Distance Training Program
Has a marathon, half marathon, or other distance event been on your "life list" of things you must do? Have you completed a long distance race before and gotten the bug? Do you seek a new challenge for your current stage in life? Completing an endurance event can be a life-changing experience. Doing it with others sharing that common goal can make the experience even more powerful. And doing it with the support and guidance of an experienced coach makes it much more realistic and manageable.
With the right program design, a good dose of personal commitment and discipline, and a little bit of luck, virtually ANYONE can complete a marathon or half marathon. Whether you are a novice athlete or an experienced runner, a Distance Training Program can help you get to the finish line, and/or get there faster than you have before or thought you could!
Not ready or registered for a spring longer distance race but want to get started, build a base, get faster over the winter? Consider the Winter Training Begin/Base/Build Program, or participate in a DTP anyway and attend speed workouts and some weekend runs as your schedule permits! No race goal is required... Just register for a 1/2 marathon session if you don't have a race planned.
Winter/Spring Distance Training Program (DTP) Overview
The =PR= Training Programs' Winter/Spring Distance Training Program has options for marathon and half-marathon training. The DTP Marathon program is geared toward the Rock-n-Roll USA Marathon in mid-March. It's also appropriate for other spring marathons like Shamrock. Prepping for a later spring marathon? The DTP Extension program which carries training through late April, appropriate for later spring races such as Boston or Country Music. Marathon training is available in Ashburn, DC, Reston, and Rockville.
The DTP Half Marathon program has two session start dates -- Session #1 begins in December together with the marathon program and points toward March races like RnR and Shamrock. Session #2 begins with an informal run the weekend of January 18 (training plans begin 1/20) and points toward later races, including the Nike Women's Half Marathon, Country Music Half, Frederick 1/2, and others. Runners seeking a longer build toward these later spring races can register for the DTP Extended program and begin training in December.
The program provides everything you could need for a great race experience and is designed for both for new and experienced runners with training plans structured based on your race experience and goals! The first group runs are informal on the weekend of 12/7-8, with marathon and session #1 half marathon training schedules beginning the week of 12/9 and the first "official" group long run the weekend of 12/14-15. (There WILL be sessions on 12/22 and 12/29 for those in town). Half-Marathon Training is offered in Arlington, Ashburn, DC, Reston, and Rockville. Those looking for a longer prep time for a later spring half can also register for the DTP Extension program (which does not specify Marathon or Half-Marathon Distance in the registration - select it for either distance, or if you have no race goal but want the extended training option.)
We know there are many group training options available in the DC Area; our goal is to provide the best experience and greatest value -- thanks to our partnerships with Potomac River Running Stores, and various other vendors, we've created a great package of benefits for all participants:
- Receive expert coaching from our knowledgeable coaching team -- our track record speaks for itself -- we've helped thousands of runners complete endurance events or complete them faster, achieving personal bests, Boston Qualifiers, and more.
- Train in comfort with some new technical gear, including a technical training shirt you'll receive early in the program. Attend various special in store events and get yourself geared up while you take advantage of some great savings as well.
- Attend seminars offered by leading experts on topics ranging from running technique to nutrition to race day strategy, and hear great info each week in your weekly update from your coach.
- Receive weekly email guidance and tips from your coaches covering everything from the week's specific plan to suggestions on form and technique, nutrition, sleep, and more!
- Enjoy other giveaways and goodies along the way.
The program is available in ARLINGTON, ASHBURN, DC, RESTON, and ROCKVILLE on either Saturday or Sunday morning depending on location. All training sites begin with an information session, coach meet and greet, and informal first day run the weekend of DEC 7-8. All sites will meet at 8:30 AM for the first weeks, and later move to 8 AM. Thereafter, at certain times, the start time may change again for certain weeks with especially long runs. We'll also be hosting Kickoff Happy Hour events in the week prior to program kickoff to offer another opportunity to meet coaches, set up carpools, enjoy some shopping and the chance to meet fellow runners over a tasty beverage....
In addition to the weekly group long run, participants also receive guidance on what to do on their own for days the group does not meet. Optional evening track/speed workouts are planned on weekday evenings at 6:30 PM throughout most of the program. (Speed workouts may change venues or end in the early spring when team practices and field usage, etc., can cause conflicts.) Beginners may choose to skip speed sessions, but all are invited to attend them. Note that there is no separate track-only program for 2013-2014, as it caused too much confusion for coaches in 2012. We encourage those seeking a weekly speed workout only to register for the DTP and attend weekend runs (going appropriate distances for you) as your schedule permits. Speed sessions are slated for:
- Arlington on Wednesdays (at W-L HS at 6:30 PM);
- Ashburn on Tuesdays or Thursdays - TBD (at Stone Bridge HS at 6:30 PM);
- DC on Thursdays (at Wilson HS in Tenleytown at 6:30 PM);
- Reston on Tuesdays (at South Lakes HS at 6:30 PM);
- Rockville on Wednesdays (at Richard Montgomery HS at 6:30 PM).
Participants are also welcome and encouraged to attend any weekly group run offered on various weekday evenings at various Potomac River Running Store locations (also at 6:30 PM.) Also, note that participants in any Individualized Training Program may always run long runs with the DTP at no additional cost.
The weekend sessions are most important, and are focused on improving your long run. You will gradually increase your run volume, being careful to run at a pace that will maximize your body's ability to recover and to use energy efficiently (some initial testing during the first sessions will provide guidance on this pacing, or you may be interested in Metabolic Testing (ask about special rates for participants) if you choose to train with the help of a heart rate monitor.) Some sessions will also focus specifically on your goal marathon pace.
The program cost for the =PR Training= Distance Training Program is $159 for the session. This cost includes 14+ weekly coached weekend morning sessions, optional weekly track workouts as scheduled and available, and participant benefits including a technical shirt, nutritionals, and other giveaways and social activities. The DTP-Extended program (beginning 12/7 and continuing through late April), is $199. Active participants in the Distance Training Program also receive special promotions from Potomac River Running Store and discounts on entry to all =PR= owned races.
Note that while there are sometimes returning participant discounts for some PR Training Programs, these offers are for programs that repeat many times over the course of the year (like Running 101) -- they are not relevant for the DTP, which offers great value at the regular price given the amount of time marathon/half-marathon training entails. EARLYBIRD pricing is still in place for Session #2 of the 1/2 marathon program (which starts in mid-January.)
Upcoming Session and Registration Information
There are five available training sites for the Winter/Spring Distance Training Program. Note that Full Marathon Training is available in Ashburn, DC, Reston, and Rockville only. The Arlington site has a 1/2 marathon program (December or January start dates) only.
Arlington-based DTP Session - 1/2 Marathon ONLY: Meeting initially at the =PR= Arlington Store in Ballston (intersection of Glebe and N. Fairfax), weekly runs thereafter will meet there, in Bluemont Park, or in Rosslyn Center (thereby giving us some variety in terrain.) Location is convenient for runners from Arlington, Alexandria, DC, Falls Church, and Vienna/McLean. Sessions meet SUNDAYS at 8:30 AM (Session time may move earlier as program progesses to accomodate longer runs.) Note: if the Sunday session is not convenient, consider the Saturday program in DC.
Ashburn-based DTP Session: Meeting at the =PR= Ashburn Store at 20630 Ashburn Road (a few minutes from Rt 7 or Route 28) in Ashburn. Runs will take place on the W&OD trail -- the access point is just a few minutes from the store lot. Runs on the W&OD with occasional "field trips." Location is convenient for runners from Loudoun County. Sessions meet SUNDAYS at 8:30 AM (Session time may move earlier as program progresses to accommodate longer runs.) Note: if the Sunday session is not convenient, consider the Saturday program in Reston.
DC-based DTP Session: Meeting at Pierce Mill off Rock Creek Parkway. Runs will take place in Rock Creek, the C&O Canal, and Beach Drive, with a few "field trips" built in for variety. The location is Metro-accessible via the Cleveland Park stop (and a 10 minute walk) and also has available off-street parking. In past years, many carpools have formed, and you can find one at the Kickoff Happy Hour! The DC location is convenient for runners from DC, Arlington, Alexandria, and Maryland. Sessions meet SATURDAYS at 8:30 AM. (Session time may move earlier as program progresses to accommodate longer runs.) Note: if the Saturday session is not convenient, consider the Sunday programs in Arlington or Montgomery County.
Reston-based DTP Session: Meeting at the =PR= Reston Store in Reston Town Center. Runs on the W&OD with occasional "field trips." Location is convenient for suburban runners from Reston, Burke, Vienna/McLean, Chantilly, Centreville, and more. Sessions meet SATURDAYS at 8:30 AM. (Session time may move earlier as program progresses to accommodate longer runs.) Note: if the Saturday session is not convenient, consider the Sunday program in Ashburn.
MD-based DTP Session: Meeting at various locations in Montgomery County, including Carderock, Lake Needwood, Capital Crescent Trail. Location is convenient for northern DC and Montgomery County residents. Sessions meet SUNDAYS at 8:30 AM. (Session time may move earlier as program progresses to accommodate longer runs.) Note: There is no one main meeting spot for this group -- coaches will confirm which trail you'll run through weekly email communications. The first info session/informal run and breakfast will meet at the =PR= Rockville store.
Registration is OPEN! Click HERE to register for all sites/locations. If you are a past =PR= Training participant and haven't registered for a program recently, you'll note that we are using a new registration tool so you'll need to create new credentials; however, if you've registered for a =PR= race before, you should be able to use those credentials to login. The process is very streamlined compared to the past =PR= Training Registration and should minimize confusion. Coaches will collect additional information from you as well.Note: We prioritize your safety and seek to maximize your learning and development as an athlete as you participate in the Distance Training Program and all group training programs from =PR= Training. Thus, depending on the situation, we may require that participants leave their iPods behind while in class. The final decision is made by each session's coach, but the overall program philosophy is that if you can't hear traffic, your coach, or your peers, at worst you are at risk, and at best you aren't getting everything you could from the program.