Regardless of the weather, our cover couple, Rosalie and Tom Franek of Hiram, find plenty to do outside throughout the year.
Well-known throughout the running community in Northeast Ohio and beyond, they’ve coached hundreds of athletes. Physical fitness is important to the Franeks. They live what they believe — and a big part of their time is spent outdoors during Northeast Ohio’s long winters.
Ages: Tom, 53, Rosalie, 54.
Married: 30 years.
What they do: Rosalie is a licensed massage therapist and owns Right Path Massage & Fitness, LLC (rightpathmassage.com) in Hiram. Tom teaches horticulture and arboriculture at Kent Roosevelt High School and is a certified arborist and owner of Butternut Hill Farm, a cut-your-own Christmas tree farm.
Favorite outdoor winter activities: For both, it’s cross-country skiing, ice skating, running, mountain biking and hiking.
Favorite places to explore outdoors in the winter: Backyard trails around their farm and in Hiram Township and village, Chapin Forest and Girdled Road Reservation (Lake Metroparks).
How do you stay fit the rest of the year?
We run, mountain and road bike, hike, cut and carry wood, dig trees, sheer trees, plant and maintain the garden, push a wheelbarrow, etc.
We do two days per week of functional arm, leg and core strength. We stretch and use a foam roller daily and get regular therapeutic massage. We truly believe that one of the keys of maintaining fitness, weight and energy levels throughout the years is not only to “exercise” regularly, but to pick leisure, recreational and social activities that keep you moving.
Tell us about your kids. Fitness runs in the family, right?
Bridget, 30, is a women’s distance coach at the University of Akron.
Josh, 27, is a Sherwin-Williams store manager in Baltimore, Maryland.
Both competed in track and cross country in high school and college, along with other sports.
Bridget continued to run professionally and qualified for many international races, along with the finals of the women’s steeplechase in the 2012 London Olympics. She now trains and races in trail and obstacle races. Josh continues to run and bike and also trains and competes in rowing and belongs to the Baltimore Rowing Club.
Any tips for people 50 and older who want to stay active in the winter?
Of course, gyms offer a variety of workout equipment and class opportunities. These are great if you have access to them and enjoy the social part of classes. A mix of cardiovascular activities, strength training, and yoga or stretching classes would be a great way to spend the winter.
However, our personal favorite is to just get outside. Dress in layers for the weather; there are so many nice wicking-type clothes today that are light and keep you very warm. The fresh air and sunshine are great for you.
Walking and hiking are fantastic. If you want to try cross-country skiing, you can rent skis at Chapin Forest in Kirtland, and they have a hotline so you will know what the trail conditions are. There are many walking and running events scheduled all year round, so pick one, get a training buddy and get out there and train.
For example, we are traveling to Minneapolis in January to race in the World Master’s Cross Country Ski Championships. And Rosalie is training to run in the USATF Master’s Indoor Track National Championships in March.
Marie Elium met the Franeks at a middle school cross-country meet where they cheered each kid as he crossed the finish line.