Heartbreak Hill Running Company




byMel Klein, June 3, 2017

Most of us have been to our fair share of fitness studios with a dedicated apparel section, but what about an apparel/shoe store that houses a fitness studio? Heartbreak Hill Running Company’s Cambridge location flips the script and does just that, giving a whole new meaning to run club with their treadmill studio. This studio-store brings a unique mix of classes appropriate for experienced and novice runners alike. Heartbreak Hill Running Company was a nice change of pace, for sure!



Our instructor, Jarick Walker, explained his name is a combination of both of his grandfathers: Jared and Patrick. We found this fitting since his Power 26 class felt like a nice combo of Barry’s Bootcamp plus OrangeTheory, with an added community vibe bonus of the November Project. This 45-minute class kicked off with a brief warm-up, followed by 26 minutes on the treadmill and a 15-minute finale of kettlebell strength training. Having dabbled in races ourselves, we appreciated the not-so-subtle nod to the 26 miles of a marathon–we’ll take minutes over miles any day!

Each treadmill included a reference guide for speed ranging from levels one to four, with one being a jog and four being a maximum effort sprint. There was a faster sprint option for average runners at seven and and a more amped-up version for elite runners at nine and higher. Jarick took us through a series of intervals that typically lasted no more than a minute, before transitioning to another speed or incline. For this particular class, the incline never exceeded 3.0 which kept things a little easier than expected, but rest assured, the sprints will have you breaking a sweat.

The strength training session wasn’t the strong point of the workout. But for those looking to incorporate a little more total body, it gets the job done though. Many of these exercises serve in-training runners well, proving this studio clearly knows its audience. Several sets of squat jumps, single-leg dead lifts and bicep curls later, and we were out the door with a high-five (medal, Heatsheet and banana not included).


“You’ve gotta be an athlete before you can be a runner”, explained Jarick. True words spoken from the former college athlete. Jarick was a natural in his coaching role and impressed us with his charming demeanor. Unlike other high-intensity tread classes in town, Jarick understood that everyone doesn’t necessarily want to sprint at a high pace, which was encouraging to runners of all levels. He kept the energy high throughout the class and was clearly a fan of his own rap remix/throwback playlist. We were, too.


The Tread Studio is visible from its Mass Ave. storefront window, but can only be accessed through the Heartbreak Hill Running Company store. If you haven’t checked out one of their stores before (also in the South End and Newton), then good luck walking away without purchasing a new jacket or pair of shoes.

After the salesperson checked us in on their iPad, we were shown the small locker and shower area. The locker area was shared, and out in the open. But to be honest, we weren’t expecting much, if anything, so it’s nice to know these are both available, even if they’re not glamorous. Runners can expect a relatively dark studio, illuminated by interchanging neon lights above. The studio itself fit just over a dozen Woodway treadmills, arranged in two rows, facing a mirrored wall, with a small rack of weights in the corner. Positioned above the weights was a CrossFit-esque digital clock that served as a countdown through the workout. While the treadmills are spaced out nicely, the strength training portion of class took place behind each runner’s treadmill, which felt a little cramped. Perhaps the highlight out the studio though was the back feature wall. Comprised of glass, this showcased all of the brightly colored running shoes available for sale on the store side. A shoe-in to winning over any runner.

Heartbreak Hill Running Company

294 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA, 02139
Cambridge Running $$$

Heartbreak Hill Running Company

Cambridge Running, $$$

294 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA, 02139

More studios in Cambridge