Sunday, January 22, 2017

Run with Stride

I have to be honest - I don't love to run. Actually, I don't even know how much I like it. When I'm feeling confined in the office or frustrated in traffic, I actually find myself craving to go outside and run (or, I at least think I'm craving it.)  However, when I'm actually in motion, I always question, "WHY? Why the *beep am I doing this?!"  Truth is, I don't really know why. Maybe I like the ridiculous sweat session or maybe I just like to trick myself into thinking that I need to run if I want to feel refreshed or just to clear my head. Sure, I could opt to take a power nap and wake up feeling just as refreshed, but c'mon, naps don't make friends with Fitbit. Steps do.

Studio: Run with Stride
Date/Time: January 17th, 2017 @ 7PM
Normal Price: $28/class (first class free, email to schedule)
Instructor: Matthew Raabsmith

When I first learned about Run with Stride, a part of me was hesitant to check it out.  On top of my complicated relationship with running, I also am not a fan of running on a treadmill. The scenery never changes and the impact on the treadmill actually hurts my ankles.  But, I couldn't pass up on a free class (FOMO, much?) and trying out the first running group studio in Southern California!

After I had signed a waiver and checked in, Katie (co-founder of Run with Stride) handed me a strapped Polar Heart Rate monitor to put on prior to joining the class.  I was running late so I quickly slipped on the monitor under my sports bra, locked up my stuff in the lockers and then walked over to the room. Inside the studio, there are 2 rows of Woodway 4Front treadmills facing a wall of mirrors.  Unlike most cycling classes, you do not get to select nor be preassigned to a particular treadmill. It was a first come, first choice methodology (unless this changes once the studio officially opens. I was signed up during their practice runs.) But, nonetheless, don't be tardy because that will earn you a front row treadmill, smack dab in the center of the room and directly in front of the mirror (not that I experienced this firsthand...)

While waiting for other folks to trickle in, everyone starts off  with a nice walk to warm up.  Soon after, the instructor goes through a brief introduction to the class and off we go! In the 55 minute session, we ran various intervals at different inclines and paces.  Initially, I was concerned about being able to keep up with everyone. But the instructor reminded us that everyone is pushing at their own limits so we each can adjust accordingly.  On some intervals I kept it at a lower level pace and on other intervals I tried my best to push past my limits. Surprisingly, I wasn't bored or concerned about the lack of scenery changes as I ran. That may be because I was busy glancing at my stats on the TV screens to see if I'm exerting above 90% effort or not.

So, would we come back?

Her: I actually did come back - rainy and early at 6AM! I liked being able to view my heart rate, caloric burn and effort level in real time- it helped me stay accountable of my efforts and motivated me to keep up with the other runners.  The color schemes were a great at-a-glance reference as each color correlated to the level of exertion/BPM by percentage (this is data is drawn from the Polar monitors.)

Grey for 50-60% (94-113 BPM)
Turquoise for 60-70% (113-132)
Green for 70-80% (132-151)
Yellow for 80-90% (151-170)
Pink for 90-100+% (170-189).

Here is a screenshot (pulled from the Polar Monitor app) of my detailed breakdown during my first session:

Another feature that I liked were the button functions of the Woodway treadmills.  Instead of having to press on the Up/Down buttons to increase or decrease inclines and pace, you can easily press a numeric button of your desired incline/pace (refer to photo below for the keypad references.)

Photo courtesy of Exercise Equipment Warehouse

This came in handy when I wanted to sprint the last minute or so of the interval - I quickly jump from an endurance pace into a race pace within the press of one button. One other great aspect of the treadmill was that the shock-absorbent slats of the treadmill - I didn't feel any knee or ankle pains after both sessions! These treadmills are also fairly quiet in comparison to the regular treadmills at the gym, which is great especially when I start to sprint on the treadmill.

His: While the general format of this class is something that you can do solo at the gym, it is nice to be able to do it in a class setting.  It was also nice to see on the screen how hard your body is working and how fast it's recovering, that's information that you wouldn't be able to attain on most treadmills or step trackers.

We've actually taken quite a bit of classes the past few days, so we can't wait to share about those experiences soon!

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