January 2023 Newsletter

Note from the Editor

Happy New Year, everyone! May this upcoming year be filled with physical and mental and emotional wellness, and may you have many miles ahead of you in the next 357 days. This month it's a short newsletter, which indicates that you all had a busy holiday season - but also that you'll have lots of fresh fodder to submit for upcoming letters - please send them our way!

In other news, this will be my last newsletter for a while - I will be on maternity leave from this volunteer gig for a few months. Nicole Losavio will be your full time editor until June. Hopefully by then I'll be back to editing. My New Year's resolution is to participate in the spring Couch to 5k as I get back on my feet. I look forward to rejoining the UVRC community again as soon as possible. But please keep sending in submissions to keep me entertained until then!

Anne Farrell

UVRC Newsletter Team

Article Collection
Robert Jones

UVRC Newsletter Team


Running Plans for 10K, 10 Miles, Half-Marathon, and Marathon

By: RJ

It may sound hackney and like it’s better suited to being a quote on a tea bag (looking at you Yogi) but when it comes to running it is about the journey not the destination. But that’s because you will literally spend more time training then you will racing. Many training plans to build up to a distance race involve several months of effort whereas the average race will take you a few hours to a day depending on your distance. Point being that where your investiture of time truly lies is in the preparation.

So given that, it is important to have a good plan if you want to achieve your distance and or time goals. I’m a big proponent of finishing a race first and worrying about the pace the next time, which is to say I advocate for setting yourself up for success by having realistic goals, sticking to a plan, and being flexible in your expectations of your body. You may feel disappointed that you didn’t get your goal pace but never forget that just finishing the race is a huge achievement you should be proud of, and given the amount of time you spent training you should be proud even if you did not finish the race. A race is not an end all be all metric of success. 

All that aside, it is still very difficult to not feel the bummers when you work towards something and it does not quite go the way you hoped. Which is why if you have racing goals this year I am here with some recommendations on training plans to help you achieve them! I am not an expert coach but I do have some experience running and am decent at research so I’ve scoured the internet for information and found that actually many people have already done the legwork. One such person has a blog post that is loaded with free running plans far more thorough then the few I will be adapting. Full credit however goes to Maggie at Running for Sweets: https://runninforsweets.com/free-running-plans/ who did all the heavy lifting which has more running plans geared towards beginners.

However, it should be noted that the famous Hal Higdon also has plans for just about everything as well and they can all be found here: https://www.halhigdon.com/training/ and is fairly comprehensive

I will also be skipping the 5K distance because we have a very solid program developed by our own Keri Niles! So if you have interest in that, I 100% encourage you to connect with her or better yet join the Couch to 5K program Spring session! 

But if you don’t feel like clicking through all that here are some minimalist plans adapted from Hal Higdon.

10k Training Plan

10 Mile Training Plan

Half Marathon Training Plan

Marathon Training Plan


Weight Lifting for Runners

By: RJ

Running as an exercise is great. It is efficient, it potentially gets you outdoors, and it can boost that sweet sweet neurochemical dopamine. However, running on its own has the potential to be damaging to your body. This is because if you are constantly using the same muscles to do the same actions over and over again, your body smartly assumes these are the primary muscles you need and neglects other ones making them weaker and opening you up to injury. This is why we recommend cross training i.e. doing other activities that engage different muscle groups, thus keeping your body well rounded and maintaining musculature  that supports a wide range of movement. 

While cross training by doing other cardio activities (biking, hiking, XC Skiing) can help develop other muscles, you can also target them directly by weight and resistance training. And before you run out to get a gym membership or pop over online to get a set of dumbbells remember that primarily what the gym provides is the access to standardized weights and equipment. But you are always in possession of the most economical set of weights, which is of course your own body. This is to say that you don’t necessarily need to hit the gym or buy something to strength train and I'll discuss both bodyweight and external weight exercises here. But first some general guidance from the experts (not me, I am shamelessly ripping and distilling from coaches such as Joe Holder and Jason Fitzgerald).

So why do we want to weight train? From the most pragmatic stance it’s about efficiency. Efficiency from making the muscles that drive your run stronger so you can get more push per stride, efficiency from strengthening the muscles and connective tissues that keep your body together so you can reduce injury risk, and efficiency from being more in tune with your own body as much of weight training is about intentional movement and form. You can certainly also weight train for gains and mass but that requires a more significant nutrition change and training mentality so we won’t talk about that here where the goals are to increase strength.

Is there a reason not to do weight training? Not really as it so happens! We all can benefit from some weight training! The primary concern about weight training for runners is that we’ll increase our mass and that will impact our speed. But generally speaking if you are keeping it to a moderate level of training without vastly changing your diet, this will not become an issue. The second concern is injury. It is horrifically easy to hurt yourself while weight training which is why you MUST nail your form early on and BEFORE you begin increasing the weight. Consider the following advice

  • If the exercise involves weights, begin by performing the motion without weights to understand the form
  • If it is a body weight exercise, perform it slowly at first and with control (awareness of your body at all times)
  • Always begin with a weight that you are certain you can do 
  • Add weights slowly, like every 2 weeks slowly
  • It should be a struggle not a strain. If you have to scream your way through the reps, you have too much weight
  • Listen to your body. If it feels like you are doing more than you can handle, or if your form feels off, decrease the weights and or the reps until you can find a balance. There is no shame in working out smart. 

Alright so we’re going to do some weight lifting, what is our overarching strategy? Well as I mentioned we are going after strength improvement not muscle mass. This means periodic workouts, appropriate rest, and heavy loads. To sum it up

  1. Train the whole body from top to bottom ideally with compound exercises that engage multiple muscle groups. 
  2. Lift heavy (once you have good form), basically you want a weight that you can do 4 repetitions with effort and numbers 5 and 6 will be a struggle. BUT if even doing 1 rep is a struggle, then that weight is too high. 
  3. The end goal should be many sets of few strong reps.
  4. Respect the rest period between sets. We are all busy but your body needs about 2 minutes between sets to get ready again so give it time
  5. Don’t forget the core. The core is the cause and solution to many mobility issues and having a stronger core will almost always benefit you
  6. Workouts should be 2 to 3 times a week. Try to have at least 3 hours in between a run and a strength training session to reduce fatigue. 
  7. Be consistent, commit to working out at least once a week. Unfortunately you can begin losing what you’ve worked for within a few weeks if you stop. So keep at it!
  8. Change it up, surprise your body. When you are comfortable and confident in your form you can vary up how you workout by changing the weights, reps, holding a position, and increasing or decreasing the speed. But always do so within the realm of control. 

And now for the biggest question; what do you actually do? Well it’s been said by the pros that all runners need is to: push, pull, squat, hinge, carry, and lunge. So here are some free weight and body weight exercises and some helpful youtube videos to show that (I think the videos do more to help illustrate good form). Happy lifting Friends

  • Bench Press
  • Push-Up
  • Pull-up
  • Rows
  • Squats
  • Deadlift
  • Suitcase hold
  • Farmer’s Carry
  • Lunge
  • Calf Raises
  • Planks
  • Glute Bridges
  • Fire Hydrants
  • Hip  Abductions
Runner Profile


Name: Helene Sisti

Town: Wilder, Vermont

Where are you from originally and what brought you to this area?

I am from New Jersey. My job at Norwich University brought me to this area. My family would always vacation in southern Vermont, so I have many fond memories here.

What do you do professionally?

I’m a Professor. 

How long have you been running? 

Since I was 14.

How long have you been running competitively?

I competed for 8 years (high school and college).

The road races I’ve done on and off since college, always at the 5k distance.. It is only since joining UVRC that I started entering 10k’s and winning my age group!

Why do you run?

 I love it!

Recent memorable moment while running?

The New England Half-marathon in Concord, NH. It was my first one! It was so nice to see all the smiling faces of the UVRC runners at the end of the race.

Best athletic accomplishment and why?

Being on the All-Time List of 400 meter hurdlers at Dartmouth College. When the list first came out there were only about 10 of us. The list has grown quite a bit, but because it’s based on time, my place is cemented :).

If you like to race, notable race moment? OR most memorable race?

My most memorable race was when I qualified for ECACs in the 400 meter hurdles. It was my PR. It felt so good to float over the 8th hurdle. My teammates told me that I was smiling during that race.

Cross training activities? 

Mountain biking and alpine skiing

Any notable streaks or other unusual running events?

When I lived in Philadelphia, I ran with the Fishtown Beer Runners Club. We’d run all throughout the city, then meet at a bar for a drink.

What made you start running?

I joined the spring track team freshman year in high school. Gymnastics was my fall sport and I was looking for something fun to do after school in the spring. I also did high jump and long jump back then. 

Are your reasons for running now the same or different than the reason you first started?

I run because it feels good. I like to challenge myself and to be outside with people. The reasons are pretty much the same as when I started!

Why did you join UVRC? 

Before moving here, I was down in Haddonfield, NJ. They had a great running club and I really enjoyed it. Even just running once a week with a group of like-minded people really energizes me. As soon as I moved here last summer, I looked for a running club in the area. I was very happy to discover UVRC!

Ever run in a costume? 

I have not, but I love when people do!

The only running shoe for me is…

A motion stability shoe.

Ever been injured? How did it happen?

IT band syndrome- I increased my mileage too quickly without the right stretching.

What is your favorite race?

Any Turkey Trot

Favorite running book/film?


How about favorite work out?

I like the “fartlek” workout. Hills and ladders are always fun too.

If you could run with anyone, who would be the person? 

My youth gymnastics coach, Kerry Sanwald. He had a passion for the sport and was an inspiration to me.

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