Cape May Influencer Blog Series: Cape May Running Store Interview With Harry Back


If you’ve been following our Cape May Influencer Blog series, we sat down with Harry J. Back, co-owner of the Cape May Running Store and asked him a few questions about the history of the store and the upcoming running events.

In the second part of this interview, Harry talks about the training, coaching, nutrition plans, and more that the Cape May Running Store offers clients. Check it out.

Cape May Running Store Q&A With Harry Back 


Lisa: It’s wonderful when the sport and community can come together for a greater cause. I saw that you have a lot of various runs to do throughout the town. Your website shares multiple options-  3k, 5k, 10k, and you have various routes throughout Cape May that anybody can access. So what do you recommend for beginners?

Harry: I think anybody who wants to start a running program they should start out super slow, taking their time. I always like getting people started with just a combination of walking and running. So maybe you jog for three minutes, then you could walk for five minutes, and then you start to shorten those walks and lengthen the time that you're running. I think for the beginner, it shouldn't be about the distance, it should be about time. I think I'm going to get out and I'm going to do my walk/run for around 40 minutes. It progresses up and then you eventually start adding to it and can say, "Well, how many miles did I do today?" I try not to get people to think about miles in the beginning until they're off and running full time without taking any walking breaks.

Lisa: For those of us that aren't self-starters tell us about the coaching that you offer?

Harry: Yes.You can go on to the website or stop in the store. On our website,  click on the CMRC Endurance Training -- some people find it intimidating, but it isn't. I work with wide ranges from beginners to people that are training for Ironman.

Lisa: Is that something that's one on one or do you do groups for that?

Harry: One on one. Usually, I have an initial meeting and then we'll meet every once in a while or I'll join them for their workout sometimes, but it's all on an online platform.

Lisa: On average, how long would it take for someone to feel comfortable?

Harry: It's individualized. I actually give them workouts to do. I utilize an online  platform called TrainingPeaks where I can see how individuals progress, and can monitor progress to make on-going adjustments each week based off their previous week.

Lisa: Oh, so this platform allows you to work with people virtually from anywhere? You don't need to be in Cape May? 

Harry: Yes that's right. It gives us great flexibility.

Lisa: Do you offer a nutrition plan to complement the program?

Harry: Yes. Some people need nutrition and we supply that as well. It definitely gets pretty involved in terms of doing a program to look at their nutrition now and then look at what their goals are. Then we’ll adjust their nutrition plan based off of what they're lacking or what they're getting too much in terms of where they're trying to get. Is it to lose weight? Is it to gain muscle? Is it just to eat healthier?

Lisa: Yes, and for endurance runners and exceptional athletes, I imagine nutrition plays a significant factor if you're doing the long races. It sounds like you offer many styles of coaching.

Harry: Yes, everybody's different. I take every individual that I work with and no one plan fits all. So that's why we meet, they fill out a questionnaire, we talk about what their specific goals are, what their background is, and then we start with one week at a time. Then at the end of the week, I sit down, I review everybody's week, and then make adjustments based off of that. There are people that like going to the track and doing track workouts. There are people that absolutely despise it, but there's always more than one way to skin a cat. And so I can just adapt that workout to the road or take a road workout and adapt it to the track.

Lisa: How many coaches do you have?

Harry: Currently, it's me and my wife. My wife joins in for the swimming side of it and the nutrition side of it. I push a lot of that towards her because that's really her strong background.

Lisa: Oh, that's great because you cover everything that's so important for a sport like running and so many related sports.

Harry: Yes, we have basketball players, soccer players, softball players, baseball players. It doesn't matter. If you're moving in the offseason, they should really be doing some kind of running program.

Lisa: And you're open all year?

Harry: Yes. We will slow down when it gets colder and be open weekends in January and February, and then add days back in March and then move back to every day.

Lisa: Harry thanks for sharing your wealth of information and giving us the place to go for all our running and training needs. We will look forward to checking out the upcoming races and encourage our followers to stop in for advice and gear!