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Shaped By COVID-19: bRUNch Running’s At-Home Workout

The duo behind bRUNch Running lays out a week-long training program to help you lace up and run (but not very fast if that's not your thing).

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Editor’s Note: “Shaped By COVID-19” is a weekly series designed to help you stay active while you’re homebound, with workouts from some of Denver’s leading fitness and wellness professionals. Got a fitness tip or favorite studio? Email us at digital@5280.com.


The Gym: bRUNch Running
Year Founded: 2013
The Trainers: Co-founders Cortney Logan and Alexandra Weissner
Membership Options: Most training plans are $14.99; event fees vary

It started because of the bananas. Friends and runners Alexandra Weissner and Cortney Logan got tired of finishing weekend races and being handed a lackluster banana as their breakfast rewards. So they began planning brunches out with their friends once they crossed the finish line. Eventually, that morphed into organizing meet-ups for weekly 5K runs that started and ended at restaurants. When their friends suggested they do the same thing for other people, bRUNch Running was born.

Before the shadow of COVID-19 loomed over, well, everything, bRUNch Running had become a smoothly executed series of monthly fun runs that started and ended at local restaurants like, most recently, Milk Market. Runners would sign up then follow either the 5K or 10K walk/run and be treated to—in this case—a coffee or drink from one of Milk Market’s vendors afterward. The annual bRUNch Running race—Weissner and Logan’s only timed event—was followed by a smorgasbord of offerings from 20 restaurants partners. This year that race, slated for October, will be virtual.

Logan and Weissner have made other adjustments to their programming in response to COVID-19, too. When the pandemic began, in lieu of brunch out, the pair offered at-home recipes like peanut butter and jelly oatmeal and encouraged runners to share where they were getting takeout from with the hashtag #laceupandbrunch. “The community side is really important to us,” Logan says.

To help build that community, Weissner and Logan, both Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) certified coaches, also put together training plans for runners focused on different race lengths: 5K, 10K, and half marathons. Each program comes with daily suggestions for run distance and pace, speed workouts, and the promise of a weekly email check in. “They really can be scaled and tailored to any runner,” Logan says. And completing the plan is a goal unto itself in a time when there are no big race events to look forward to. “It’s been difficult to keep motivated to run right now because we don’t have that finish line in sight,” Logan says.

This month, bRUNch Running adds a new way to stay focused with Run Fast Sip Slow, One Mile To Brunch. The program, which comes with all kinds of goodies and ends with a timed virtual run, aims to help runners shave time off their milers with a month-long speed-focused training program. The point of Run Fast Sip Slow—and really all of bRUNch Running’s offerings—says Weissner, is just to keep people motivated and moving and engaged with their communities. “If you don’t feel like going for a run one day, just get outside,” she says. “Go for a nice walk.” And maybe tomorrow turn that into a run.

The Workout

To get you moving (and give you a taste of bRUNch Running’s training plans), Weissner and Logan put together this one-week training schedule, complete with easy to understand explainers about what exactly easy pace and other terms mean. As Weissner notes, this program is for all levels. “New runners or walkers can focus more on time versus distance,” she says. Time to #laceupandrun!

SUNDAY About 30 minutes (three to four miles) of running
1) 10 minutes easy run
2) One minute at hard pace with one minute recovery, repeat five times
3) 10 minutes easy run

MONDAY Active recovery
Go for an easy walk, take a yoga class, or foam roll. (Here are our tips for foam rolling.)

TUESDAY 50 minutes (four to five miles) of track time
1) Easy four to five miles of running
2) Run 100 yards all out, then recover for 100 yards. Do that 10 times.

WEDNESDAY 30 to 45 minutes non-running cardio plus core
1) Approved non-running cardio activities include cycling, hiking, swimming, and dance partying.
2) Add this core work (two sets):
30-second plank
30-second leg lifts
30-second crunches
30-second right side plank
30-second left side plank

THURSDAY 30 minutes of running (two to three miles) plus strength training
1) 30 minutes running at easy pace
2) Strength workout (choose a weight that allows you to do 15 reps of each exercise; do this three times)
A. Upright row
B. Hollow body hold
C. Chest press
D. Shoulder front and side raise
E. Deadlifts
F. Sumo squat
G. Push-ups
H. Curl to press
I. Calf raises
J. Squat to lunge
K. 30 second jump squats (no weight)

FRIDAY HIIT
Do 30 seconds of each exercise, rest for 10 seconds. Repeat four times.
Exercises: toe taps, star jumps, butt kicks, burpees, squat stance switch, push-ups, lunge jumps, box jumps, mountain climbers, jump rope

SATURDAY 60 minutes of running (five to six miles) plus core
1) 60 minutes of easy running
2) Core work (do this twice):
30 second plank
30 second superheroes
30 second crunches
30 second side crunches each side
30 second v-ups


PACE DEFINITIONS
Pace: In running, pace is usually defined as the number of minutes it takes to cover a mile (or kilometer). Find a great (free) training pace calculator here.
Easy Pace: A pace you can maintain for an extended period of time. Ultimately, you define what your “easy pace” is. It is recommended that your easy pace be anywhere from 90 seconds to two minutes slower than your hard pace. Your easy pace may feel absurdly slow to you, but remind yourself “that every workout—even an easy run—has a specific purpose.”
Hard Pace: A pace that makes it difficult to carry on a conversation. You can still get a few words out, but you can’t speak in complete sentences.
Sprint/Stride (VO2-max Training Pace): This is your all-out pace! Dig deep and channel Olympian Aisha Praught-Leer. You should be completely breathless and feel like you are flying over the ground. This pace is often done in spurts/repetitions with recovery periods in between.

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