‘A game-changer for me’

Learn to Run program is back for a 17th season

Lindsay Somers, who leads the Learn to Run program at The Forks, out for a jog. (Suppleid photo)

A popular program for new runners returns to Winnipeg on Sept. 11. Lindsay Somers, who has more than a decade of training and coaching experience, will lead the launch of Learn to Run, along with her husband, Bob. This will be the 17th edition of the eight-week program since Learn to Run first began in the spring of 2017.

Somers says she wants the program to help people find joy in running, be outside in nature, enjoy the city and socialize with other runners.

“It’s not about competing, beating your time or getting faster. It’s not a race ... the motivation is to get outside, enjoy nature and to talk with others. Who cares how far you go or how fast you go? Just get out and move,” Somers says.

Somers wanted to steer away from running apps that track and analyze progress. The Learn to Run program is designed to minimize competitive stress and prioritize movement itself while experiencing the city.

One approach Somers uses on her signature 3-km route is the dance walk, where runners pass over several bridges and are encouraged to dance or shuffle along.

“You’re just picking up the pace a little bit,” she says. “This is for people to notice that there’s a different pattern here, a different rhythm here. Everybody’s bodies are different, and everybody’s mechanics are different, so we just want to ease into this movement.”

Every week during the program, there are new routes with 3-km and 5-km options.

“Over the eight-week period, people are learning to run by adjusting their expectations of themselves and their running limits – not by checking stopwatches or comparing themselves to professional runners.”

All 20 Learn to Run program sessions are capped at 60 participants and now sold out. Many returning runners appreciate the culture of accountability and Somers’ routes.

Camila Jerger, a Learn to Run participant since 2018, says the program has helped her make new friends, get fitter, try trails near downtown and embrace Winnipeg winters.

“I moved to Winnipeg from Brazil in 2015, and joining the club has been a gamechanger for me in terms of embracing our seasons and learning that winter can be a fun time,” Jerger says, adding that winter is now her favourite season.

The club “also has impacted others beyond the running-club participants, since I share my experiences on embracing winter with other newcomers and Canadians around me. They realize it’s possible to be active all year round and get inspired to try different activities, too.”

Although this Fall’s Learn to Run club is sold out, Somers, like previous years, plans to continue the club every season. In the future, tickets for the Learn to Run club can be found by following @lindsayhsomers on Instagram or through Eventbrite.

Published in Volume 77, Number 01 of The Uniter (September 8, 2022)

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