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Many runners are creatures of habit. They plan their running schedule months ahead, have several go-to roads and trails they hit, and generally run at the same time everyday. While this is certainly a great trait to have, it’s important to remember to leave room for switching things up every once in a while. For example, trying out a new cross-training program or hitting up a new fitness studio in your area. While some runners might try to avoid adding other workouts to their regimen, it’s important for you to remember that cross training can actually improve your running and make you a well-rounded athlete. Bridget McBride, Westport, Connecticut Bar Method Owner can attest to this. Gone For A RUN sits down with her to chat running, Bar Method, and her tips for incorporating a new workout into your routine.

Bridget McBride Bar Method Westport

  • How many years have you been running? I've been running since an early age--I started around age 12!


  • What is your favorite thing about running? I have three young boys under the age of 5, so someone is always with me! I absolutely love running with my BOB strollers--I have both a single and a double depending on how many want to come with me. It's harder than running solo, but helps me with posture and to engage my upper body more.


  • You mention that Bar Method helped you to improve your marathon timing, can you tell us a little more about that? My first marathon was Honolulu and prior to starting Bar Method. I ran San Diego less than a year later after cross-training with Bar Method 3x a week and shaved off almost an hour on my time. I truly believe the quad-strengthening exercises we do in class along with targeted core work made me lighter on my feet and less-prone to injury. I felt great!


Bar Method Westport

  • What differentiates Bar Method from other exercise programs? Our number one priority is safety. Every instructor goes through rigorous training in order to properly get people into good form and also to modify based on body type, age, injury, pregnancy, the list goes on and on. We work diligently with a team of physical therapists to make sure what we are doing is effective. Another big difference is the range of motion in which we work--which often times is no bigger than one inch. We place people into position and instruct them to contract deeper into the muscle by moving in small isometric motions, which essentially means you never get a chance to "release." Super hard!


  • How many times of week do you recommend runners participate in a bar method class to feel the performance benefits? At least 3x a week. I do 5, but I'm super addicted. I do notice my long-distance runners take class more around this time of year as it's often too cold to be out pounding the pavement!


  • For someone who might be hesitant to join a Bar Method class, what are a few pieces of advice you might have? Something I always tell people is that you do not need a dance background--in fact, I've never danced! Also, the Method is for everybody--not just young people, and not just women. Two of my very favorite clients happen to be a (very famous) NFL player and an 75 year old female ex-FBI agent. ;) You never know who will be in class next to you. And lastly, it's much harder than it looks! Classes are super low-impact (done in socks), and first-timers are always shocked at how much their bodies are shaking during class.


  • What are the 5 most important training exercises/stretches you would advise runners to do? Kneeling hip flexor stretch, Bar stretch for the hamstrings, TFL stretch (crossing straight leg over midline utilizing a stretching strap over the foot for resistence), Standing quad stretch by tucking and pushing top of foot into hands, calf stretch with back heel pressed all the way down.


  • Do you have any races planned in the near future? I just had baby #3 and he's 4 months old, so nothing on the horizon quite yet, but I look forward to getting back out when the weather gets nicer! I'd like to do the Fairfield Half Marathon!