“Run a mile every day,” was a challenge that dietitian Donna Pertel took on as a way to lose weight. Partnered with CrossFit, she found it was a great way to raise her conditioning level and shed a few pounds, without losing muscle mass.
She told the success of this challenge to Tina Ramos, owner of CrossFit Boston Iron & Grit, after Ramos was struggling to find a challenge to run in the summer for her members. Thus, the Grit Running Challenge was born.
The challenge runs for two months, with a Scaled and Rx’d division. The Scaled division runs one mile a day, seven miles a week. The Rx’d division ups the ante a little by running three miles a day.
“After six weeks if you truly do a mile a day, that burning engine that you naturally have, your metabolism, ends up kicking up a few notches,” said Ramos. “We have some really incredible young guys who are great lifters, but their conditioning is always off. We started to tell them to just run a mile a day and they will see it slowly go up.”
Participants get points by running their daily distance, but they also can gain bonus points by completing other offerings. For instance, the challenge started on Memorial Day weekend, so by participating in the Murph workout runners were awarded a bonus point.
“We did a 5K to raise money for programs in our community and they got two extra points for that,” said Ramos. “We have an internal house throwdown in mid-July where they get three points for participating in that towards their running challenge. What came out of it that I wasn’t expecting was that people got really competitive, but in a funny way.”
Another added benefit that Ramos didn’t see coming when she started this challenge was the number of members who stayed with it while they went away on vacations throughout the summer. While CrossFit Boston Iron & Grit usually deals with members going to the coast at this time and putting their membership on hold, Ramos was able to keep a better grip on them through this offering.
“The people that go away for the summer usually put their membership on hold, but because of this challenge we were able to keep in touch with them and they were able to check with me on the Nike Plus app to keep tabs on them,” said Ramos. “I could see weekly what they were running and I could say, ‘Hey, I saw you ran 17 miles this week, how are you feeling?’ We were able to keep in touch with members who leave for the summer which wasn’t expected but was great.”
The community forged from this competition also makes the running a little more plausible. If you aren’t a runner to begin with, Ramos and her coaching staff break down workouts that are more doable, like starting off by just running 400 meters, and working your way up to the mile.
“It is really social,” said Ramos. “People end up staying longer after class to all go out for their mile run together, and stay after to stretch together.”