Kristen Hislop, a fitness coach at the Southern Saratoga Y, has been working as a head coach on of the Training Challenge for the Freihofer’s Run for Women for 7 years, and participating as a runner for 10 years. She was kind enough to sit down and tell us about the Training Challenge and what it means for women in the Capital District:

freihofers training challengeHow did you get involved?

One of the guys involved in the race suggested I might be a good person to help drive the program. I was honored to be asked and fell in love with the program immediately. In the past couple of years, I stuck my nose into more aspects of the race, so when they were looking for some help this year, I threw my name in the hat. In January I started as co-director of the Freihofer’s Run for Women which includes the Training Challenge, the 5K, the Junior 3K, the Kids Run, the Expo and our elite school visit program.

What does your role entail?

I, and the other directors, are responsible for all aspects of the event. I am very focused on sponsorship, the Expo, the youth event, the Training Challenge, our social media presence and the race experience. I am super excited that the Southern Saratoga Y is partnering with us this year for the Training Challenge. We have a huge group ready to run on Wednesday evenings at 6:00pm!

What will the training sessions look like?

The program is a gradual build. Whether you join the beginner or advanced group, each session builds on the previous, so you never do too much. Our beginners will start with 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking. We alternate that for a total of 20 minutes. Each workout includes a dynamic warm-up, followed by stretching at the end. The program is tailored to all levels of runners and certainly all ages.

What would you tell women interested in joining?

freihofers run for womenJoin us! Our largest age group last year was 50 to 54, so I would tell the ladies under 40 come on and get out there. I find that women in their 20’s get out of school and don’t know where to turn for fun fitness activities. The team sports they might have played in high school and even college are tougher to find. Running can be a new exercise outlet. It is a great way to meet like-minded women.

I ran through both of my pregnancies and believe it made for two healthy babies. It is awesome that the Y is offering free childcare to participants during the Wednesday evening workout. This can be a real barrier for a lot of women. Our goal is to remove the barriers.

As part of the Training Challenge, we will focus on good strength exercises for runners. Ladies who choose the Y on Wednesdays will receive a 10-week membership, so they can take advantage of the great classes we have at the Southern Saratoga branch.

Why is this so important for women?

As a coach and trainer, I am always reading the most current research. Finally more is being done on women and the impact that our hormones have on our bodies and health. Exercise and a good fueling plan (I hate the word diet) can make some of the hormonal changes less noticeable and improve our quality of life. Women tend to be the caregivers. I want them to make sure they take care of themselves too. The Training Challenge is a great place to start. Once we get them in the door of the Southern Saratoga Y, they will be embraced by our family and will become active members!

freihofers training challengeWhy is the Y such a good place to train?

The Y is a family. It is for families, but it really is a family. The Pacers, the running group at the Southern Saratoga Y, goes out every day. It is a mix of ages, abilities, and experience. It is also a bunch of awesome, caring people who look out for each other, celebrate the good times, and support each other through the tough times. We are always looking to grow our family!

What would you say to people who have never done something like this before?

My coaching motto is do – believe – achieve. I encourage everyone to, as Nike says, Just Do It. Sign up, take a chance and I promise you won’t regret it. We have awesome mentors who are ready to join you for your workouts. Set your fears aside, leave the I cant’s at home, and come run with us!