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Toeing up to the challenge

Training program prepares runners for the Freihofer's Run for Women

Participants complete a 10-week training program that teaches them to run three miles gradually.

Participants complete a 10-week training program that teaches them to run three miles gradually. Submitted Photo

— The 34th Freihofer’s Run for Women isn’t until June, but starting Monday, March 19, a group of Capital Region women kicked off their training at The Crossings of Colonie.

“We’re trying to target women who might be a little more sedentary, non runners, women who always wanted to run the race but never thought they could,” said Patrick Lynskey, director of operations for the Freihofer’s Run for Women.

Last year, Lynskey helped introduce the Freihofer’s Training Challenge, a 10-week program that provides a running plan to get women in shape.

“They loved it. I heard several people say it changed their lives,” said Lynskey. “I met a woman … who still runs, she just ran the Disney Half Marathon, and is coming back to do the intermediate program because now she wants to go faster.”

The Training Challenge is modeled after the Couch-to-5k Running Plan, which teaches novice runners how to complete three miles gradually. Runners spend one day a week working out with a team at The Crossings, another day working on their own and a third day each week in a group session led by coaches, personal trainers and injury prevention specialists.

“Our mission is to create a healthy lifestyle event for women and to introduce as many women as possible to the sport of running, so this goes hand in hand with that,” said Lynskey.

Last year’s Training Challenge drew about 400 women and as of Wednesday, March 14, about 210 women had signed up for this year’s program. New to this year’s challenge is a virtual beginner and intermediate component that has 82 and 27 participants, respectively. It’s for women who want to train alone or can’t complete the full Training Challenge.

Cathy Stone, 64, tried The Training Challenge last year and returned this year for the intermediate experience.

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