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If you’re not signed up for the Freihofer’s Training Challenge, there’s still time! Join 400 other women training for the 5K on June 1. This year we have a beginner, intermediate and advanced group available. Learn more (or sign up) here!
Posted by Moderator | February 15, 2013 | Comments Off
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Donald Lawrence, 53, is a manager at the Albany Marriott by day, an association president of USA Track & Field Adirondack, a husband and role model to two teenagers, and an amateur sports enthusiast of skiing, kayaking, bicycling and tennis. But what really makes this man tick is the sport of race walking.
What was your attraction to this lesser known sport?
My first attempt was at age 14, when I realized that entering a race with only three contenders would land me a medal. By my senior year in high school, race walking was an offered choice and I was fortunate to have enjoyed success and enjoyment.
Did you pursue race walking in college?
I received a scholarship from University of Wisconsin-Parkside and became an NAIA All-American while competing there. I fondly remember that I walked a sub 6-minute mile then, which was as fast as I was able to run a mile in high school.
As you managed other athletes going to the Olympics and national meets, your teaching talents emerged. Where has that led you?
I am very interested in coaching young prospects through USA Track & Field race walking. I also enjoy instructing groups of interested adults — either newcomers to the sport, injured runners or those looking for some cross-training — by leading weekly training sessions through Fleet Feet Sports in both Colonie and Saratoga. I also am happy to provide one-on-one private instruction for those eager to acquire the technique.
You have been involved with the Freihofer’s Run for Women for five years now, chairing the race walk competition. This year, sportwalking will be offered as part of the Freihofer’s Training Challenge in preparation for the 5K event on June 1. What are your thoughts on this development?
In 2008, the Freihofer’s Run for Women hosted the USA 5K Race Walk Championships, and I am very happy that it has now grown to encompass a local training program for the competition. Training sessions involve workouts on Mondays and Saturdays for 10 weeks, and include coaching and guidance for properly preparing for a 5K. Walkers are expected to also complete a third workout on their own during the week. Walkers benefit from the exercise itself, the support and group motivation, certified coaches and nutritionists and advice on injury prevention.
What do you see as the health benefits of race walking?
The finest attribute of the sport is its wide audience appeal, low impact and less stress to joints. It can be enjoyed by all ages and begun by anyone enjoying a walk. As the technique improves, so does muscle building, cardio fitness, body sculpting and speed. It is a perfect sport for the baby boomer’s generation.
With so much time devoted to passing it on to others, do you still find time to personally compete?
Sure! I usually map out a schedule of the races I want to do during a year’s time. This allows me to keep motivated and push myself to train. I don’t have my college times anymore, but I don’t enjoy it any less! Race walking allows me to stay healthy on a daily basis, travel as much or as little as I wish and connect with friends old and new.
What are your future goals for race walking in the area?
I would love to see race walking included in more elementary and middle schools as part of the physical education program. “Corporate Wellness,” health fairs, community 5Ks and the like are all excellent venues to get race walking out there!
To contact Don for information on ways to sponsor walking programs, receive the SportWalking class schedule, get more information on the upcoming Freihofer’s Run Training Challenge or to discuss personal walking instruction, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Moderator | January 17, 2013 | Comments Off
Freihofer’s Run for Women has been voted “Best 5K” and “Best Women’s Event” in the Northeast Region for 2012 by readers of Competitor Running Magazine.
The annual competition allows athletes across the country to vote for their favorite event in a number of regions.
This year will mark the 35th running of this celebrated event.
Posted by Moderator | December 27, 2012 | Comments Off
Fifty-five-year-old Liz Farrell had never run a day in her life before she signed up for the 2012 Freihofer’s Run for Women Training Challenge with her co-workers.
“I knew this program was the only way I could ever become a runner,” said the resident of Troy, who was lured by the idea of accomplishing something she never believed possible.
Farrell, who found support in other women just like herself as she gradually learned to run, began her wedding day by crossing the Madison Avenue finish line in her first 5K.
Attracting 415 women last year ranging in age from 10-72, the popular Training Challenge is a 10-week program for novice and experienced runners to prepare for the Freihofer’s Run for Women 5K on Saturday, June 1st. Now in its third year, the program follows an enhanced version of the well-known Couch to 5K Running Plan and is comprehensive, including both injury-prevention and nutritional elements.
The 2013 Training Challenge, which is set to launch mid-March, enables runners to join one of three teams led by Capital Region media personalities.
Participants begin each week with a Monday exercise session involving walking, jogging and/or running with their respective team leader and group at The Crossings of Colonie. Saturday runs are led by certified coaches at Colonie Town Park. Runners are expected to complete a third workout on their own at a time during the week that is most convenient for them.
“The Freihofer’s Training Challenge is an excellent opportunity for women who have never run before to compete in one of the world’s largest and most prestigious women’s road races,” said longtime Event Director George Regan, noting that the 2013 edition marks the race’s 35th anniversary and Freihofer Baking Company’s centennial celebration. “Participants can also benefit from the training advice provided by injury prevention experts, certified coaches and nutritionists. The program in its entirety gives these women a tremendous amount of support to start and keep running.”
“In 2012, we introduced an intermediate program designed for those who completed the beginner level and wanted to push themselves a bit more,” said Patrick Lynskey, one of the event’s certified trainers, stressing that by carefully incorporating speed into their workouts, more experienced runners will improve their overall performance. “This year we are going even further and offering an ‘advanced’ program targeting those who have completed the intermediate level and/or have a more specific time goal in mind.”
Farrell, who continues to run to this day, was one of 293 Training Challenge women who successfully completed the 5K on race day. Included in that group was also 43-year-old Albany resident Cheryl Johnson who for years distributed water to women crossing the finish line, longing to do the same. Incapable of running for more than two minutes when she began, she completed her first 5K just 10 weeks later.
Likewise, Tabatha Biggane of Rensselaer, who hit the tape at the 2012 Freihofer’s Run on her 31st birthday, said the Training Challenge broke up the intensity of a 5K into “more manageable parts,” thereby enabling her to complete the entire race.
“We give these women a starting point and it’s really limitless where they can take it. Some go on to do more 5Ks, others are placing in their age categories and still others are now running half marathons,” said Kristen Hislop, another of the event’s certified trainers. “It becomes a complete lifestyle change.”
And the approach certainly works.
“When the race is over, I often see these ladies out in the community or at other running events,” Hislop continued. “They are always excited to tell me about their latest running adventure.”
Training Challenge participants come from all circumstances and walks of life. Some use the program to overcome weight problems, while other women like 52-year-old Eileen Pohlsander of Rensselaer joined in an effort to regain energy and stay motivated while undergoing cancer treatment.
Meanwhile, others, like Jessica Tremper from the YWCA of the Greater Capital Region, found the program to be a positive step in battling years of addiction to alcohol and crack cocaine. Clean for a year and a half, the single mother of three registered for the 2012 Training Challenge to find healing from her past.
Whatever their motivation for toeing the line for the first time, women find camaraderie and support, and leave feeling healthy and empowered.
“The Training Challenge ended up being an incredible experience, filled with supportive women,” said Renata Relyea, who registered with her daughter. “We received so much encouragement as we completed our first race together. The program has truly been life changing!”
“Many find this program creates an environment of accountability,” said Hislop, noting that when asked why they continue to train, many women point to a friend or relative and say, “because she’s here.”
Kimberly Deal, 44, of Troy, for example, a self-confessed “couch person,”
credits the other women and program organizers for giving her the willpower to succeed.
“The trainers and program organizers made themselves accessible,” said Deal, who, prior to the Training Challenge, hadn’t laced up her sneakers since high school. “They were personally invested in me, which meant a lot. They made each one of us feel like we really mattered.”
Deal saw the race as an opportunity to set an example for her children, Jacob (16) and Melissa (14). “This was not easy for me,” she said. “But they watched me stick with something and succeed at it.”
Deal was especially appreciative of the Training Challenge’s hospitality tent which provided post-race refreshments and gave her family a good vantage point to watch her compete.
Besides access to the hospitality tent, all Training Challenge participants receive a free Freihofer’s Run for Women Training Challenge t-shirt, nutritional and injury prevention tips, daily email workouts, race day recognition through branded Training Challenge bracelets, nutritious Freihofer’s products, and a chance to participate right alongside Olympians and world champions.
“This is an excellent way for newer runners of varying abilities to get the coaching they need to reach their goals,” said Lynskey, commenting that many people don’t realize how much it helps to receive specific advice from a personal trainer. “It’s so beneficial to have someone look at the way you run, or give you advice regarding aches and pains or motivation.”
“Being part of the Training Challenge enables you to be involved in the race at a whole different level,” concluded Deal. “I wasn’t just a number. I became part of the Freihofer’s family.”
Freihofer’s Training Challenge Adds Sportwalking as Part of its Program
Let’s face it. Some people hate to run, period.
This year, the Freihofer’s Training Challenge will introduce sportwalking as an alternative program for those who seek a “less jarring” method of exercising, but still want to reach the finish line.
Walkers will meet at The Crossings of Colonie at a designated time where they will train for the Freihofer’s Run for Women with a goal of sportwalking the 3.1-mile course in 45 minutes or less. Sportwalkers sustaining a 13 minute-per-mile pace may also opt to participate in the USA 5K Race Walk Championship held on the Empire State Plaza prior to the start of the Freihofer’s Run for Women.
“Sportwalking is simply walking with purpose, while technically mirroring the Olympic race walker’s style,” said Don Lawrence, director of Fleet Feet Sportwalkers, who will direct participants toward the appropriate event based on each individual’s fitness level. “It’s a ‘step-by-step’ healthy alternative to the traditional program that is both fun and challenging. Walkers also have the opportunity to compete in a national championship!”
Sportwalkers will receive all Training Challenge benefits.
To register for the 2013 Freihofer’s Training Challenge, visit freihofersun.com or call (518) 273-5552. The program costs $25. A virtual training program is also offered for those unable to commit to the schedule. This is a suitable option for individuals who are self-motivated and cannot make the weekly sessions due to time constraints.
Posted by Moderator | December 27, 2012 | Comments Off
From the Times Union, My Other Life.
Posted by Moderator | December 17, 2012 | Comments Off
The holidays are upon us and we are gearing up for 2013. We hope you had a wonderful 2012! This coming year promises to be a huge year as we are celebrating not only the 35th anniversary of the Freihofer’s Run for Women, but the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Freihofer’s Baking Company! We’re grateful to have Freihofer’s as a title sponsor of this event. Stay tuned for some holiday announcements including the opening of registration for 2013.keep looking »