Thursday, February 21, 2013

FootZone Half Marathon Training Group: Why You Should Join!

Written By: Caitlin Mastenbroek

Are you toying with the idea of running a half marathon this spring or early Summer? Has it been a long winter with limited miles on foot? Are you a person who does better running or training with a group?  Do you want to add miles to your running routine while being coached for safety and motivation? If you answered yes to any of these questions the FootZone half marathon training group might be the perfect fit for you.

The FootZone half marathon training group is a fun, energetic, educational and motivational experience that helps individual runners improve their abilities and reach new heights in their running routines.

What if I don’t have a running routine? This training group is not a learn to run class. It is preferred that runners entering the group have a base of 3-4 miles that they can run comfortably at least once a week. If you are not quite there, that’s OK! You still have 5 weeks to work your way up to it; one step at a time. If you have a more established base that is great! The benefit of the training group for you will be the commitment to the increasing miles and healthy challenges to improve your speed and techniques on the running course.  

My first experience with a training group, outside of organized team sports, was last Fall when I coached this group. I was honestly amazed at the beautiful friendships and camaraderie that developed over 8 weeks. For those who are “social runners” the light hearted chatting and encouragement filled the air with an energy that facilitated improvement and fun. For the more independent personalities I could sense their focus and determination to achieve their goals. Although these individuals were not very verbal on the course I know that being around other runners who could push them and give them something to keep up with was a major inspiration and key to their improvements. Training groups are a great way to meet like minded people with similar goals and interests. Many runners walked away from our first training day with contact info. to meet up mid-week for workouts.

When you sign up for this training group you will be provided with a detailed training manual that includes an 8 week training plan that incorporates running, speed work, cross training and rest. The manual is filled with information and definitions of running terms that will educate you in many areas of being a successful runner. On day one we will run a “magic mile” that will establish your pace. From here you will be assigned a pace mentor that will be your direct link to information, motivation and running tips. Your mentor will keep in close contact with you each week via emails; they will also be the person running alongside you on course. I will be your coach and look forward to helping every person in the group make this experience positive, uplifting and educational. I will be in contact with the group via email twice a week providing feedback and in depth information on the topic of the week. I will run the course with the group and it is my intention to provide as many running strategies and tips as possible to each runner I come into contact with along the trail.

The training courses will be a mix of trail and road. I am a trail junkie and love getting away from cars, however, with the unpredictable Spring weather in Central Oregon we may have to rely on the roads occasionally to provide a safe course for our training group. I scout trails and routes throughout the week. On Friday mornings I go out and mark the running course using reusable flagging on clothes pins. I am diligent about marking the course to the best of my ability, looking for any cross-roads or tricky areas to keep the entire group safe and together. The course flags will be pulled on Saturday by our last mentor off the course. So, for those of you who are on the fence about the training group because you might have to miss a couple of Saturdays you have the option of running the course before the group, either on Friday afternoon or early Saturday morning.

The training group meets every Saturday for 8 weeks at 8am at the FootZone store. Occasionally we will meet at a trailhead, but for carpooling reasons the FZ store is typically our meeting ground. When you arrive in the morning your pace mentor will be there to greet you, check in with how you are feeling that day, how your runs through the week have gone and to answer any questions you have about the course of the day. Each morning we will begin with a short 10 to 12 minute presentation from a local professional on a different topic related to running. This topic will be incorporated into emails and discussions throughout the week to offer more depth and personal investigation into the topic at hand. Examples of topic we will cover running nutrition, good form running, strength training for runners, speed work, injury prevention and care and so much more.  

Who is leading this group? My name is Caitlin Mastenbroek and I will be your coach; the mentors for each pace group are invaluable resources for runners as well. I love trail running, I work as a personal trainer and yoga instructor and am amazed everyday at the beauty and light that presents itself on my personal journey of life. I make it a priority to honor my body, learning from its whispers to avoid hearing its screams. A thought I am working with at the moment is, “Prioritize the cultivation of your highest potential” Unknown.

The FootZone half marathon training group is a wonderful opportunity for runners of all ages and speeds to come together and form community around our sport. Myself and the FootZone family make it a priority to express our love for running through reaching out to fellow runners, by offering up our knowledge and encouragement with the intention of making you a better runner. Whether you are a decorated racer or new to running I invite you to try our training group to improve where you are today and hopefully set new goals for tomorrow.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about this training group. If you have any questions, concerns or would like to sign up for the group please contact me at or visit the FootZone website. I will get back to you as soon as possible. Gratitude!


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