Price is another factor to consider. If you Google running coaches in your 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.
Finally, meet the coach. Running organizations come in all sizes. There are one-man-shows like mine and others that are large enough to have multiple coaches. You may love the lead coach and then discover your group is being led by a different person. So, don't assume that the person you talk to is the person who will be your coach. Ask. Talking to your future coach you will tell you a lot.
Once you've selected your group training program, you'll need to get your head in the game. Do a little self-evaluation and talk yourself up before starting the group. If you're a very competitive person, but not an experienced runner, then that competitive nature can get the best of you. Go into the training, knowing that there will be runners faster than you?and that's OK.
Remind yourself that you'll gain strength, endurance, and speed throughout the program. You don't have to have it all on day one. If you're a shy person, pump yourself up. Don't be intimidated by the faster runners. There will probably be runners slower than you too. If you're that back-of-the-pack runner, take pride in the fact that you're out there. Time and time again, elite runners have told me that they highly respect and admire the slower runner who may be doing a 5+ hour marathon. The gumption it takes to be out running that amount of time is certainly something to be proud of. And finally, if you are that speedy runner, make sure you stick to your plan provided by your coach. Rest on rest days. Run slow on the long runs. Burn out and/or injury from overtraining is the Achilles heel for many experienced runners.
No matter what your level: believe in yourself, trust in your training, and you'll conquer your goal.
Sign up for your next race.