September Strider or Speedster Challenge

The kids are back in school and I am noticing a lot of people on the sidewalks and in the parks.  With the weather getting cooler, more and more people are going to be taking it outside.  Are you one of them?   Whether you do not consider yourself a runner or if you run regularly, this month’s challenge is for everyone!

turtle hareWhichever plan you choose to follow, the goal for both of each is simple:  SELF-IMPROVEMENT!  The two challenges consist of the STRIDER and the SPEEDY challenge.  If you are following the STRIDER calendar, this is a challenge that will include walking and running…  As well as SPRINTING.  Yes, there are always options!  If you are following the SPEEDY calendar, you will have various running workouts.  We recommend cross training for BOTH challenges!

I bet you are asking…  How are we going to celebrate the completion of these challenges?  We will either pick an organized run to complete as a group in October OR pick a Saturday in October and do a social run together (run/walk and afterward socialize for a bit).

Before you start any activity with either challenge, PLEASE STRETCH!   Make your body happy and don’t start cold.  Think about the movements that you are going to be doing while running and try mimicking those through stretching:  lunges, hamstrings, quads, arms (yes, you use those arms while running…  More on that later).   Just as it is important to stretch prior to activity, it is JUST AS IMPORTANT to stretch after you work out.  Lack of stretching will most definitely increase the occurrence of injuries.  We don’t want anyone out because of injuries, so STRETCH!

Proper nutrition is vital when you are embarking on new fitness challenges.  So, I say to you – properly fuel your machine (your body).  Hydrate, hydrate, HYDRATE!!!  Especially if you are working out outside!  Dehydration can really do a number on your body…  Not in a good way!  If you are sweating fluids out while working out, you have to replace those fluids.  Also, treat your body with quality food that will aid you in quality workouts.  Crap in, crap effort out.

As you are running, unless you are doing a sprint, concentrate on your steady breathing.  In through your nose and out through your mouth.  Gasping for breath does not allow your lungs to fill up properly.  If you feel that you are hyperventilating and not catching breath, just take a deep inhale in through the nose and exhale out the mouth.  Steady breaths.  Also, keep those shoulders relaxed.  Tensing up causes unneeded stress on those muscles.

If you plan on doing any training on a treadmill, please make sure that you do so at a 3% incline, minimum.  This will simulate the INTENSITY of running outside, which is recommended.

September Strider ChallengeThe first challenge we will discuss is the STRIDER CHALLENGE.  We will increase the walk to run ratio by the end of the training.  IF YOU CANNOT RUN, DO NOT WORRY!  We will go over options.  🙂  Even though there is not CROSS TRAINING days on this particular calendar, you do want to keep strength training and other activities in your regimen.  Let’s discuss how to read the calendar!

  • WALK– Walk for the amount of minutes listed.  This is not a leisurely stroll.  You want to increase your heart rate and get a sweat going.
  • RUN – Run for the amount of minutes listed.  This is going to be a pace that you can maintain for the time listed.  WE ARE NOT SPRINTING. 
    • OPTION – If you are unable to start off running, increase the pace of your walk.  Maintain that increased pace for the entire minute.
  • SPRINT – On the days we include sprints, the walk will still be in minutes.  The sprint will be in seconds.  Before you begin your sprint, take a deep inhale through the nose.  As you sprint, use that breath to power you during the sprint and exhale through your mouth.
  • X# – This is the last line on most days.  It is X3, X4, X5, etc.  This is how many times you repeat that day’s schedule.
  • WALK OR REST – On this day, you have two options.  You can either take a LEISURELY walk…  Enjoy the scenery, look at the trees, pet the puppies.  The other option is to rest.  Take the day off.



wayne.pngOur second challenge is the SPEEDY CHALLENGE.  This challenge is for those that are ready to start running.  I would like to thank Wayne Bullard for agreeing to help me out this month!  Wayne has a tremendous fitness story.  If you are a member of Texas Family Fitness, you may have seen his posters around our clubs.  After losing 68 pounds, Wayne became active in running and has run various events. He has won various medals in his age division in 5K events.  Wayne has also participated in longer distance events.  He, along with his running coach has devised this plan.   Again, the goal is for self-improvement.  If you are addressing this challenge for time or distance; this is YOUR challenge!   Use it as you wish.  If you are currently running and need to alter this plan to fit your current schedule, DO IT!  This is YOUR challenge.  If you have any questions regarding this plan, Wayne will be your man!

  • FIRST AND LAST DAY – Timed one mile run to set a base time at the start of the challenge.  To check for improvement, you will time your mile again on the last day of the challenge.
  • SPEED WORKOUT – Run fast distances, recover and repeat.  This type of training builds endurance.  First time runners will run 1/4 mile increments, 1/4 mile recover for a total of 1-2 miles.  Experienced runners will run up to one mile increments,  1/2 mile recover for a total of 3-5 miles.
  • DISTANCE WORKOUT– Run farther at a moderate pace to increase your endurance.  2-3 for beginners, 4-7 for experienced runners.
  • CROSS TRAINING – Do any cardio activity, except running, for 30 to 60 minutes.
  • TEMPO – Run at a steady, moderately hard intensity for the entire session.  This workout increases the time that you can work out at a planned distance and be aware of pace and stride.
  • UPHILL – First, find a hill.  Run uphill for 30 – 60 seconds, depending on experience.  Walk down for recovery.  Repeat for 30 minutes to an hour, depending upon experience level.



Why yes, yes we are!  I’ve got a couple of new prizes up my sleeves.


  • Completing “done” on the Facebook page per the daily schedule (this does not include Rest Days, unless you are catching up).
  • A member accepts your invitation to join our group Team Best You.  I am able to see who accepts your invitation.
  • Posting pictures of you in action!


  • You must CHECK-IN via Facebook to a Texas Family Fitness class offered by a participating instructor and tag Sylvia Bernal.  These instructors include:
    • Alisa Lofton
    • Anna Hubbard
    • Clay Mills
    • Heather Starnes
    • Cambry Wiersum
  • Additional instructors may be added to this list and I will inform you via our group Team Best You.

Let’s hear it!  Are you in?  Who is a Strider and who is Speedy?


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