Countdown to the Peachtree Road Race: The benefit of training with a group

To prep for my second Peachtree, I’m following the Atlanta Track Club’s training program

Peachtree_TrainingSaturday morning. It’s not even 9. I’m in the company of company of dozens of runners, and we’re all doing hill sprints. The reason for this self-inflicted torture? The Peachtree Road Race.

I signed up for the Atlanta Track Club’s Peachtree training program in the hope of besting my 10K time and making the trip up Cardiac Hill just a little bit easier. The program includes 12 weeks of guided workouts and weekly group runs geared toward beginning and intermediate runners.

Running is a solitary sport. So why train in a group?

Running in a group keeps you accountable: It’s harder to skip a 7:30 a.m. weekend workout when people are expecting you to show up. Group running also sparks your competitive spirit; it’s a lot easier to stay on pace when you’re running with someone next to you. Following a prescribed training program will make sure you’re ready for the challenge come race day. And it’s just a whole lot easier to have someone plan out your workouts for you.

For years, I have been running solo (usually listening to a podcast), but I can already feel the benefits of group training: after one practice I averaged a minute faster than my typical mile pace. The program makes me do things I would never do on my own—hill sprints, for example. Or stretching. (Sorry, coach.)

While registration is closed for the Track Club’s Peachtree training program, you can find other running groups around town that offer the benefit of group practice. Check out this list from Big Peach Running Co. as a start.

And, if you’re up for longer distances, the Atlanta Track Club half and full-marathon training starts in July.

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