Fitness Spotlight: RunWILD

When masterminds Phil Zimmerman, Steven McNeal, Beth Meadows, and Alicia Keller came together to coach this season of RunWILD, they wanted to do things differently. Instead of another season of training runners at Percy Warner, this group of coaches wanted to add in an extra dose of adventure and community. Thus, the Tour of Trails was born.

Ten weeks. Ten trails. But an unlimited amount of support from this unique crew. Having evolved from a trainee to a trainer, Beth Meadows has offered some insight into this season. "We wanted to make the trail training appeal to a wider audience. We offer training for a 6 miler, 10 miler and a 50k. We also wanted to introduce people to nearby trails so that they can utilize training on them even after the program ends. It's been cool to see the community growing and see how they benefit from accountability."

the runWild crew at beaman park. *photo courtesy of alicia hunker

Trail runner, Scott Thompson, has been with the RunWILD trail training group since the summer of 2013. He has benefited from the training of the past, but has enjoyed the new changes that these four coaches have implemented this season.

JH: How has it been training at the different sites?
ST: Although we have trained on just three different trails so far, it has been a great experience. We have run on different terrains with varying difficulty and technicality. Mixing it up like this will prepare me for just about any course I race.

JH: Have you noticed any major differences between this year and the past few?
ST: The biggest difference I see this year is an emphasis to create a trail running community, not just a training group. In the past we would meet up to train then everyone would go their separate ways until the next training group. This year, there is a push to ride together, hang out after runs and meet up at other times to socialize. Without that community, it is easier to miss your running goals or stop running all together.

JH: Do you feel like RunWILD has adequately prepared you for your races?
ST: Without a doubt RunWILD has better prepared me for races. I trained on my own for the first trail race I ever ran. I was remarkably unprepared for it. The training program has taught me that there is more to training than just getting out there and running. Since joining my first RunWILD group, I have never felt that I was unprepared for a race. That feeling of confidence from being prepared has helped me in my transition to running longer distance races.

JH: So you feel like you're getting to know the trails of Nashville a little bit better now?
ST: I have previously run all the trails we've trained on so far. There are several on the schedule I haven't run yet and I'm really looking forward to checking all those out!

*Photo courtesy of scott thompson

If you've ever considered trail running, feel free to join the RunWILD groups at Percy Warner on Tuesday evenings. These runs are open to anyone craving some time out on the trails with their community. For more individualized attention and coaching, look out for our next session of RunWILD in the summer!