners and the slowest runners, pacing along side each one to keep them motivated.  When the fastest of the runners hits the last mile I try to be there to run with them through the finish line which usually means I am highly encouraging them to sprint to the finish line.  After crossing myself, I head backwards through the course and start catching the other runners and I run them in as well until I get to my last athlete which by that time the rest of my group is waiting at the finish line cheering him or her in.  Today was no different and I had a blast doing it.

FYI, just for shiggles – my time was around 30:10, but I had 4.25 miles already logged by that time.

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Brad Minus

is a certified running coach, triathlon coach, personal trainer and sports nutrition coach who's real passion is to help others enjoy the journey on the way to conquering their goals. He has written many articles and guest posts on the technical, nutritional and psychological aspects of endurance training. He currently lives and trains in Tampa, Florida.

  • KatSnF says:

    great recap! I’ve been watching my arms & doing my leg/hip exercises!

  • Beka says:

    This is a great post 🙂 Congrats to all your new runners!

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