It’s not surprising that Peter Welchs Gym in South Boston has a Run Club with a motto as matter-of-fact as: “No roadwork, No Title.” If you know anything about boxing or boxing fitness, you know that putting in the miles on the road is as important as strength and conditioning training. Most fighters put in consistent miles every week.
And that's why at Peter Welchs Gym, in addition to fighter conditioning & fighter strength classes, they have a run club. Co-founded by Caitlin Ruocco, the PWG Run Club takes it to the street twice a week. We talked to Caitlin about the run club (you don’t have to be a member of the gym to join them), why roadwork is so important and her personal history with running in this weeks Out of Step blog post…
YORK: How did the PWG Run Club come about?
CR: When it comes to working out I’m the first to admit that I’m kind of crazy. Throughout all the transformations that I’ve gone through in my life, the one thing that has remained constant is that being active = happiness. I’m a big fan of double sessions. I typically take a PWG conditioning class in the morning to wake myself up and end my day with some form of strength training to wind down. But even with all this activity, I found myself missing plain old running.
I started running 3-4 miles through the streets of Southie before or after my night training sessions, nothing formal. I was able to casually convince a few of my friends to join me, and before I knew it people began asking me if they could come. It wasn’t long before there was a solid crew behind me – some coming to cut weight for an upcoming fight, some coming to clear their heads, and some coming just to mix up their workout routine. I talked to Pete [Peter Welch] about turning the group into a Run Club and extending the invite to both PWG members and non-members alike. I wanted to encourage people to step out of their comfort zones and prove to them that running can be both fun and rewarding! He was extremely supportive of the effort and helped my vision of the PWG Run Club come to life.
YORK: Why is it important for a boxing gym to have a run club?
CR: The motto of the PWG Run Club is ‘No Roadwork, No Title’ – which we wear proudly on our T-shirts. This phrase has different interpretations depending on who you ask, however, it perfectly explains the importance of the Run Club. At the broadest level, you have to be willing to put in the time, effort and hard work to achieve your desired result and be the best version of yourself– this extends beyond just the boxing ring.
YORK: What kind of routes/runs do you plan?
CR: Running can definitely be monotonous if there’s no diversity in the routes, so I’m constantly changing the routine. We meet in Southie twice a week in the Spring through Fall, each week geared towards a different focus. Some weeks we run distance around Castle Island and work towards beating our own personal records. Other weeks we run hills through the streets. One of our members created a route that has 11 hills--it’s a real crowd pleaser. There’s an outdoor track in Southie that we utilize for workouts when we want to incorporate sprints and bleacher runs into the routine.
I love taking input and suggested routes from group members and am always open to their feedback and ideas. The Run Club is made up of people of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels. I promise you, anyone is capable of completing all of our runs (yes, even the 11 hills), as long as they show up with a positive mindset ready to embrace the challenge.
YORK: What do you love about running?
CR: Running is a positive way for me to cope with the stresses of life – it provides a temporary escape from whatever is going on in my life and allows me to focus on getting my mind right before stepping back into reality. In addition to being an active mediation session, it allows me to develop strong relationships with people that otherwise may not have formed. Truthfully, it’s brought nothing but positivity into my life, and I try to help others discover the same benefits.
Running has never been about being competitive for me. I don’t care about coming in first in a race or beating my friends for bragging rights (unless they want to put their money where their mouth is). But in all seriousness, it’s about taking the time to focus on the good in my life, in a world that can be clouded by negativity. It’s about pushing myself further than I did the time before. It’s about encouraging others to believe in themselves.
To learn more about the PWG Run Club, visit their website or direct message Caitlin with any questions via her Instagram below: