Member Story: How I use my Echelon equipment to train for runDisney races

Member Story: How I use my Echelon equipment to train for runDisney races

Echelon is there to push you and help you achieve whatever goals you have whether it's on our equipment or out in the real world. Our new sponsorship with runDisney is kicking off its 2024 race season this weekend and we are so excited to be a part of this iconic event. Read how Echelon community member, Jennie Mueller, uses her Echelon equipment to train for runDisney races and beyond!

Question 1: How long have you been an Echelon member and what equipment do you have?

I purchased my Echelon bike back in 2020, right as Covid first started to come about. Being able to work out in my home while I was stuck inside was a welcome to my routine and I was excited to have a way to cross train with my running goals to help make myself stronger.

(My bike journey was difficult. I got an EX-4 from Costco that broke down after a few months of use. It was replaced to break down again. Then, it took me a year to get a new bike which is now a 5? This one has been working out great for me and I love it.)

Question 2: What is your favorite part of the Echelon Community and why?

There is something to be said for the Echelon Community. Anyone that I have talked to about Echelon and purchased bikes or such and or are part of the Echelon Community are a different group of people. Echelon users are more down to earth, enjoy bringing people up and offering encouragement. I absolutely love the trainers/instructors as they come across as being one of us. I have taken a few Peloton classes to see the difference and compare them and I honestly do not get the same feeling that I do with Echelon. I enjoy the smaller classes and formats. I have a few instructors that I really like and take their classes often. I feel like I can be me and do what I need to do to work out and use the class offering to fit my needs and training and there is always something there…. Though I do have some class offerings that I miss and would like to see more of as in the last year the ones that I used regularly seem to have disappeared altogether.

Question 3: What keeps you coming back to Echelon and your equipment and the community?

After 10 years of working out, I have learned a lot about how the best way to get the most out of my workouts and to avoid injury as well as providing a lasting ability to being able to keep moving as I get older. Echelon offers me cross training in an environment of my choosing so that I am comfortable and enjoy the experience. It offers me different options on FitPass and cycling so that I can grow strong and continue to be healthy. The price is affordable for my situation and the ability to do the classes when I have time to work out is extremely beneficial. I take advantage of my gym at work to do the strength classes with the weights and my iPad and when having a tough day, a yoga class to ease the stress at work. At home, I cycle, take bootcamp, core and stretch classes to round out my days and or workouts. I like the variety, the instructors and ease of being able to port my classes with me wherever I go… even when I travel!

Question 4: HOW has/will Echelon help you prepare/train for your runDisney race? What upcoming races are you participating in?

I love this question as anyone that knows me knows I can talk about Disney all day and being able to combine two of my favorite things is fantastic!! Hopefully I keep this, relatively, short.

runDisney is the main reason I got involved with Echelon to begin with. When I first started to run, I did an app, C25K. At the end of it I had a 5K scheduled, well a 4 mile race as it was local and my town has a pretty scenic route that runs around a lake. When I completed it, the spark took to my soul and started me on my journey. I am always one to push myself, find new goals to work to and ways to achieve them. I decided I wanted to run at least one race of every mileage. 5K, 10K, half and full. Then there are the little ones of a 15K and such. I wanted to be one of those hated car drivers that have those terrible ovals on the back of their car marking their running journey. I know my body and how difficult marathon distance is and only wanted to do one marathon. I learned, about this time, about Disney races. I could not be more excited. At the time I even worked in a Disney Store as a cast member and never knew of this amazing thing where I could combine two things I was passionate about. I set out to save my money to be able to run my one and only marathon in Disney World. How cool is that? To go to the one place where no matter what was going on in the world, I was happy, and it was all magical and amazing and run a race that allowed me to touch all the places within that land of magic. I finally got to the point where I could afford to go and run in Disney and reached out to a few Disney running groups on Facebook and fell well into one that was supportive and filled with amazing people. I learned all about the process and in 2019 I decided to sign up for the 2020 marathon. Since, I was going to be at Disney, I decided to do the Dopiest thing ever and go for the Dopey Challenge. All four races in four days. Crazy! Why not? I have completed a half and several 15K, 10K, and 5K’s now. I could train and do this. I thankfully got in and was able to sign up and my six-month training started. When running 48.6 miles in 4 days and all the miles training, you really need to be at the top of your game. You cannot only run 3-4 times a week. The body needs strength in other places, and I learned this along this way. Core, legs, arms and breathing are all very important to running. I started to read, talk to my running group community and learned the value of cross training. While many of these things I learned when training for the 2020 Marathon weekend at Disney, only weeks before the world shut down, I applied many of these techniques after the fact and use them today. So far to date, I have been lucky enough to run in Two Dopey’s, 2020 and 2022 (the last one before Covid and the first one after Covid) Princess Weekend in 2022, Wine and Dine is 2022, as I wanted to run all the races in one year, and Springtime Surprise in 2023. When Disneyland opened up their races again, I jumped in to do the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge in 2024 and now talking to my Canadian friend about doing the Halloween Bash weekend in September 2024, but the signups are not until February for that.

I make these elaborate excel spreadsheets. I put on them what I need to do in a week and check them off. When I signed up to run Dopey in 2020 I started to try out Jeff Galloway’s (also a large runDisney supporter) way of running which involves walking and running in intervals. This reduces injury, which I have had a few scares with as I am bull legged and nobody thought I could run let alone run for as long as I have and makes running much easier. Learning to run this way was difficult but I would not run any other way now. I want to be 80 and still running, no matter how slow that may be. With his training there is two maintenance runs a week followed by a long run or two, depending on the race or challenge, on the weekends. I supplement one of the maintenance runs for an Echelon cycling class as the goal is keeping the heart rate up for x number of minutes and the cycling class reduces additional stress on my calf’s. I do one 30-minute strength class with weights from FitPass a week along with Dani’s intervals and arms 30 min class on Wednesdays. I try to do 2-3 10 min core classes from Fitpass a week and take Jama’s 60 min endurance cycling class on Saturday mornings with my long runs on Sundays. Below is my current workout routine for the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge. This will be the 5K, 10K and Half. I know rD does their 5K separate from the challenge but if I am at Disney, I am running everything I can.

I do listen to my body, and sometimes the weather is not helping me with my workouts, or I am truly too tired to get up, but I try to get in my three bikes a week along with my two to three runs and my strength and core classes. If I am not running, I am using a class from Echelon to help me be the best I can be. Oh, and for good measure, I have two Siberian Huskies (aka Husky Momma name) and I also walk them 4-6 miles a day on top of my training. They sit with me while I take my cycling classes and they watch for me when I run. They are my cheering squad through all of my workout journeys.

(green highlighted is workouts already done and orange is planned workouts leading up to the Dumbo weekend in Disneyland. Training schedule for running portion is taken from rD’s website with Jeff Galloway’s weekly run routine layout. I sub in cross training with Echelon and the runs to work with my schedule. Days of rest is usually a 10 min core class only, so I do not note that)

Question 5: What keeps you motivated to stay active?

When I first started my exercise journey it was very difficult. I know this sounds corny, but I kept having to tell myself to “Just do it”. In 2013 I was a single mother, with no outside support, of three kids ages 5, 8, and 10. I had to find a way to get moving. I desired to lose weight (once a size 14 and weighed in at 175lbs) and get back to myself. I could not walk up a flight of stairs without feeling winded and my knees screaming in pain to me. I woke up early, 4am early, to start my running journey. My friends who ran were skinny so I thought I could try it. I hated it. I had to prepare the day before and when my alarm went off, I had to not think, get up, and go, “Just do it”. I always felt better after and that is what I focused on. Six months into running I became addicted to it and the time of waking up so early. Fast forward to now, I still get up before the sun. I run under the night sky and the stars shining down on me in the still of the morning with the foxes, skunks and deer running past me. I always try to find a goal to work on. Having a reward of sorts to work towards makes getting motivated a lot easier. I still work out according to my schedule and what I am training for and no longer need to force myself to go. I do have my mornings sometimes, but it is not a struggle as it use to be.

Long story short, having a goal and routine always helps get me though my days. Then again, at this point, after 10 years, if I am not doing some sort of working out everyday my body screams at me with all the energy pulsing through me and I have to do something to get it out.

Question 6: What advice do you have for someone who is new to Echelon or working out?

For those whom are new to Echelon, do not be nervous or afraid to try. Make a schedule, create a goal and get on the bike and go. Your butt will hurt but after about two weeks you will get use to it. Try live classes as they are fun, and nobody is watching you. Try different instructors as there will be ones you like and ones you do not. Try Everything. Keep getting up and going on the bike, stretch and do yoga with FitPass, lift a few weights no matter how small they are. (I started out with 2 lbs and now up to 15-20 depending on the workout). Be the best version you can be as getting up and trying will only make you stronger. Do not let yourself talk you out of doing a class. You will never regret the workout, but you will regret not doing it. You are worth it, jump in, have fun and watch the best version of you come out because of it.