So now you know what to look for in a marathon training group program, but why do you need it? I've worked with many runners in group training. Some new to distance running and others seasoned long-time runners.
The number one reason I hear for why both have chosen to join the group is accountability. The group holds them accountable for being there each week for the group runs. When you know that you'll be missed, it's amazing how it can get you out of bed for the early weekend long run or get you there for that nighttime tempo run after a long day at work.
Below are more reasons why group training can help provide you with a great marathon training experience and an awesome race.
In training books, you'll read about "sticking with it" and how you'll eventually pull out of that initial training shock to your body that makes you feel so sluggish and worn down. But, time and time again, runners will give up before they get there. In a group (because there are runners at all different levels) you'll begin to see individuals acclimate to the training demands and get stronger and faster. Seeing that helps you believe that you too will be able to get to that point. Plus the encouragement you'll get from your group peers and coach along the way will just add to that sticktoitness.
More: 4 Tips for Group Runs
Motivation of Others
There's nothing more motivating than having a fellow group member run up beside you (when you're feeling completely exhausted) and saying, "You've got this!" or, a group cheering you on at the end of your first 20-mile long run.
Not only will you have the ongoing support of your group's coach, but you'll have the ongoing support of others. Soon after a group starts, the email and cell phone swapping begins. When you don't make a run, you can bet someone in the group will be calling or emailing you to check up on you.
Unofficial Group Runs
Most group plans have the group running together one to three times a week. So that means there are several other runs to be done on your own. Usually within the group, runners will discover they either work at the same place or live near each other, so soon runners are organizing runs in their neighborhoods, at the local park, or at work for their other weekly non-group runs.