Indoor Running Classes, Studio Style!

Do you love to run? Sad your marathon training is over? Maybe it's too cold where you live to even contemplate a jog outside? But solitary treadmills ain't your thang? Well, then, you're going to LOVE this trend hitting the nation. You already know running is popular. Duh. But the craziness of the sport is that 5K's, half marathons, full marathons and even fun runs have doubled if not tripled in registration rates over the last 5 years. You had to know it was comin: studio style running classes!

(image: Mile High Run Club's Woodway Treadmills)

Mile High Run Club just opened in New York City 2 weeks ago. Along with it, a number of other boutique fitness studios are promoting running classes. There's Shred415 (which is a lot like Barry's but anyone who goes--like me--will tell you it's more about the running than the lifting). Equinox gyms also launched a group running class called Precision Running across it's nationwide locations.

Running wasn't invented yesterday but let's face it, it's still one of the best ways to get in shape and a great complement to ANY workout. Smaller gyms like Superstar Gym (NYC) and I.D. Gym (CHI) have also jumped on the bandwagon, hoping to turn local run fanatics into group fitness lovers. Even a popular NYC based instructional run group called Fitness Runs just opened a brick & mortar location with run activities both outdoor and indoor reportedly in the works.

Of all the indoor group running classes I've taken, Shred415 and Mile High Run Club are my favorites. I love the interval training bursts. There's no time to think about it. You go from jogging to running to sprinting in just a few minutes and before you know it, you're done. These kind of classes are great for newbie runners because you don't have to commit to a long distance route (that you're scared you might not be able to finish) and it gets you in shape for more advanced runs in your future. For the experienced runner, training like this increases your uphill running strength, endurance during off-season and takes the boredom out of getting on a treadmill by yourself at the gym. Indoor group running classes can be quite large, sometimes up to 30 people!

(image: Mile High Run Club's kettlebells)

At Mile High Run Club, a class called Dash takes you off the treadmill after approximately 35-40 minutes to complete your workout with kettlebells. I took this class with instructor Andia Winslow and my arms, legs and abs were definitely feeling it the next day. If the cardio of running isn't enough for you, then classes like Dash will make you feel completely "worked".

I love running and I love group fitness so this trend didn't have to twist my arm. But just in case YOU need more convincing, here are my list of PROS...

  • You get to ditch the ear buds. Indoor run studios feature high quality speakers blasting popular upbeat music that everyone loves running to.
  • You get to wear run shorts...even in the dead of winter! I don't know about you but I'm much more comfortable in run shorts than pants.
  • When someone is yelling positive things at you, you have no choice but to just do it. Otherwise you feel like an asshole.
  • But let's say you're a slow poke, you won't get left behind as you would on the road outside. Set your treadmill speed slower than everyone else's--they'll never know!
  • Every time you go, you run a little bit faster. It's an ego thing. You'll see.
  • A lot of these indoor run studios are started by lifelong runners and run trainers/coaches. Many instructors are former athletes. Mile High Run Club, ahem, is a primary example. And I like the fact that someone who actually knows about running form is teaching me how to run better.


What's your take on indoor running studios and group fitness classes? Dig or dislike? Comment below, please!



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