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Training & Coaching
4/11/2024 by Barbara Huebner

In-Training Got Dave Lucas Off and Running

There are the people who break their New Year's resolutions before bedtime on January 1.

And then there's Dave Lucas - with a little help from his wife, Laura.

As 2023 was about to dawn, Dave told Laura that he wanted to start sharing her pastime of running by doing that year's Triple Peach - the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race, the PNC Atlanta 10 Miler and the Invesco QQQ Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon.

A few days later, he received an unexpected email from Atlanta Track Club confirming his participation in the In-Training Spring Beginners 5K Program that was about to begin.

"I'm pretty sure I signed him up the night he told me he wanted to do the Triple Peach," recalled Laura, already an In-Training believer. "On my phone, in front of him. I always loved it, and it worked for me."

Dave didn't need to be persuaded. "It changed her life for the better and I said, 'I want to be part of that.'"

Up to that point, Dave had run a few times with his wife around the neighborhood, but even at her easy pace he couldn't breathe. As much as he wanted to run with her, it wasn't fun. At In-Training, he said, he learned on the first day that running with people at his own fitness level was the way to go. He gained confidence. He did the Atlanta Publix 5K two months later. So far, so good. He signed up for In-Training for Peachtree.

That's where he met Laura's running friends, and that's where things really took off. In October, less than 10 months later, he was crossing the finish line of a marathon. A month after that, he became a Run Lead, helping others train for the Publix Atlanta Marathon. Earlier this week, he became an In- Training Certified Coach.

"Every once in an Olympic cycle, give or take, we get a Dave," said Bob Wells, manager and coach of In- Training. "That is, someone whose training and results are truly astonishing. And while everyone may not be a Dave, what we do see time and again is that those who commit to their training find they benefit in ways they didn't expect. Similar to Dave, but at their pace."

Laura, a 37-year-old who works in communications at Emory University's Goizueta Business School, said she's hardly shocked that her husband has become a solid runner - "Dave is good at anything he puts his mind to and really works at" - but that she was surprised "at how quickly he got bitten by the bug and how he fell in love with it so fast."

How did it all happen?

"Accountability and the social aspect," said Dave, a 36-year-old who works in sales. "And for me, those are intertwined. I don't like waking up early, especially on a Saturday. But the in-person training runs are early Saturday morning. At first, I felt I had to go because otherwise I would be letting myself down, and Laura, and also all these people who were encouraging me and becoming my friends. That fairly quickly transitioned to, 'I'll be missing out if I'm not there because I want to see them.'"

Soon, he wasn't just exercising but also making other changes: eating better, drinking less, going to bed earlier. He dropped 60 pounds. All were things he thought he lacked both the time and motivation to do. But because of the prescribed program for In-Training, complete with the new friends and accountability it brought, "I stuck with it for once."

Wells, he said, was a huge factor.

"No one has the energy that man has," said Dave. "The energy and positivity that man exudes is off the charts."

As for Laura, she has been a constant at In-Training ever since she was introduced to the program in 2017 to prepare for her first half marathon. Neither she nor Dave see an end in sight, in large part because it has become their social outlet.

"The In-Training community," she said, "is very important to us."

With In-Training for Peachtree beginning next week, Laura urges people to put aside their fears.

"If they just show up and give it a shot, they'll find there's probably somebody just like them there - all different levels and all different sorts of people," she said. "I think you're really going to surprise yourself at what you can do. And you're going to meet cool people along the way."

Online orientation for In-Training for Peachtree will be held on April 14. For more information or to register, click here.