Interested in training for your first long distance race? Tired of calling your watch your only running partner/coach seven days a week? “You can’t underestimate the power of a group,” says Kelly Maurer, Charm City Run Training Group Director. If you need convincing, check out our top reasons to join a training group below. Or, if you are already a training group regular, enjoy nodding your head in agreement as you read through our list.
Even with the best intentions, sometimes it can be tough to actually get out the door for a run. When you have set meeting times twice a week, you can think less about when you’re going to run and enjoy your time out there. According to Bill Rodgers, former American marathon record holder, “The best thing you can do to ensure consistency in running is to join a training group.”
2. Less Planning
Continuing with the theme of thinking less, supported group runs make preparing for long runs and workouts way easier. With provided route sheets and water stops, you are guaranteed two low-maintenance runs during the week.
3. Expert Coaching
"Your coach will be the leader of the group providing you a training plan, motivation, nutrition and hydration tips, and any other information or tips you will need to get you to the starting line prepared to reach your goal," says Kelly. When it comes time for speed workouts on the track, steep hill workouts or interval training once a week, your coach will be there to motivate you and tell you exactly what you need to do.
4. Accessible Advice
Your coach is there to help not only during weekly workouts and runs, but during the week to answer questions and give advice. Have a sudden pain in your ankle and you’re not sure if you can run on it? He or she can give you a first opinion before you make an injury worse and provide personalized recommendations.
5. Customizable Training Plan
Your coach will email out a weekly training schedule but this can easily be adjusted to your own needs. There are different training plans depending on your level of experience, so fear not if this is the first long distance race you are training for! Work, family and other events can make running on a schedule difficult, but adjustments can always be made to make your training plan work for you.
6. Useful Education
We’re not talking about boring lectures. Training groups have access to clinics and Q&A sessions covering topics ranging from nutrition and foam rolling to race course tips and injury prevention. These opportunities are great supplement to all the actual running you are doing and just as important in your preparation for a great race day. "We will bring in local PT’s, nutrition experts, and those experienced in training to help you get what you need to find your 'run happy' experience," says Kelly.
7. Measurable Improvement
It’s rewarding to test yourself throughout your training and mark your improved strength and speed. When you find yourself improving your interval times from the beginning of your training, you know you are taking the right steps (literally) to prepare yourself for a successful race.
8. Increased Confidence
We’re not talking about boring lectures. Training groups have access to clinics and question and answer sessions covering topics ranging from nutrition and foam rolling to race course tips and injury prevention. These opportunities are great supplement to all the actual running you are doing and just as important in your preparation for a great race day.
9. Fulfilling and FUN Race Day
"Race day nerves are not so bad when you know others lining up next to you at the start of the race," shares Kelly. "You may have others in your group that have run that race before and they have experiences they can share with you." In addition, having a group to check in with before, during and after your race makes the day that much more enjoyable. Seeing familiar faces on the course gives you others to pace with and celebrating your achievement with your group after you have crossed the finish line is an even better feeling than receiving your medal.
10. Welcoming Group Atmosphere
"Everyone in the group is feeling the same hesitation when they commit to a race or a training program - can I do it, I don’t want to run alone, I am slow, I don’t want to be last, and the list goes on," explains Kelly. "However, you will get the support of the group as well as you too will give support to others." And there’s nothing that brings runners together more than sweating through mile repeats on the track together and you’ll quickly feel like a part of a training group family.
"Many lifelong friendships are formed over the miles you will share running together throughout your training." - Kelly Maurer, Training Group Director & Coach
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Now that you're hyped to run with your next training group family, join us as for one of our upcoming training groups!
About the Author: Lizzy Peper
Lizzy is the Marketing Coordinator for Charm City Run. Previously she worked as a part time Sales Associate for two years in the Timonium store. Lizzy ran competitively as a member of the cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field teams at Towson High School and Marist College. She co-captained the Division I Marist women's cross country team in 2015 and graduated in 2016 with a degree in Communication and a concentration in Public Relations.