Meet friends and co-founders Rebecca and Michael who are launching their first pop up fitness studio this week at Lululemon, Marylebone.
They will only be there from the 13th of January to the 27th of January 2018. They are planning on more pop-ups throughout the year with plans to launch the full studio at the end of the year – check out what they are about via our special link!
Rebecca’s background: property investment and interior design. Currently the director of a property group.
Michael’s background: data science and analytics. Currently head of analytics and insights in e-commerce.
Run Junkie is a brand new concept brought to you by two keen gym lovers who spotted a great opportunity: “The seed was planted after a trip to America in January 2017 where we saw the growth in treadmill only classes. We could see that so many people wanted to go running together, but there is always that issue of differing abilities in a group.”
Why London, and why now?
“We thought this idea had legs (sorry), especially in London where weather can be so unpredictable. However, the last thing you want to do is slog away by yourself on a treadmill in a gym when it’s raining, so we thought about the idea of having an indoor run club, and how it could resonate with a lot of our friends in the running community.”
Running isn’t like lifting weights where if someone next to you is lifting weights twice the size, they remain in the same spot. If someone next to you is twice as fast in a running club…you’re not going to be running alongside them for very long.
“Ultimately we are the number one customers here. We have tried to create something that we, as runners, would want to come back and try again and again. If other people resonate with the idea too then we know we have something special.”
Why do you think running has suddenly gained traction among the fitness crowd?
Over the last three years, running has become one of the highest participatory sports in the UK, and we don’t see this slowing down anytime soon.
The beauty of running is that we have all been doing it since we were three years old. It is the most natural form of exercise. We all know how to do it. What we are trying to do at Run Junkie is to help people become better runners and also have fun.
How did you discover the SkillMill, and would you recommend it against a regular treadmill?
We discovered the SkillMill, a self-powered treadmill, after an introduction to Technogym, who have been our partners every step of the way. Michael’s background is data, so he understands the importance of giving our custom data-driven experience with real-time feedback. From the data side, the beauty of the SkillMill is that if you don’t move…it doesn’t either. There is no straddling. We have all jumped off the sides of treadmills before leaving the belt running at 10mph. You can not do this on the SkillMill. If the screen says you’ve run 5k’s…you have run 5k’s.
The SkillMill is so effective because it genuinely trains you as an athlete and can give you a full body workout. Whatever you put into it you get out as you are solely powering the machine. It takes high-intensity training to a whole new level. You can work on power, speed, and stamina in one workout! It is also important to run with the correct posture, and the SkillMill encourages you to run in an upright position which helps build your core and have a more efficient running technique.
One of our missions at Run Junkie is to get the world running to our rhythm, and part of the class we actually have people running to the beat. No one has been able to achieve this before, as it’s almost impossible to do with a conventional treadmill. Since the SkillMill provides different resistance levels like a spin bike, people of differing abilities can keep to the same beat, and this creates an adrenalin pumped, challenging and fun workout.
What are some of the benefits of a Run Junkie class?
One thing we do differently at Run Junkie is that we use data to track critical running form metrics and feed it back to the instructor in real time. Imagine being in a class, and the instructor gives you personalised running feedback based on your performance. You will walk away from the class with more knowledge about your running style than you’ve likely had before.
How do you think data-driven fitness is going to shape the market in 2018?
Data is already massive in fitness in general, but we think there still only a handful of boutique studios leveraging the power of data. They usually fall into two buckets, spinning or heart rate. No one has tried to tackle this in running yet, and that is where Run Junkie comes in. We want to reward people for improving their form, and beating their max speeds, and we have the technology to do this. You cannot improve what you do not measure.
Why did you decide against a leaderboard, sending people individual results?
We aren’t necessarily against leaderboards. We think they can work fantastically, but they are just not for us. We wanted people to be thinking about their progress, and not concerned that they may be coming last in a class. We’re excited to be the World’s first treadmill studio to be emailing customers their data right after class.
How do you select your trainers?
We approached trainers we knew, and who’s classes we had done before. When we meet people, we can tell right away if they get what we were trying to do and get excited about it. The trainers we are working with understand what running means to so many people, and the idea of helping them improve inspires them.
We can have a perfect concept but put it into the wrong hands, and it falls flat.
Our trainers are incredibly talented at making a workout fun, effective and inspiring. We also love that they all have an appreciation for running. It is important to practice what you preach! Not forgetting each of our trainers has excellent taste in music! Running to the beat with the right tracks can be electrifying.
Article in partnership with Run Junkie. Don’t forget to follow Run Junkie on Instagram @runjunkielondon