Our UESCA December Coach of the Month is Robyn LaLonde, founder of EDGE Athlete Lounge in Chicago. As both an endurance athlete and owner of an endurance sports-based business, Robyn provides valuable insights into how to get motivated, the most common training mistake athletes tend to make and how to stay fit in the gym. Our only question is… when is EDGE coming to NYC?!
As the owner of an endurance sports training facility, what was the primary catalyst for starting EDGE Athlete Lounge?
When my husband Brian and I started to train for longer endurance events we quickly realized that groups of Athletes love to ‘ride the high’ of a workout or race and continue to hang out after the session. We’d frequently find ourselves at a bar enjoying each other’s company, retelling stories from the day, picking apart the course – and yet we kept thinking that there should be a better way to recover and still hang out…out of that, EDGE was born. It’s a place where you can train, recover, refuel and repeat all under one roof.
Being around endurance athletes all day, do you find it hard sometimes to motivate yourself to train and if so, how you get motivated?
Never hard to find motivation with our group of kick-ass EDGE Athletes, but definitely hard to find time – it’s my biggest hurdle. Getting creative with fitting in miles helps – “running” errands, creating run meetings vs regular meetings, and joining in on the miles with our groups are all great ways to fit in fitness.
Is there a primary training mistake that you see a lot of your athletes making?
Not respecting the Recovery phase – that means everything from cutting recovery intervals short in a speed run, to running recovery runs/paces too fast, to not sleeping enough or utilizing recovery modalities (ice baths, legs-up-the-wall, compression, foam rollers). Fitness is only actualized through the Recovery phase – without it, we simply cannot use the work that we put in.
How important do you find camaraderie to be in maintaining motivation during a training program and for athletes that are not members of a facility like EDGE, what advice would you offer?
Honor the Sweat Bond.
We refer back to this Axiom quite a bit at EDGE– because at the core of it all, we are all stronger together. It’s what keeps us accountable, holds our paces in rough patches, and supports the countless miles covered on long runs. The fact that most of us do this electively – train and race out of passion for the sport – it means that we connect with each other on an unparalleled level.
That ‘sweat bond’ can exist in a variety of ways – between members of the same gym, runners on the same team/pace group, even virtually in a group on social media. Whatever way that you can connect to like-minded athletes, DO!
What are three ‘must do’ strength exercises that you’ve found really help runners?
I love anything Single Leg – SL Deadlifts, SL Squats, even SL Burpees or Mountain Climbers. When we run, we’re only ever using 1 leg at a time, so working that into strength training means better balance and power, with less risk of injury.
Straight Armed plank with Diagonal Holds. Lifting and landing opposite arms/legs in tandem while stabilizing the spine is a great way to address imbalances and fire up our kinetic chain.
Child’s Pose with Belly Breathing – I like to use it at the end of a strength or run session to get heart rate settled, expand the lungs and really use that diaphragm. Also, a great way to open up those shoulders from bad desk posture!
What’s your favorite ‘non-endurance sports’ activity?
This one is easy – hanging out with our pugs Bruce and June – they are the king and queen of the recovery nap!