Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Smile! Concord, NH a training Mecca

New building in Concord with the right attitude
We spend a lot of time on this blog talking about races we've done or are planning to do, but today we wanted to spend some time talking about the place where we do the majority of our training for those races: Concord, NH.

We've lived in Concord nearly as long as I've been running and with all the races throughout the country and world that we have since done, we haven't found a place that affords quite as much diversity in terrain or scenery, proximity to races, and great training partners as Concord.

Just within city limits you can swim in a river, two good sized ponds or at the YMCA, spend all day climbing Carter Hill/W. Parish or stick to flat terrain out on 106, run the busy city roads, quiet roads of NHTI and the bike paths or take it off the roads altogether with the amazing trail network behind Concord Hospital and over at St. Pauls. Come winter, they groom White's Farm so you can skate or traditional ski or you can snowshoe on those same trails that you've been running all summer. Within the next few towns you can climb several peaks(Mt. Kearsarge via bike), swim in some of the cleanest lakes in the country and run trails as technical as anywhere. Within an hour's drive you can get to the White Mountains, the ocean, or Boston depending on your training prerogative. Need to get away? How about two major airports within an hour both accessible by public transportation? Sick of training? With some of the best skiing in the East nearby, you can definitely amuse yourself on the slopes, or some of the best granite on the planet for rock climbing. Spend a relaxing day at the beach, whether it be a lake, river or the ocean it's all clean and refreshing.

What we gain in accessibility and proximity, we do not give up in scenery either. Some of the best foliage, prettiest mountains, lushest forests and beautiful and cleanest lakes in the world abound in New Hampshire. It certainly makes training far more enjoyable when you can look around you and see the miracles of nature without a smog-filled hue. Also helps to have a low-crime rate, and few, if any, dangerous animals or insects-allowing for an uninhibited outdoor adventure.

Have you seen how many race NHTI alone has? We have the CARS series, the Granite State Snowshoe Series, the New Hampshire Grand Prix, the Will Run for Beer, Freeze Your Buns, Mine Falls Trail Series, Western New Hampshire Trail Series and several of the New England Grand Prix races within a half hours drive. Three marathons and three half-Ironman(Timberman, Mooseman, and the new Mascomaman) with 45 minutes. Once you start counting northern Mass races, you'll find enough races to fill nearly every day of the week.

And there are people that do them all. We live across the street from Dave Audet who's run a sub-3 hour marathon in every state in the US and still runs everyday. A block down the road, Ryan Kelly, the professional triathlete and fellow aR member. Looking to go for a trail run? How about Rich Lavers of Seven Sister's Fame or J. Massa, a podium finisher at the Tough Mudder and one tough mudder. Want a great track workout with national-caliber coaching? A short drive to the Gate City Strider's track workouts will get you there. Need a tri coach? How about Steve Reed or Sean Snow, multiple Ironman HI finishers, offering different training strategies. The Concord area may actually have one of the highest percentage of Clearwater qualifiers in the country when you look at everyone who has qualified and how small the town is. We've also got Connor Jenning's who holds UVM's 3,000 meter record and, of course, little old Amber Ferreira. She coaches, works as a physical therapist and is a professional triathlete! All in a town of less than 30,000 people. Not too shabby of a group to train with. Need a little more encouragement? Jeremy Woodward will gladly whip you into shape with his functional strengthening program which I did this morning and now cannot move my arms or legs or abdominals or...

So while we may not have the huge mountains of Colorado, the year round dry, clear roads of Arizona, or endless swimming of Southern California, we do have a little bit of everything in moderation, which like everything in life is actually best for us(and our training).

UP NEXT: Providence 70.3

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