CORE Running Group

When Valerie Walsh, Personal Trainer at Phys-Ed in New Milford and creator of CORE Running Group, asked us to join her for a running session, we said “Ok, but we don’t run.” Not so fast, said Valerie, who then set out to teach us that with the right training and support, most anyone (even us) can enjoy the running obsession! We learned some great tips for those thinking of starting (or getting back to) running. Let us share.

Post sponsored by CORE Running Group

If you are ready to finally conquer your first road race, come back to running after a hiatus…or maybe just need some accountability? This post is for you!

Yep, that’s us, running! There’s nothing like a group of enthusiastic runners behind you motivating you to keep going!
And truly nothing like having this lady as your coach…

Meet the coach! It’s about so much more than training for a race…

We asked Valerie why she created the CORE Running Group…nutshell: she was born to do this!

My entire life I have battled anxiety and bouts of depression. In fact, I grew up watching the person I admired the most, my mom, try to walk and stumble through her own life with anxiety and depression. No one wants to talk about “it”, especially in her day. So instead, as a single mom, she did the best she could and masked her emotions with unhealthy choices. These choices were probably the only ones she thought she had and ultimately, it is how we lost her.

There were no groups like this when she was a young mother. In fact, many women didn’t exercise anywhere outside of the home. The CORE Running Group is open to men and women of all ages and fitness levels. I want people to know that my passion for using exercise as one form of medicine and therapy runs deep. It is truly the CORE of my being and what I know my purpose to be.

Many who join CORE are not battling this, and even if they are, we certainly have a lot of fun together!”

But before we start our run….the VO2 Max test!


The what? The VO2 Max Test! We’ll let Eric Corson, General Manager at Phys-Ed Health and Performance in New Milford, explain in simple terms, as per our request! Phys-Ed is one of few places around that offer this test and the main aim is to help gym-goers reach their goals through great education and smart training.

Simple Terms: The test (which involves walking on a treadmill with a funny mask on) is basically how efficient you are at taking in oxygen and transferring it to the working muscles. The test results can be compared to standards in your age group to see where you stand. You’re also given specific heart rate training zones. Depending on your goals, this makes for a faster and safer progression.

Nutshell: The test helps to take the guessing out of your training and abilities, helps you to avoid injuries and means you can nerd out and use your time very efficiently. We like.

Eric plugging us in and reading our stats…

Ok, we’re ready to run!

With or without the VO2 Max test results, CORE Running Group will help you map out a training schedule just for you, and meets for three 10 week sessions throughout the year.

Pick a park

The group of 30 or so will meet for 10 weekly sessions at different parks in the area. Today we were to meet at Harrybrooke Park (we love this park!), but they also hit up Clatter ValleyCarlson’s Grove, and other beautiful local spots.

How does it work if everyone is at a different pace??

Valerie informs the group of the length of time running for the session, say a 30-minute run, and at 15 minutes you simply turn around and come back.

“Our Tribe, Good Vibes”

Not just running…

Although the group is almost always training for a race (usually a local charity race of small to moderate distance) the attraction for most is the camaraderie and conditioning. Running a race is certainly not a requirement.  All levels and all walks of life benefit from building endurance and enjoying the run buzz. Stay at home parents, chefs, photographers, doctors, bloggers…

Oh, also, what a deal!!

Each 10 week CORE Running Group session comes with a 10 week trial to Phys-Ed. Running plans generally consist of 3 days of running a week (including the group run) + cross-training (lots of good ones at Phys-Ed) and rest days. And that’s not all…the package includes two yoga for runners classes.

We asked Valerie to give us (and you) some tips on how to start running

For me, the biggest lesson I have learned in my years of running is to stick to a plan and keep things simple. Sometimes if you overcomplicate things; newest gadgets, complicated meal plans, etc. you may be more likely not to stay committed.

Here are some basic tips:

  • If you’re a beginner, mix in walking with your running. Build up steadily; work harder over time, not all at once. For example, 5 – 10 minutes of walk/run 2 – 3x per week.
  • Set goals. By doing so, you will be more motivated to stick with your plan…speaking of a plan, have one! I hear the CORE Running Group writes up wonderful, smart plans for runners. 😉
  • Run by “time on your feet” not distance. For example, 10 minutes out and back for 20 total minutes.
  • Lastly, listen to your body. Be aware of the difference between sore muscles and pain; always err on the side of caution. Take the recovery you need, when you need to.

Sound advice!

After the run…

The group comes together and meets in a field to do a CORE workout. This is a bit like team building. Passing about logs, medicine balls, fun stuff like that!

Coach Valerie Walsh and Harrybrook Park Executive Director Billy Mo Buckbee
Lastly, you can’t forget to stretch when you’re part of a group…just sayin’!

CORE beliefs

The CORE Running Group is about so much more than just running. It’s about improving the overall physical and mental well-being of all those that participate. CORE encourages all levels whether you are a walker, jogger or a runner. The group prides itself on building camaraderie through activity while giving back through local running events.

“We start out as a group of CORE Runners, we finish as a family.”

And one last bit of inspiration to start running before we hit the road again…we ran around the group and asked everyone for their…

We asked the CORE reason why they love the group…

“The people, the coach is very motivating, accountability and fitness, camaraderie (x5), friendship, motivation, inspiration, the social part!”

High fives to everyone and we’ll be cheering for you at the New Milford 8!

CORE Running Group offers Personal Training, Group Training & Customized Training Programs for Individuals with various goals, not only running.

Pics: Lora/ Words: Bev

This post has been sponsored

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© Copyright 2023. All rights reserved.