Can I Keep Up With You?
People often send emails to me or to one of the Discussion Groups, basically asking "How fast do you run? Can I keep up with you?" There's no one answer to that. It depends on the run. Of course, you don't want to show up to a run that's out of your league, either too fast, or too slow. Unfortunately, this leads some people to wait way too long before showing up for a group run. So here's a little guide to the pace range for the various groups. But if you have a question, particularly about a group run, don't be afraid to ask! Just post a note to the appropriate Discussion Group.
Lunch Time Runs: The Rec Hall Regulars have the widest range of running abilities and pace. They're basically all the Club Regulars above "beginner" pace. The lunch time runs meet at Rec Hall in the warm-up area on the first floor beside the Main Gym and leave at 12:10 for their runs. The group can be anywhere from 3 to 12 or more runners. Because these runs tend to have the biggest range of talent, they often break up into smaller groups doing different paces and mileage. The slowest runners might run 4-6 miles at a sub-9 minute/mile pace. The fastest runners might start out with the group, but then pick up the pace and add on miles, sometimes doing 6 or more miles, with parts of it at a sub-8 min/mile pace. The group is very welcoming. "Graduating" beginners will often tag along, even if they can't keep up the whole time. It's a great way to meet runners and learn some running routes.
Despite its imposing sounding name, the Thursday Track Crew is even more open to runners of all talent, even beginners. Same deal as the Rec Hall runs. Meet at Rec Hall, leave at 12:10, jog to the Penn State Track indoor track (during the cold months) or the IM Fields or State High Track (warmer months), and do a workout. Or meet the Crew at the venue at about 12:25. (The location is kept current on the Group Run Calendar so you know where to go.) It's a big group (15-30 runners on any given Thursday), and you can do the workout at any pace or intensity you're ready for.
Weekend Group Runs: The Weekend Group Runs organized within the Club can be a bit longer than the Rec Hall runs. The runs can be anwhere from 5 to 12 miles, or more, particularly if somebody is training for a marathon. The pace often depends on who organizes it and what the intent of the run is. These runs are announced on the Group Runs web page, are put out via email to the NVRC Discussion Group, and placed our Facebook page and on the Club Calendar. The organizer usually mentions mileage and intended pace. If you have any questions, don't be afraid to post them to the Discussion Group!
- Rothrock (Tussey) Runs: If you see a Group Run in Rothrock State Forest posted, or if it mentions the Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK in the run description, be prepared for a bit of a challenge, though one well worth your effort. The Rothrock runs are generally run on the macadam or gravel roads in the mountains just outside of town. The runs in Rothrock are usually long (6-18 miles), and the pace is moderate (8:30-10:30 min/mile). But it's slower than the daily Rec Hall runs mostly because of the challenging hills (some 1000 ft climbs). Occasionally, a runner will post a run on one of the even more challenging trails in Rothrock.
Other: The Ladies' Early Morning Runs are, as the name suggests, for ladies. It's a great group of gals (I ran with them once in disguise). The pace is relaxed, but not a beginners pace: about 10 minutes a mile.