With the weather in DC finally starting to warm up, thoughts of summer marathon training are pushed closer to the top of our minds. If you’ve trained for a fall marathon before (especially in DC or other warm areas of the country), you know the early weekend mornings, the sweat-drenched runs, and the long miles that await. Marathon training is both mentally and physically challenging, whether this is your first marathon or you’ve done many. Fortunately, there are a lot of runners in the DC area, which means a lot of opportunities to run with other people. And if you’re running Marine Corps or another major fall race (like Chicago, NYC, Richmond), you are guaranteed to find other runners training for the same race.
Here are a few groups to check out:
1. Pacers Group Runs – All Pacers Running stores have group runs throughout the week. Check out the store that is closest to you for the days and times. It’s not uncommon for there to be special opportunities at the group runs, such as taking a new style of shoes on a test run or a post run whiskey tasting. The monthly Shake Shack is the 2nd Tuesday of the month and a lot of fun too. There are different options for mileage and pace for the runs, so all levels are welcome!
2. TW Training and Wellness – If you want more support with your training, consider joining a training program with a running coach. TW Training and Wellness offers both marathon and half marathon summer training programs, starting in late June. The marathon program targets Chicago, Marine Corps, and Richmond, but anyone running a fall marathon can join this group. A training plan that incorporates strength and cross training, support with pacing and any training questions, weekly emails, monthly workshops, and guidance on building your base until training officially starts are just a few perks of these programs. Check out all the program offerings here.
3. Running Clubs – There are many different running groups and clubs in the DC area. Most have multiple meetups throughout the week, so check out their social media and/or websites for exact times and locations! A few notable ones include Arlington Road Runners Club, District Running Collective, and DC Capital Striders.
With so many options to choose from, it really comes down to where you feel most comfortable and feel the accountability to attend the runs on a regular basis. And you don’t need to choose just one! You can be a part of multiple groups 🙂
Now, you may be thinking, “nah, I like to run alone.” I get that – running alone is more convenient and it can be intimidating to run with a new group. Training for a marathon is a lot different from just casually running, however, and having a supportive group can make all the difference in your training. A few big reasons to run with others when you’re training for a marathon include:
1. Accountability – It can be all too easy to hit the snooze button when your alarm goes off at 5am on a Saturday morning for that long run. Getting up really early on the weekend to run isn’t easy, but it’s better when you know you have people waiting to meet you with a smile.
2. Long Run Company – Even if you typically listen to music, doing the long runs on your own can be boring at times. From discussing the best running gear, to conversations about your pet, to encouraging words to get you through those tough spots of the run, having others to run those long miles with can be the difference between having a good run and a bad run. Even if you didn’t feel great during the run, you’ll have others to push you through to finish.
3. Community – The running community is alive and well in DC, and if you’re not part of it already, there’s no time like the present! Having a marathon or half marathon to train for is a great reason to start building that community, if you aren’t doing so already. Not only will your running friends likely become friends outside of runs, but you’ll have people to learn from along the way and to share in the marathon training experience.
Marathon training for most races starts in June, so now is the time to consider what group(s) you’ll rack up those miles with throughout the summer!
Tammy Whyte is the owner and head coach at TW Training and Wellness and is both a certified personal trainer (NASM) and certified running coach (RRCA). Her summer marathon and half marathon group training programs are open for registration, and she’s excited to help you reach your fall marathon goals! Check her out at www.twtrainingwellness.com and use code PACERS10 to save $10 on any training program until the end of April. Feel free to reach out with questions at [email protected]