MORE: Find your local shop
Small businesses are the fabric of our communities and the decision to shop local can mean the difference between success or struggle. Each month, our team will spotlight our favorite retailers, showcase their communities and celebrate shopping local.
This month, we’re celebrating our friends at the Extra Mile Fitness Company, because well…they go the extra mile for their customers! Out of Valparaiso, Indiana, the EXFC is a true extension of their community, offering everything from in-store services, groups-runs, coaching, races, timing and more! We caught up with owner Heather Henderlong to find out exactly what makes Valparaiso and the Extra Mile Fitness Company so special…
How did you get started running?
As a mom, I was looking for something to help motivate me to move and some “me” time. So I started running up and down a small hill in front of my house while my 3 and 6-year-old played on the front lawn. It just energized me when I finished. After a month of running, I signed up for a local 5K and felt so empowered after I finished.
What one piece of advice would you give to a new runner?
Usually, we suggest picking a plan that gets you out the door for 3-to-5 days for 15-to-20 minutes. During that time moving listen to your body and keep your pace at a conversation pace. If you can try and maintain this routine for 30 days to create an amazing routine. I also say it takes 30 days before you really start to feel relaxed and your body finds a groove for the movement.
What do you love about your town’s running community?
Valparaiso is a moving community. No matter what time of the day, if you drive around our town you will see people out running, walking, biking and rollerblading. We have over 20 miles of dedicated urban pathways dedicated to people moving. We have running events and training groups from the store but it’s just a conduit to bringing people together which in turn creates more groups of people running and walking. Our community is about inclusiveness and encouraging people to move. The Extra Mile Fitness Company is proud to be a part of the community and helping people find each other.
Share a personal running goal or memory.
Running has always been about finding time to relax and unwind. As we all know as runners, those magical runs where you feel like you can run forever without much effort don’t come very often in races. I was very fortunate to have a magical run at Boston in 2015 hitting the goal time of 3:33 for my 3rd Boston. From the moment, I crossed the starting line to finishing in iconic Boylston Street, I felt like I was floating through the entire race. I felt like I was watching the race from above as I made the trek through Wesley and the Newton Hills. Those types of runs are why I keep running.
What’s your favorite Saucony product, and why?
Prior to 2020, I would have said the Freedom is my favorite product. With the release of the Endorphin Speed and Pro, it has been a game-changer. The roll of shoes just makes running so effortless. It enables you to maintain great running form without thinking about it. It puts a bounce in your step and makes running so much fun.
Want to know more? You can visit Heather and the Extra Mile family through the channels below.
The Extra Mile Fitness Company
1330 E. Lincolnway. Valparaiso, IN 46383