The Columbus Running Company’s winter season of Walk & Run 101, a 5K training program designed for beginning walkers and runners, starts on January 28. We’ll have coaches at all four CRC locations this year, and we’re excited to have Wendy leading the Pickerington group during Saturday workouts. She’s been running consistently for over 10 years even though she picked a challenging day to begin her journey.
“I started running regularly in 2005 with 4 miles of a frigid, icy Turkey Trot. The weather was so terrible and I was mostly walking by mile 3,” Wendy explains. Despite the less-than-welcoming weather, she finished the race and joined a training group that met 45 minutes from her home. When she decided to find a different group, she wound up at the Pickerington CRC.
“I decided on a Thanksgiving weekend to join the group at the Pickerington store. I’ve been running with them on Saturdays and Wednesday nights ever since. I love that there's always someone to run with, even on holiday weekends, so all I have to do is show up.”
In addition to joining the group runs, Wendy has followed the CRC’s half-marathon training plan for the past two years while preparing for her races. She aims for four half marathons a year with 8-10 shorter races along the way. Similar to the Walk & Run 101 program, the half marathon plan includes weekly coaching emails.
“I look forward to the weekly emails that help me focus on where I am in the schedule, not getting too far ahead of myself but appreciating and enjoying the journey,” Wendy says. The plans have helped her develop a training and race strategy, which includes using a run/walk routine to complete two marathons.
“I believe that run/walk is the best way to begin running that supports you mentally and physically. I’ve run two marathons and run/walk two marathons and I feel better, stronger and faster by using a run/walk method,” she says. “It’s not true that you aren’t a ‘real runner’ if you walk. Most runners walk at some point in a [marathon] so by training and using this method I feel confident that I’ll meet my personal race goals.”
Running has given Wendy some of her fondest memories, which includes a major personal record at the 2013 Chicago Marathon.
“My best friend came with me, and she and her brother biked around the city to follow me on the course. I beat my previous marathon time by 20 minutes with 2 minute run/1 minute walk for 26.9 miles—I enjoyed the crowd and didn’t always take the straightest lines! We celebrated with a personal tour at Wrigley Field right after the race and eating pizza and beer with my cousins at Murphy’s Bleachers.”
With a new season of training about to begin, Wendy is ready to get started with coaching others toward their running goals.
“I'm looking forward to supporting everyone in the Walk & Run program this year. I tried running several times in college but it wasn't until I joined a group that I learned how to keep going—and make it fun! Let's begin together with new goals for a new year!”
To learn more about Walk & Run 101, visit our “Training” page at columbusrunning.com or feel free to attend an informational kickoff event at any CRC location January 23-26. Registration is open and the season begins January 28!