Club workouts keeping pace with popularity of endurance event craze
Wed, June 26, 2013 at 13:11
IHRSA in Club One, Dakotah, News, Woodside Health and Tennis, endurance

Members of Dakotah! Sport and Fitness take part in a class for an endurance event.There is no doubt that the endurance race craze is here to stay.

In addition to the extremely popular Tough Mudder with its incredible marketing and packed-to-the-gills entrants, there are similar events - but less taxing on the body - like the Spartan Race, Warrior Dash, triathlons, half marathons and others. A little down the ladder are “mini” events like the Rugged Maniac, local obstacle course races and 5K and 10Ks, to name a few.

It appears that individuals are looking for new challenges. Jumping over fire, running down muddy mountains, and going out for a few hours of miles and miles of running, biking and swimming are the new ways to push yourself.


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With all the options out there, and more and more people hitting the gym and getting in shape, it is the natural progression that “boot camps,” group exercise classes and personal training specifically for these events are now being offered.

“I am not surprised one bit by the popularity of these races,” said Garret Jones, Fitness director at Club One in San Jose, Calif. “I think a lot of people think it looks like fun and sounds like fun.”

And it is not limited to areas that one would think of, like sun-splashed California and Florida.

“There are a lot of our members who are already involved in (endurance races) and are looking to improve in them,” said Faron McNeal, Personal Training director at Woodside Health and Tennis Club in Westwood, Kans. “Given the members want a great workout and need to train a lot for the races, we are giving them what they want.”

Jones explained that ClubOne in San Jose has occasional outdoor boot camp style classes. They run once a week for the two months before an event. The past two were for the Tough Mudder in Lake Tahoe and the Spartan Race in Sacramento. The classes were what you would expect – high intensity interval training workouts with props like tractor tires and battle ropes; there is plenty of climbing and crawling, and, of course, runs in between exercises.

He said there were 6-8 club members that have done endurance events in the past but participation in the “camps” swelled to around 20 when they were opened to members.

Dakotah! Sport and Fitness, on the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Reservation in Prior Lake, Minn., has a program specifically for the endurance races. In the past it has hosted events like the Couch Potato to Indoor Triathlon, as well as an outdoor triathlon. These events have seen classes associated with them. The next event is a little more in line with the endurance races as a 3-mile obstacle course – with about 20 hazards – will take place in September. The training that will accompany the event – for those who want or need it – will focus more on strength for the upper and lower body, rather than concentrating on cardio and running.

“We starting looking about three years ago to host an event like this,” said Renee Engeman, assistant director of Sport and Fitness. “But (being on the reservation) they are big on nature and preserving it.”

Dakotah! Will not being creating muddy areas and will be using the natural landscape, like downed trees and other items in nature, for many of the obstacles.

“We are definitely seeing a shift form a typical class where everything comes in a neat ball to members coming to classes and not knowing what to expect, with KettelBells and tractor tires. Members are enjoying the change,” said Engeman. “As an instructor I got tired of teaching the same class, with the same choreography, same music and same routine.”

An additional way for a club to show support for the endurance events is to put together a team – both club members and club staff – to take part together. It actually is a no-brainer as many of these events are not about finishing first but working together and supporting one another.

Teamwork is one aspect of endurance events that is intriguing to participants.“The most important thing with endurance craze is the teamwork aspect,” said Jones of Club One. “These events brings a group of individuals together with a common goal. It’s not like a half marathon where everyone goes at their own pace. It is geared toward everyone competing as a team. That is welcoming to people.”

McNeal added that not offering what is wanted by many of your members – there is not specific demographic participating in these events – is foolhardy.

“Anyone not taking advantage of what is happening in the industry is missing out,” he said. “They are missing out on an opportunity for revenue.”


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