By Ginger DeShaney
A miserable workout led Rebecca Skudder to find her stride … and found MyStryde.
While training for a half-marathon back in 2014, Rebecca was supposed to do a running workout on the treadmill because it was cold out. “And I was like, this is miserable,” she recalled. So she took a spin class to change things up and get in her workout.
“While I was in that cycling class, I was like, why don’t they just do this for running and make running on the treadmill so much more fun?”
Assuming spin-like classes existed for running, she went home and started looking for studios. There were none. She decided she needed to change that.
In 2016, the self-trained entrepreneur opened her first MyStryde location in the North End. In December 2020, she opened her second running studio, at 850 Summer Street in South Boston. The neighborhood has embraced the studio with open arms. “It’s been really great for us,” she said.
Rebecca, who was a standout soccer and track athlete at Union College, makes sure her clients are not miserable like she was on that life-changing day.
“We hate getting bored,” Rebecca’s website, mystryde.com, states. “We also hate doing just one type of workout. A well-rounded week includes cardio, strength, and a combination of the two. That’s why we offer a number of different class types — no boredom, no overtired legs or underused muscles.”
While some of the classes are running focused (very much like a spin class but on a treadmill), you don’t have to be a runner.
“People think that it’s a scary workout because we have treadmills,” therefore thinking it’s just for runners, Rebecca said.
“Oh my gosh, no! We get people who just want to work out,” she said. The workouts are interval based and on an effort scale of 1 to 5 that the athletes determine for themselves. So if you’re on the treadmill for part of the interval, you can run or you can walk.
“It’s a great workout,” Rebecca said. “All levels are truly welcome and honestly all levels are in our classes.”
The studio, which sells sneakers and other merchandise, offers the following classes: Power Stryde (strength and treadmill combination), Power (strength training), Stryde (treadmill workout), and Stryde + Strength (strength and treadmill combo).
There’s also a free running club that meets every Tuesday at 7 a.m. “It helps build the community,” Rebecca said, noting the club is for every level of runner. Between 15-30 people usually show up to run Castle Island. “It’s just a nice way for people to get to know each other,” she said. “We’ve had some people who just moved to the neighborhood.
The studio has showers for men and women, so after the run (or your workout), you can shower up and wait for the bus to work. “It’s a great way to start your day,” Rebecca said.
In addition, the studio organizes socials, networking events, challenges, and more.
MyStryde also has a coaching component (visit MyStrydeTrain.com), with between 80-100 clients, said Rebecca, who holds the record for the 1,500 meters at Union.
Real-world business school
Rebecca was in her mid-20s, living and working in Boston, and trying to figure out how to start a business.
During this two-year journey, the economics major read an article in the New York Times about a new running studio that opened up in New York. “This is what I was thinking,” she said. “This is what I meant. So it solidified it; I’ll try to be the first one to open in Boston. So that kind of pushed me a little bit.”
She learned as she went along. While her major didn’t help her with starting a business, it did give her the tools to think outside the box.
“This is going to be like my business school,” she told her dad.
Looking back on it, the real-world test and trial of building a business, finding locations, managing employees, securing loans, managing the books, marketing the business, “it’s almost better than business school,” she said.
Her job at the time was downtown and she would walk around and look at all the little sandwich shops, restaurants, and businesses. She recalled a Steve Jobs quote: “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that are no smarter than you.”
“I would think of that as I passed all these businesses … if this person could do it, I can do it. If that person can do it, I can do it.”
And do it, she did, despite a lot of people telling her no. “It wasn’t handed to me,” she said. “So it means a little bit more.”
While managing two locations, Rebecca also teaches 10 to 12 classes a week. “I should probably teach less,” she laughed. “But I love teaching so much!”
When she’s not working, you can find Rebecca running, hiking, skiing with her husband, and hanging out with their dog.
“It’s been honestly so amazing,” she said about her Southie location. “It’s been great.”