Running the July 4 AJC Peachtree Road Race this year? Now’s the time to get in shape. Here are some local running clubs if you need a little extra motivation.
1. Big Peach Running Co.’s RUNATL training groups meet on Saturdays at the store’s Midtown, Suwanee, and Kennesaw locations. The bilingual, nine-week Declare Your Independence series for the Peachtree kicks off May 10. $65 to $75.
Tip: Running shoes do not require much of a break-in period these days. However, don’t buy new shoes the day before the big race. If your shoes are starting to feel worn, getting a fresh pair two to three weeks before race day is ideal. But remember, if your shoes don’t feel quite right at the store, they probably never will. —Karen Kaye, director of communications for Big Peach Running Co.
2. Chattahoochee Road Runners gather for weekly runs ranging as far as twenty miles. The Go the Distance program is for runners of all levels and offers water breaks, maps, and various terrains. The first few sessions are free. Membership is $45.
Tip: Training with a friend or group makes you more accountable. —Chattahoochee Road Runners president Greg Neargarth
3. In-Training for Peachtree 10K is an eleven-week program organized by the Atlanta Track Club, the group that stages the race. Weekly sessions take place on Saturday mornings beginning April 26 at eleven Publix locations throughout the metro area. Most participants are working up to their first big race. Training includes group runs, seminars, a performance shirt, instructional emails, and a workout schedule. $55 and up.
Tip: Exercise at least a couple of times outside. Gradual exertion in the heat in the days leading up to the event will help your body adapt to the warmer temperatures. —Susan Monk, training program coordinator
4. Galloway Atlanta Weeknight Training with Getting Started was founded by former Olympian Jeff Galloway, winner of the first Peachtree Road Race in 1970. Beginning March 31, the twelve-week program follows Galloway’s popular run/walk/run method. $50 and up.
Tip: Beginners should run ten seconds, then walk thirty to forty seconds. —Galloway
5. The RunningNerds range from beginners to seasoned competitors. On May 10, their team starts meeting at various locations. They also do a lot of training along the actual race route—focusing on especially tough sections. $50.
Tip: Practice what you’re going to eat. Don’t try new foods on race day or the week before. —RunningNerds founder Tes Sobomehin
Advice from Susan Monk, Atlanta Track Club training program coordinator
—Be realistic about your goals. If you don’t feel prepared on race day, don’t try for your personal best.
—Start line: Arrive at least an hour early to allow time to get to your assigned corral. Check out an area map and staggered start times at peachtreeroadrace.org.
—Cardiac Hill: This section is located just beyond mile three and climbs past the Shepherd Center and Piedmont Hospital. Pace yourself on the steep grade, and draw inspiration from Shepherd spinal cord injury patients cheering you on.
—Water stations: Stop at the stations to stay hydrated and cool off in the water sprays.
—Tenth Street: You’re on the homestretch, but remember you still have more than half a mile to go.
Sign up soon: The lottery for race numbers opens March 15.
This article orignally appeared in our March 2014 issue.