Monday, June 21, 2010

Need help training for a marathon?

Ha! Don't we all.

For runners on a budget, there are plenty of free resources out there that can guide you through your training (Runner's World's SmartCoach is one). But if you're looking for more support and instruction along the way -- and have some money to spend -- you might want to consider USA Fit Charlotte's and USA Fit North Charlotte's marathon and half marathon training programs.

The 22-week programs begin with orientation sessions/evaluation runs at 7 a.m. Saturday, July 10; participation is open to runners of all abilities ages 18 and older. Thereafter, participants will meet every Saturday morning for a group run at the Run For Your Life locations in Dilworth and Piper Glen (for USA Fit Charlotte) and in University City (for USA Fit North Charlotte).

For a one-time registration fee of $125 (or $100 for returning participants), you'll get: the weekend group runs, daily/weekly training schedules, access to running coaches, informational seminars, and a USA Fit marathon training technical T-shirt.

If you've ever priced similar programs, you might know that this is a reasonably good deal for a package like this -- average monthly cost is only about 25 bucks.

Balking at the prospect of early-morning group runs? Consider this: For many people, group runs are their favorite runs of the week. Having a conversation, or simply eavesdropping on the conversations of others, makes long runs seem to go by two or three times as fast as solo runs. It's like when you take a phone call on the drive home; you talk and talk, and as you hang up when you arrive in your driveway, you think, "Wow, I'm here already?"

You'll also develop fast friendships by joining a group because there'll be a built-in bond -- the shared desire to prepare for a marathon, the interest in running. As with any group dynamic, over several weeks, you'll eventually have sorted through the group to find people you have additional things in common with.

There are other ways to find running groups. The Charlotte Running Club is one. is another. Or, you can check with your local running store or health club. But if you think the perks the USA Fit programs offer are attractive, check them out. Consider the coaching/training and the "freebies" to be what you pay for -- and the camaraderie to be what you get back.

Have questions, or want to find out how to sign up? E-mail about the Dilworth or Piper Glen programs, or for the University City program. Want to share info about other programs, or other running groups? Do it here.


Anonymous said...

I ran with the USA Fit group two years ago and it is an excellent training program. It really is for all abilities -- there were many first timers and also experienced marathoners. And a wide range of paces, from 8:00 min/mile (or maybe faster -- I couldn't keep up with them) to 11:00+ min/mile. It is really a supportive and non-intimidating group.

This program is different from other local marathon training programs because it is not a run/walk approach (though you can stop and walk if you need to) and its not a fundraising program either.

Its a great way to stay on track with your training, accomplish your marathon goals, and meet lots of people.

Aaron Linz said...

Charlotte Running Club wrote a 3 part marathon training series that helps point folks in the right direction at:
Most of the good content Theoden referenced in this blog is presented there as well. Marathon training is about to get in full swing if you want to knock one out this fall. Happy Running!!!

Anonymous said...

I did a running class last year to prepare for a half marathon and loved it. The group runs make the required long runs doable and the added instruction/schedule is very helpful as well.

I am signed up for this class and ready to go.