Running is a favorite past-time for many in the Austin area. You only have to step outside or drive down the road to see runners treading their way across hike and bike trails and down streets all across the Austin area from sun up to sun down throughout the year. For many would-be runners, seeing these runners trek mile after mile is often a motivating factor to get off the couch and get active. One of the best ways to turn yourself into a runner in the Austin area is to join one of the beginner’s running programs in the area. There are many great options to choose from.
USA Fit. USA Fit is a national program that offers training programs across the nation, including groups meeting in both Austin and Round Rock. This group is designed for everyone from the couch potato to the moderate runner to meet the goal of running or walking a half-marathon or marathon. The training spans across 6 to 8 months with sessions meeting for a group run each Saturday morning, along with suggested training on your own during the week.
Austin Runner’s Club. The training program offered by the Austin Runner’s Club is also designed for all levels of runners. It features three coach-led running workouts each week and suggests two additional days of cross-training activities on your own each week. This training program begins in September each year and provides training for the annual Austin Marathon and Half-Marathon in February.
Gilbert’s Gazelles. Gilbert’s Gazelles is a popular local training group that is well suited for all levels of runners, and will help you train for everything from running your first 5K to some of the world’s most elite marathons. The program is led by local running guru and former NCAA All-American Gilbert Tuhabonye.
YMCA. Several of the local YMCAs in Austin as well as in surrounding suburbs offer running programs. These running programs are generally designed for beginners and are offered throughout the year at select times. Most of the programs are intended to be used as training to prepare beginning runners for local races. Check with your local YMCA for specific running programs offered at your location.
Training in a group setting can be intimidating, and this is especially true if you are lacing up your running shoes straight from your former position as couch potato. These running groups are largely designed for new runners just like you, so keep in mind that you will not be alone when you meet with your running group.
If you find that running in a group is not for you, you can also benefit from one of the online programs. You can check out the Couch to 5K running program at www.coolrunning.com, as well as several other online programs for a training program to follow. Happy running!