Stride into the Holidays: A Five-Week, All-Levels Challenge to Benefit Charity

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!); you're coming back to running after healing a injury (jubliation!); or you've just found running and the road is your

There's something in the air—the dark, chilly 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'll keep you moving with a spirited community of like-minded women and smart, doable workouts in the small pockets of time you have.

Why hold a Challenge that starts in the darkest, busiest time of the year? 
Exactly. Stride into 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 that 100% of profits go to the charity of your choice:  Heart Strides or 261 Fearless.

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. Denise and her tribe of 64 ambassadors have been busy and are looking forward to 2018. As they continue to grow and give, they have been focusing their attention on creating strong, meaningful relationships while building community. “What’s important to our mission is not how many we connect with, but how strong our connections are, bringing care and comfort to others.”  The money donated to Heart Strides provides new running shoes and for moms with children who are critically ill or have a special need. 

Payge, Heart Strides recipient, getting back to running, completed a 5K in Eau Claire, WI.

What is 261 Fearless
Established in 2015, 261 Fearless is a global non-profit organization founded by pioneer runner Kathrine Switzer. Pronounced TWO-SIX-ONE Fearless, they are a global supportive social running network which empowers women to connect and take control of their lives through the freedom gained by running. Through a series of non-competitive running clubs, an unique education program, and private communication channels, we provide networking, healthy running support and a sisterhood to women all over the world.  The money donated to 261 Fearless will be used to train women on how to set up 261 Fearless Running Clubs and increase the organization's global reach to less-developed areas in the world.

Kathrine Switzer's global non-profit 261 Fearless organization for women runners, at an event in Boston.

What are Stride into the Holidays workouts like?
We’ve pulled together five weeks of unique, fun workouts. (Hello #BAMR Bingo! Who's in?) 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 into 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 training plan—or another Train Like a Mother Challenge!—when the calendar turns to 2018.

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.

Stride Workout: Pacing and Negative Splits!

What equipment do I need?
None, save a good pair of running 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 into 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 into 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. It is not linked into Training Peaks, and there is no weekly newsletter. Instead, you get a PDF of the plan when you register, and we post workouts daily on the group's Facebook page.

Another difference: 100% of profits goes directly to Heart Strides or 261 Fearless.

Stride Workout: Did someone say BAMR Bingo?

What support is offered?
Once you join Stride into 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 facilitates.

How much does it cost?
$25, and 100% of the profits go directly to the charity of your choice, Heart Strides or 261 Fearless.

When does it start and end?
We’ll start as a group on November 13, stride and sweat for five weeks, and end on December 17.
 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 2017; 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 into 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 $25) to encourage her to keep striding through the holidays—and into 2018.  New this year, we are launching our very own BAMR Box, in partnership with RunnerBox, which is an awesome, easy, and fun way to exchange gifts!  This unique box is full of goodies any BAMR will love – think Balega socks, Momentum Wrap, AfterShokz accessory belt – and several other products we can’t tell you about until the challenge starts!

Ready to Stride through the Holidays and support Heart Strides and 261 Fearless?
Sign up today!

Have questions about this holiday running program? Ask them in the comments below or
email us at [email protected], and we'll get 'em answered ASAP!

3 responses to “Stride into the Holidays: A Five-Week, All-Levels Challenge to Benefit Charity

  1. Will all five workouts each week be running workouts or will there be some cross training involved? I need this, but my knees get to me when I pound more than 3-4 Days a week‍♀️

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