Odds are that no matter how good you are, you can benefit from the strengths of others. I trained for 10 years with Paul Pilkington, a world-class runner who won the 1994 L.A. Marathon. Though I hated long runs, I rolled a 20-miler every weekend because he did. On mile repeats, I had the advantage, yet he stayed by my side. Ultimately, we both improved as we strengthened each other's weaknesses. In a running group, your workouts may be more intense but feel like they take less effort. Still, reaping the rewards of group workouts requires a little thought and planning.
Get on the Same Pace
Nothing is more frustrating than being run into the ground in every workout except, perhaps, having to run so easy that your heart rate doesn't get above resting level. Ask about the planned paces and distances of your training partners before committing. Try runners who finish close to you in local races — they may live near you and probably have similar levels of fitness.
Know Your Limit
If you stay with your group on the first intervals, but fall farther behind on subsequent laps, you will soon be in trouble. Not only will you be missing your goal paces, but you'll also get less recovery if you attempt to start the next interval with the group. If that happens mid-workout, average the time of your completed intervals, and target that pace for the remaining laps. Or slow down to catch your breath. But don't rest then blast the next rep faster than the group — you'll be pretty unpopular if you do. If you always need to sit out or run slower, run with a group that is not quite so fast.
You can occasionally run faster (or slower) than the pack — just let others know what you're doing so they don't get sucked into your vortex and ruin their workout trying to stay with you.
Share the Load
No one likes a one-stepper, someone who even on easy days insists on being one step ahead. If there are other competitive people in the group, a one-stepper can turn a casual run into an impromptu race, where the pace keeps increasing as others attempt to keep up with the runner up front who accelerates to remain in the lead. Being the leader occasionally is fine, but let others share the job. If you're always in the lead, try finding a group that's a little faster.
Take Your Turn Up Front
Provided you can hit the desired pace, take your turn up front every now and then. Rotating after two laps of a long interval or every few reps allows you to help the group and lets others catch their breath.
Discuss This Article
Running Tips, Training & Advice
5-Minute High Intensity
Circuit Training for
High intensity circuit training can make you a more complete athlete who's less injury-prone. Try this five-minute...
ACTIVE Advantage is the premium membership program of ACTIVE, designed to support and encourage your active lifestyle by providing exclusive discounts on thousands of activities on ACTIVE. No matter what your passions are, it is our mission to make it cheaper and easier for you to pursue the activities you love.
The 30-day trial of the ACTIVE Advantage membership allows you to check out the program for yourself before starting a full annual membership. During this trial period you have full access to member benefits, including all ACTIVE registration discounts, access to free event entries, gear discounts and more. If you decide during the trial period that you don't want to continue the membership, just let us know. Otherwise, at the end of your 30 day trial we will extend your member benefits for a full year at the current annual membership fee.
If you sign up for the 30-day ACTIVE Advantage trial membership you'll receive full access to all member benefits during your trial period. When the 30 days of the trial are up, your benefits will automatically upgrade to the annual membership which currently costs $64.95 per year. That's less than $6 per month to enjoy the program all year round.
Members can receive discounts when registering for events on ACTIVE.com.
Simply follow the steps below to redeem your discount
Step 1: Find an event on ACTIVE and login. Use the ACTIVE directory to find an event. Click the login button in the upper right corner of the event details page. You will be re-directed to a login screen. After logging in, you will be sent back to the event details page.
Step 2: Click the "Register Now" button to sign up for the event. Complete all required registration fields and proceed to payment screen. When logged in as an Advantage member, your discount will automatically apply at the end of registration.
Step 3: Submit registration and receive discount. The discount amount will display in your shopping cart and will be deducted from your registration fees. The registration discount will vary and is excluded from some events. If the discount does not appear in your shopping cart, the event is not eligible.