Saturday, March 10, 2012

How to Find the Right Marathon Training Group

When it comes to marathon training groups, some runners love it and others hate it. It really depends on the personality of the runner. Runners who enjoy the solitude of the trail or road may not enjoy sharing the experience with others. Introverted individuals may feel stressed being around lots of runners. While others thrive on the energy of other runners around them. Neither course is right or wrong. They're just different methods for achieving the same goal.

However, if you're new to marathon training, if you've tried training on your own and just can't seem to stick with it, or if you've run several marathons and feel you've plateaued, then joining a marathon training group may be just what you need. A marathon training group can provide the confidence to cross the finish line the first time, complete the training, or set your next PR.

Determine Your Level
Not all marathon training group programs are alike, so do a little homework before you sign up. In the town where I coach, there are marathon training groups for women only, there are marathon training groups catered to the elites, and there are marathon training groups (like the ones I coach) that support a melting pot of levels. Some programs (even though they’re group) cater to the individual by providing training plans designed for each group member’s specific needs. Others have everyone on the same plan. Again, there’s no right or wrong type of marathon training group, but there may be one that’s better suited to your personality and/or running fitness level.

Meshing schedules is another key factor. Find out in advance how many days a week, which days, and at what time the group will meet for the weekly group runs. There’s no point in joining a group if you’ll only be able to make two of the group runs during the three to four months of training. If you sign up for a group for which you know it will be hard to make the runs, then deep down you’re probably not fully committed to the training. That can spell disaster and/or disappointment.

Price is another factor to consider. If you Google running coaches in our area, you'll find that the prices can vary widely. Don't just go with the cheapest group offering. Select the one that best fits your budget, but also be sure to select the one that best fits your needs. Coaches and groups that provide fitness screenings, individual plans, and ongoing support may cost a little more.
To read the rest of my tips for how to find the right marathon training group, please go to

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