As we round the corner into November, a kind of lethargy sets in.
Doesn't matter if you've just finished your first half-marathon (elation!) or you're coming back to running after healing a injury (jubliation!) or you've just found running and the road is your new.best.friend.
There's something in the air—the dark, cold air—that combines with the craziness of the season (wait: I promised I'd host Thanksgiving this year at last year's dinner?) that makes enthusiasm, time, and energy for the miles wane.
At some point, you'll glance up at the calendar—it's mid-December already?—and your running shoes are hidden in the pantry, beneath a pile of spilled powered sugar. Never mind where your GPS or running tights are. Just the thought of running a mile feels like a marathon.
Not this year, friends. You won't lose your running shoes or your mojo; in fact, you'll lace them up regularly with Stride through the Holidays, a five-week plan that will keep you moving with a spirited community of like-minded women and smart, doable workouts in the small pockets of time you have.
[Begin the Q+A portion of this post.]
Why hold a Challenge that starts in the darkest, busiest time of the year?
Exactly. Stride through the Holidays is here to strongly encourage you to keep moving as you baste turkeys, hang a wreath, light the menorah, decorate cookies, shovel snow, and otherwise carry on through the most festive time of the year.(read: stay sane, keep smiling, burn some calories) In this season of giving, we also wanted to spotlight Heart Strides, our non-profit partner, and, in doing so, provide an opportunity to help all moms move, including yourself. (Win-win!) The entire profit of your entrance fee ($25) goes directly to Heart Strides.
What is Heart Strides?
A non-profit started by a Denise Dollar, a mother runner of two children including a son with Type 1 Diabetes. After her son was diagnosed, Denise let self-care—exercise, sleep, good nutrition—sink to the bottom of her to-do list, despite realizing how important her own health is. She also realized how financially draining extensive healthcare can be to a family budget. She founded Heart Strides in 2014 to remove one hurdle of self-care by providing new running shoes and gently used exercise apparel for moms with children who are critically ill or have a special need.
Denise and her tribe of 50 ambassadors have been busy since then. Today, Heart Strides is close to their goal of distributing 500 pairs of shoes nationwide by the end of 2016. "Our mission continues to focus on self-care, expanding our support by also providing yoga apparel and gear like journals that encourage stress reduction," says Denise, "We also distribute handmade overnight totes which include lavender lotions, calming teas, fuzzy socks and other items that help a mom ease into a night in the hospital during their child’s stay."
"Our relationships with multiple Ronald McDonald Houses continue to thrive," Denise adds, "In the past year we have gifted items to houses in Denver, CO, Rochester, MN, Seattle, WA and more recently, Austin, TX and Pensacola, FL. We continue to provide shoes to moms on an individual basis, some applying on their own behalf or nominated by a friend or relative. Locally, in Boulder, we provide shoes and other items to moms within the There With Care organization."
What are Stride through the Holidays workouts like?
We’ve pulled together five weeks of unique, fun workouts. (Hello #BAMR Bingo!) The shortest workout is 20 minutes, the longest is 60-90 minutes (one longer run on the weekend), with most sessions clocking in around 30 minutes. Stride through the Holidays has you sweating five days a week, with an option for a sixth day if your schedule allows. It also has quick, helpful cues for self-care so your mind + spirit hum as your legs run.
The workouts will have you primed and ready to tackle a traning plan—or another Train Like a Mother Challenge!—when the calendar turns to 2017.
If you are training and running by heart rate, you can definitely continue doing that with this plan. At least three of the weekly runs can be run easy effort.
What equipment do I need?
None, save a good pair of shoes and a supportive sports bra. You can complete all the workouts either from your home or in your home. Of course, you can always add weights or use a treadmill, but they’re definitely not necessary.
What level of runner do I need to be to participate?
Any level works. If you’re a beginner just starting to find your running groove, this will help you dig it deeper. If you’re coming off a fall marathon, this will keep you moving without burning you out. And if you fall somewhere on that sliding scale, Stride through the Holidays will also be a fit. Also, the plan works well for walkers and run/walkers. Forward movement, not speed, is the key element.
How is Stride through the Holidays different than the usual Train Like a Mother Challenges?
This five-week Challenge is all about forward motion, fitness, accountability and community, not about training for a specific race. The workouts are one-size-fits-all, and there is no swag, tee or medal. (That said, there is the reward of maintaining your fitness and a Secret BAMR option...see below.) It is not linked into Training Peaks and there is no weekly newsletter. Instead, you'll get a PDF of the plan when you register, and we will post workouts daily on the Facebook page.
Another difference: 100% of profit from your entrance fee goes directly to Heart Strides. (We only deduct the registration processing fees.) Finally, Stride through the Holidays does not end in a race. Instead, the final weekend culminates in a mother of a Pile of Stride Miles, with AMR donating $1/mile to Heart Strides for every cumulative mile logged. (Up to $1,000.)
What support will be offered?
Once you join Stride through the Holidays, we invite you to join a Strava Private Challenge club to track your miles, as well as a private Facebook page. On the Facebook page, we will list the workout daily so participants can comment on it, cajole each other to get it done, root each other on, share pictures, and otherwise engage that entertaining, time-killing, helpful way Facebook allows.
When does it start and end?
We'll start as a group on November 14, stride and sweat for five weeks, and end on December 18. If those dates don't slide neatly into your schedule, you're welcome to join us anyway and re-jigger as need be. (And you can easily take the workouts and repeat two weeks for the final two weeks of 2016; we'll keep the Facebook and Strava groups open.)
Anything else I should know?
There will be an optional Secret BAMR (badass mother runner) gift exchange. Once Stride through the Holidays starts, we’ll ask if you want to participate in it. (No pressure.) If you do, we’ll connect you with another mother runner and her address, and you’ll send her a gift (no more than $20) to encourage her to keep striding through the holidays—and into 2017.
Ready to Stride through the Holidays and support Heart Strides?
Sign up today!
Have questions? Ask them in the comments below or
email us at tlamclub[at]gmail[dot]com and we'll get 'em answered asap!