Try It: Badgerland Striders Tuesday Night Workouts

So you’re training for a spring race and need to get some quality speedwork in but it’s Wisconsin and it’s cold and dark and icy when you need to run. Times like these make it difficult to work up the motivation to train. But with a group of runners, the workout becomes that much easier.

The Badgerland Striders offer Tuesday night workouts at the Pettit National Ice Center throughout the winter months to help runners get faster while also having fun running with a group. Erin Smith, one of the workout coaches, tells us more about these workouts and what to expect if you decide to join in the fun!

Why did the Striders decide to start offering Tuesday evening workouts?

The workouts have been taking place in some capacity since summer of 2014. We wanted to provide a more structured running workout for our members. The workouts were originally only running based and we have just recently added in the functional strength portion.

Where are the workouts held and when? About how many people show up each week? The workouts are held Tuesday at 6:30pm. In the winter (December to March/April) we are indoors at the Pettit National Ice Center. In the summer (April to September) we are outside at Hart Park in Wauwatosa. We have about 30 people show up weekly. There is no need to register, just show up and be ready to go!

Take us through a typical workout …

A workout generally consists of 3 to 4 miles of hard running; which can be adapted depending on fitness level. We also include strength and conditioning exercises. There are also breaks so runners have a chance to recover between activities. A runner can expect to be at the workout for about an hour.

Why do you include strength and conditioning exercises as part of the workout?

Runner’s generally run because they love running not because they like doing burpees or squats. Adding in the functional strength helps to build the supporting muscles that many runners neglect, but in the long run will help them improve speed and endurance and, hopefully, prevent injury.

Who leads the workouts? How do you decide what type of workout to do each week?

The workouts are led by myself and Terri Bodden. We are both RRCA certified running coaches and have a passion for running and helping others achieve their running goals. For the winter workouts at the Pettit, we focus a lot on functional strength and maintaining a running base, but also pushing the pace a bit on the running part. In the summer months, we focus more on gaining speed.

Can runners of all abilities join or are these workouts better suited for more advanced runners?

The workouts are written with all ability levels in mind, and we adjust the workouts on the spot to make sure everyone is comfortable and gains something from the workout. I think for beginning runners and slower runners, the idea of this type of workout is intimidating. We make sure everyone feels welcome and comfortable.

What type of running base would you suggest runners have before attending a workout?

While all ages and abilities are welcome, and we don’t turn anyone away, it is best if you can run a few miles before you join us.

Are the workouts geared toward a specific race distance?

The workouts are not geared toward a specific race distance. Each week is a different workout so it can help with any race distance that a person might be targeting, from the 5k to ultras.

What are the benefits of doing speed work with a group?

Any workout with a group helps provide accountability. You might not want to run, but you’ll go because you told your friend you would meet them there. Or you might not want to do the last set, but everyone else is so you do too. In most cases, people don’t regret either of these decisions. It’s also nice sometimes to just show up and have a coach tell you what to do for the workout. Everyone can suffer (I mean enjoy) together.

Thanks for chatting with us, Erin! For more information about the workouts, checkout the Badgerland Striders Tuesday Night Workouts Facebook Group.

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

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