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SpeedPass Paves the Way Back to Running

Anne Halpern

Sometimes in life even the seemingly smallest decisions can evolve into incredibly gratifying and life-changing results.  This is what happened in the mid-1990s after I moved from Long Island into NYC.  


Upon moving to the city, I decided to join an up and coming running club – the NY Flyers – as a way to keep up with my fitness and to socialize.  That one small effort of filling out the application form, and sending it in the mail with my check for the nominal annual membership fee, launched the beginning of what became a wonderful and ongoing journey.  

I immediately started running with some neighborhood friends and kept up with them on the six mile loop of Central Park.  They were training for the NYC Marathon, so of course I took on the challenge, too – a challenge that felt intriguing yet daunting and completely unachievable. I loved it and quickly caught the marathon bug. ????

My Long Island friends were amazed and impressed that I took on the challene of running a marathon! Crossing the NYC Marathon finish line in 1995 was pure elation -- an experience that I credit to becoming a Flyer and receiving encouragement from my close NYF running friends and my other teammates, along with the guidance of former Flyers Head Coach Cliff Held.  

Finishing My 2nd Marathon -- NYC Marathon 1996


Reminiscing about those marathon days, it's amazing to see how much has changed.  GU or other sports gels were not yet on the market, and instead we gulped glucose tablets and gummy bears. With no wrist bands for tracking our splits – only markers – we wrote them up and down our forearms. While racing may have changed, running with my Flyer friends rooted me in my new home, NYC. 

Met Lifelong Friends with NY Flyers
Liz Greco (Baer), Dorian Romer, Me,
Erin Stoeber (Mulvey),
Betty Margolin (Fuchs)

Over the next subsequent years, I ran a few marathons here and there, and also dabbled in completing a few triathlons.  Life was and remains good! Although my last marathon was in 2011, I continued to lace up my running shoes and stayed fit by training and racing other distances and also by attending NYF speedwork sessions.

NYRR Mini 10K circa 1986 -- my first of 23
I was so nervous I didn't sleep the night before!

I am now returning to running after an 18 month hiatus. I knew what I needed to do. Start small and work back up with both distance and speed. I reminded myself of when I first started running in the mid-1990s. I set and achieved small goals that will establish the basis for working my way back. Easy for me to set goals, I'm a Capricorn!????


Thankfully, SpeedPass helped pave the way.  Coming back to running this summer after my hiatus, SpeedPass (or shall we call it "Motivation Mondays") provides me with everything I need to be this year's “comeback kid.”  The prescribed workouts are just what the doctor ordered!  Since it’s a small group, I've gotten to get to know my teammates better, which is – simply stated – so nice! 

The encouragement and instruction are invaluable at SpeedPass. I learn something new at each session from Coach Amy and Coach Jim such as improving my running mechanics and pacing myself more productively.  I started running stronger and faster in just a matter of weeks.  SpeedPass combined with strength training 3x per week is really doing the trick for my overall running performance!

Maybe One Day Coaches Amy & Jim
Will Take SpeedPass to the Beach! ????


Here are some of the details about the SpeedPass Program. Each of us receives two Quality Sessions per week. The first Quality Session is a coached group speed workout and the second is a long run or another speed workout, your choice!  Following a group warmup, we divide into smaller groups so we can run with others at a similar pace. 

SpeedPass Summer/Fall 2022

We meet up every Monday in Columbus Circle for our group speedwork. All workouts are published to each participant’s calendar, which provides our target goal paces based on the VDOT formula --VDOT measures current running ability -- developed by Jack Daniels, PhD.  Coaches Amy and Jim closely monitor how we're doing at each workout, and also online in the training app.   

Practices typically finish around 8 pm with some strength and mobility exercises. Amy and Jim are very accessible in between workouts so I can email them at any time with comments, questions or updates to my calendar.  Often they'll provide us input and feedback with their own comments and questions on our calendars, which helps us to feel held gently accountable, and very loved ????????

Working to Get Back to this Most Fit Version of  Me

So for those of you who want to get faster while enjoying the camaraderie and coaching SpeedPass has to offer, I strongly encourage you to give it a try next season!  I can't think of a better way to spend a weeknight. There’s nothing that beats schvitzing (or, in the winter, freezing) in Central Park, heading home with an endorphin smile on your face and then having the greatest night sleep ever. Join us!  Your journey awaits! ????

-Anne Halpern