One of the mainstays of the Regis DPT program is the Move Forward 5k/10k race that is hosted every fall by current SPTs. It was created as a community outreach program and benefits Canine Companions for Independence, the puppy training volunteer organization the DPT program works with to help train future service dogs (read more about our newest puppy, Clover). Recognizing that not everyone is ready to jump up from their desk and run a 5 or 10 kilometer race, students have put together a couch to 5k training program that is free to the community to help prepare for the race and generally be more active. This initiative is spearheaded by Kelly Stevens and Tanner Williams of the Class of 2023.
The training program is a 9-week evidence-based training program developed by the National Health Service (NHS). This specific program was designed for beginners to gradually build up their running ability so they can eventually run 5 kilometers without stopping. The training program is embedded in the Couch to 5k website and has a free downloadable app to go with it on your phone. The team has also created a Strava community (run tracking app) where interested individuals can upload their run logs and interact with others who are in the same training program. There are even suggested routes to run if you’re unsure of where to start in the real world. And, starting Tuesday, June 22nd for three consecutive weeks, three 20-minute running workshops will be posted to the website to help get people into the world of running. Workshops will cover everything from nutrition to gear to warm up and cool down so you’ll have a good overview of how to train even beyond the running itself. The workshops will culminate in an hour-long live Q&A session with a panel of students running the training program on Tuesday, July 13th in the evening.
You might be thinking, “Wow, this sounds like a big commitment. I don’t know that I am a runner.” You’d be surprised by the number of people who share the same sentiment. Even Kelly Stevens, the program’s Outreach Chair, who plans to do the training program right along side you, wouldn’t call herself a runner, per say. She approaches running from a different perspective than the mile-counting, second-checking intense runners you see training for ultras on the side of 36 on the way to Lyons. Her plan for this program is to end it feeling like part of something bigger than she was before starting it; to feel like she accomplished something the days she does training runs; to meet people in her community. “Activity plays a large part in my own well-being and interaction with people.” She is excited to find a way to use technology to connect people to an activity that is inherently physical and thinks that the outreach portion of this operation will be a challenge coming out of the Covid-induced isolation we have all been experiencing. Now that the world is opening up again, she is hoping to connect others to running who have not seen themselves as stereotypical runners. Kelly believes running is not always about having to top your PR or win the next race, that it’s more than that. Her approach is less competitive with no expectations and just doing what you can where you are right now. It’s not about having the best shoes or the most aerodynamic clothing. “Some people don’t even run in shoes!” Kelly says. “People need reassurance that they can do it and it doesn’t have to be how they see other people doing it.” So if you’re looking for a reason to give this a shot, Kelly will be cheering you on the whole way from right next to you (virtually).
Tanner has taken a less running-centric approach to his role as part of the leadership of Couch to 5K. He doesn’t identify as a runner himself but understands how running can become a shared interest, which is where he intends to spend most of his energy. Tanner is big on community connection and finds exercise is a great way to make those connections. He is passionate about engaging community members and creating a healthy community in an organic manner through shared interest. He is hoping that people in the Regis community and neighboring areas will meet on their running journey and create new connections, expanding their social resources and getting to know their neighbors. Tanner’s plan for Couch to 5k is that families who are unfamiliar with others in their immediate area will have the opportunity to get to know each other and be active at the same time, creating sustainable long-term relationships. “Running is simply the vessel for bringing families together,” he says.
So dust off those trainers, check out the Couch to 5K training page, and let’s get running!