Monday, September 21, 2015

Central Sole Connection - Weekly Long Run on Saturday

This past week our church, Central Presbyterian Church of Athens, started its own running club in association with Connect Run Club. Central Sole Connection is for everyone - for individuals who walk, who job, who regularly run 5k or 10ks, and even those who are actively training for a half or full marathon. More information on the club is available on the club's Web site.

Gabriel Mundi and I will co-lead a weekly long run on Saturday mornings, leaving from Bishop Park in Athens. While both Gabriel and I are both actively engaged in marathon training (my training plan calls for a total of 18 miles this Saturday) we have prepared different routes that will allow us to provide a solid training experience for everyone - whether they want to go three miles, five miles, nine miles, or a longer distance depending on their individual training needs. We've got several routes available and will mix and match them to fit the needs of whatever runners participate each week.

Here's a three mile course that we could start out with for beginners.

Bishop Park - Prince 3 Mile Loop
From there, we could head back down Prince Avenue to tag on a couple more miles for a total of just over five.

Bishop Park - Athens Regional 2 Mile Loop

For those that want to go longer, I've also got a couple more routes starting from Bishop Park that would take the total distance up to a little over 9 miles (adding on 4 miles) or all the way up to 14 or 18 (adding on an additional 9 miles).

Bishop Park - Hendershots 4 Mile Loop
Bishop Park - UGA 9 Mile Loop
For the next few months we're going to start each Saturday with a fresh slate and we'll map out the morning's run based on the needs and goals of the entire group, mixing and matching the above courses so we can drop runners off back at their car when their training is done. Later this year, we'll survey the group and put together some specific training regimes to prepare participants for a half or full marathon.

The long run is the foundational training experience for all runners. It builds endurance, strengthens the entire body, teaches the body to burn fat as fuel, increases confidence, and reduces mental stress. The pace will be slow, averaging about 12 minutes/mile for the entire course. We'll also be following Jeff Galloway's run - walk - run method, running for four minutes and then walking for one minute. This method helps to speed recovery and avoid injuries (I can attest to that as I have run 1200+ miles so far this year without experiencing a single injury). For more information on this approach to the long run see Jeff's Web site.

Of course, runners are free to head out at whatever pace and using whatever training regime best fits their needs. The entire aim of Central Sole Connection is to connect individuals together throughout Athens and the larger community by sharing an appreciation of walking, jogging, or running. These weekly long run sessions will provide an opportunity to do just that.

We want to start running right at 7:30am, so runners are encouraged to arrive around 7:20 so we can plan the day's route before heading out. If anyone requires any information on the weekly long run please email me at