Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday Five - MCRRC beginning runner training program

Happy Friday! That of course means it's time for the Friday Five link up with Cynthia, Courtney, and Mar.  This week's theme is five things you love about something.

I've been wanting to review my experience with the Montgomery County Road Runners Club's 5k running/walking training group and I figured this was a good opportunity to do that since I loved the experience!  So without further ado, here are 5 things I love about the MCRRC 5k training program.

1. Community - if you're new to running, you may not have runner friends. Even if you do, they may not live near you, have a different pace, or have a different schedule.  It's definitely hard to find people to run with. It was wonderful to be able to meet a whole group of people to run with and to talk to about running. And it's not just talk when they say they have a place for every pace. I was worried when I started that I would be too slow but no one ever made me feel like that. The coaches do a great job of spreading out and making sure there's someone for everyone to run with. In addition, the group decided to continue to meet for informal runs after the group was over, which has been really helpful. Lastly, community is also about what you can give back, not just what you can get. I love the opportunity it gives you to support other new runners who are on the same journey as you.  Plus, they strongly encourage volunteering at a club race and chose a specific race that participants could volunteer at, which was my first experience volunteering at a race.

Runners at the first race I volunteered at.

2. Information - the coaches were all phenomenal.  There was a great deal of informal transfer of knowledge just from talking with the coaches before, during and after the 2 weekly runs. I learned about track workouts, speed drills, training plans, gear and attire, different running philosophies, races the coaches had done, etc. I also learned about different places in the county to run and explored much more than I would have on my own. In addition to this type if informal knowledge, they had several formal sessions where other club members came to talk to us about various topics including a nutritionist and a physical therapist. The value of everything I learned is just incalculable.

3. Motivation - I will be honest and say that there are so many days that I wouldn't have made it out for a run this winter, probably more days than I would have made it out, if I didn't have the group. It was a great motivation to get out there knowing the group would be there as well.  The coaches did a great job of making each run fun and I looked forward to them in spite of the crazy weather we had this winter. Plus, we had a training plan for us that also scheduled in runs we were supposed to do on our own.  Having a schedule created for me made it so easy to know exactly what I was supposed to do each day.  And the training plan was well designed for beginners.  Each run had walk breaks built in and increased running time at a gradual pace that never seemed too intimidating.

No way would I have made it out for a track run in the snow without the group!

4. Price - in order to join the training group, you have to be a member of MCRRC, which is currently $40 a year or $60 for 2 years. The fee for the training group was $35. I looked at a bunch of other training group options before choosing this one and I have to say this was a great deal, especially considering all the other benefits club membership gets you.

5. Club membership benefits - oh, you're wondering what other benefits club membership provides? Well, they have a series of low key races throughout the year that are free to club members.  I'm doing my third of the low key races this weekend. And don't let the term low key fool you. These are still very well organized races. There are more than 20 of them throughout the year and they are various distances, locations, and terrain.  Most of them are just registration day of so they don't even require prior commitment, Another great club benefit is weekly informal runs. They also have monthly stride clinics where you can consult with coaches, physical therapists, and podiatrists for the low price of $30.

If you can't tell, there is a lot to love about MCRRC and their 5k training group.  I would highly recommend them to any beginning runners in the area. Having said that, I just signed up for a distance training program through another organization, Potomac River Running. This is simply because the other training programs MCRRC has right now don't quite meet my schedule/goals for the rest of the year. I'm sure I will be coming back to MCRRC for other training programs in the future and I know that I will continue to participate in their races. I do think it will be a good opportunity to be able to compare this first training group experience with a training group from another organization.  I will keep you updated!

And because it's been such beautiful weather yesterday and today, a bonus "I love."  I love DC in spring! I had a meeting downtown that let out around lunch time so I could enjoy lunch in a park and it happened to be Ethiopian food from a food truck.  Yum!

I hope everyone has a great weekend :)