Training Programs Are Starting! Like to know How They’re Working?


Learn to run or become a better runner at the upcoming Spring Training Programs at The Runner’s Soul!

Running can be the simplest yet most effective form of exercise - it’s portable, can be done anywhere, and is low cost. Getting started, however, isn’t always as simple as going out and running three miles on day one! It can take several weeks of incremental training to get to that point; and it’s not uncommon for many beginners to give up because of breathing difficulties, knee and other joint issues, and just plain boredom.  

Training program graduate Lisa Kelsay decided to join this past fall when she signed up for a Thanksgiving Day 5K. “After the age of 40, walking as a form of exercise wasn't doing it for me anymore,” she explained. “On my 41st birthday, I decided to do something about it and try something I have never done before - run a 5K and do so in under an hour.”

After panicking slightly, a friend suggested that she sign up for the Couch to 5K training program at The Runner’s Soul. Kelsay says that having the accountability to others was a key motivating factor. “We trained with the group twice per week, and were expected to do a third day on our own,” she said. “In the group, I was more motivated than when I tried to run on my own in the beginning.”  

Coaches Dave and Judy Polkow recognize that each runner is an individual with their own set of needs, and they thus personalize the program as much as possible. “I was told all of my life that I would not be able to run because I have bad knees,” said Kelsay. The coaches took action proactively with Kelsay; they designed a hip and leg strengthening routine for her to do at home, which helped to strengthen the surrounding muscles that support the knees. They also suggested she get fitted for new running shoes at The Runner’s Soul. The staff videotaped Lisa running on a treadmill, and discovered that she had some form issues which were contributing to her knee pain. “Over time, after many daily strengthening exercises, my knees hurt less and the ice packs and heating pad was put away!”

Kelsay successfully completed the 5K and finished it in about 36 minutes, way ahead of her amended goal of 45 minutes. And this spring, she plans on running several 5ks, one with a newbie runner friend who was inspired by her journey!

Our training programs are also helpful for those looking to better their current performance or push through hurdles that are limiting their improvement. “Before running with Coach Dave, I would spend too much time in my head concerned about this ache or pain or if I was breathing too hard,” said training graduate Stephanie Brasie. “I couldn’t get past a couple of miles, afraid I was going about it all wrong.” With coaching, she was able to manage her expectations and learn what was normal, as well as how to add miles gradually to avoid injury.  

Fifty pounds overweight and facing medical issues, Brasie realized one day that she had to take action. “I had high blood pressure and was taking 5 pills a day, which weren’t doing any good,” she said. Brasie joined Weight Watchers and began eating properly, and then decided to get back into swimming. “A former coworker of mine had begun coaching the Master’s Swim Program at York High School, and within a week I was back in the pool.  I learned that Coach Dave also coached a running group at The Runner’s Soul.”

After numerous attempts to try to get her to join the running group, she finally broke down and signed up when Coach Dave told her he didn’t expect her to run every day, and that he wanted her to be able to talk while running. It was downhill from there; Brasie decided that she was going to train to be a triathlete. She completed her first triathlon that summer, reached her goal weight,, and ran her first 5K, 10K, and half marathon, as well as two more triathlons.  And just this past year, Brasie completed a Half-Ironman, ran a half marathon in under two hours, and finished her first full marathon! 

Brasie says that the support of her training partners, along with a great coach like Polkow, were essential to her success. “Knowing that my partners will be there for the workout motivates me to get my butt out the door – they provide distraction, support, and comedic relief that make training enjoyable.”

Running Coach Dave Polkow says there are plenty of success stories just like Lisa and Stephanie that have trained through The Runner’s Soul. “Our workouts are based on time and not distance, so that everyone in the group starts and finishes together,” he said. “We also try not to have anyone running or walking by themselves.”

While Dave is a USA triathlon coach with years of in running and multisport racing, his wife Judy, also a coach, is a physical therapist with over 25 years experience, and has run distances from 5K to half marathons, along with multisport races.  Judy says she understands from firsthand experience the “back of the pack” mentality.

“We work to make everyone better, whether they are a true beginner or a seasoned racer,” Dave said. “We do our best to make it fun and a part of your life!”

These highly lauded programs, which begin April 16th, feature motivating and knowledgeable coaches, a tried and tested program that really works at helping you achieve your goals, and a supportive peer group. The Runner’s Soul offers two different training programs to best fit your needs and goals. Our Couch to 5K Training program is a progressive program for the true beginner that begins with more walking, and is designed to gradually evolve into more running than walking. At the end of the session, participants will be able to complete a 5K (3.1 miles) at a relaxed and comfortable pace.

Our Spring Training Program is appropriate for all levels of runners, and is designed to get you to your next goal. This training is designed for the beginning runner who can run a mile to the experienced runner who just wants to improve on some aspect of his running.


Join us for our Spring Training Kick-off Meeting on Sunday, April 6th at 4:30pm. Coach Dave and Judy will be on hand to answer any questions you may have and provide you with information about the training program.

If you cannot make the meeting, sign up for Beginning Running /Couch to 5K  Here or for Spring Training Sign Up Here.