The mere mention of speed training to some runners can elicit feelings of dread, but not so for the runners participating in the weekly Durango Running Club workouts. They had nothing but good feedback to share about their experience.
Brett Sublett and Sean Meissner have been co-coaching the group since April and have had exceptional turnout each week. They attribute that to the camaraderie of the group and their shared desire to push themselves and become better runners.
“If you’ve been running for a while, I think you reach a plateau,” Sublett said. “So if you have goals for a race or just fitness goals, it’s a great way to get out of your comfort zone.
“The group dynamic is vital. You introduce everybody so they can encourage each other, and you get them to talk about what their goals are.”
Ultra runner Kristina Siladi finds the workouts helpful for getting out of the long and slow mind-set that stymies many distance runners.
“I like a little bit of leg turnover,” she said. “It’s easy to get into the trail slog where you’re just kind of hiking up hill and shuffling along. I like the group setting because you find people to push you, and it’s a lot more fun.”
Getting people familiar with the track and the distances is important, especially for newcomers who may never have run on a track before.
“Some people don’t know how long it is around,” Meissner said. “Or which way to go, so we try to teach them the language of the track so they become more comfortable with it.”
This is the first time Audrey Harvey has trained on a track. She has run non-competitively for the past 10 years and likes the half marathon race distance best.
“I find it very rewarding,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed the steady group of people; everyone’s very encouraging and we all have a good time and feel miserable at the same time. It’s been a good season so far.”
Showing up is half the battle, especially after a long day of work when the weather is hot. Julie Thibodeau has been coming for the past month to prepare for the Imogene Pass Run in September.
“This week I dreaded the heat,” she said. “But, once you get going, you forget about it. I go home every night after practice and tell Dave (her husband), ‘Oh my God, that was so great.’”
Thibodeau is hoping the speed workouts help build more strength and power for the 10 miles of uphill hiking Imogene demands.
Sublett explained the progression that he and Meissner have been using to help the runners build their speed and endurance over the course of the season.
“Shorter stuff in the beginning, 200 and 300 meter repeats and longer stuff as they get more fit – 400, 800 and finally mile repeats later in the year,” he said. “We do hill repeats sometimes that’s mostly driven by the participants who have race goals for Imogene and Kennebec in mind.”
All the runners have been consistent in their attendance and have already noticed a difference in their speed and endurance.
“Brett and Sean have kept the workouts fun and challenging,” Harvey said. “They definitely keep you wanting to come back and keep pushing yourself. Every week is different.”
The group meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Fort Lewis College track.
Reach Marjorie Brinton at firstname.lastname@example.org.