Runners Training Program

“If you are early…you are on-time.
If you are on-time…everyone is happy.
If you are late…you are running alone.
The 16-week Friends & Fitness training program incorporates a unique conditioning plan to help runners improve their performance. It provides weekday (Monday & Wednesday — see Schedule) track and hill workouts; strength and core training that improve anaerobic base, speed, leg strength, and running form; along with a weekend long run (Saturday — see Schedule) to steadily improve cardiovascular endurance and mental strength. In addition, the Friends & Fitness program provides its participants a “run/walk” option to allow runners the opportunity to challenge themselves while reducing the stresses placed on their bodies.

Group Runs

Group track workouts are held every Monday and Wednesday (see Schedule for exact times) at Greenbrier Park/Yorktown High School. The group runs will help participants increase their cardiovascular endurance, anaerobic capacity and core strength through the use of speed training, plyometric training, core training, and hill workouts. Participants will be continually challenged as the staff increases the workouts’ intensities and the distances run during the course of the program!

Please be at least 10-15 minutes early to each group run because practices begin promptly at their assigned times.

Group runs allow participants to determine their own pace and run with others who have the same level of ability. Pace group members can give each other support, while challenging each other to persist. Traditionally our pace groups are 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, and 13:00 minute milers.

The program also incorporates a “run/walk” approach to the long runs on Saturday morning — typically for the groups running 11:00 minutes or slower. This type of training helps reduce the impact stresses placed on the body by running and also can help novice runners challenge themselves for longer distances. Please see a staff member if you are not sure which pace group you should run with on Saturday mornings.

Group runs don’t necessarily need to be thought of as “long” runs. Running long distances can be challenging as well as FUN! Walkmans, iPods, and/or portable radios are prohibited during structured runs, so take these opportunities to get to know your fellow participants. Discuss national events, sports, or jokes that you may find funny. Together with others in the program participants will learn how to run farther than they’ve ever run before!

Running Apparel

During the training program, it is important that runners wear appropriate apparel. Although running is a sport that requires very little apparel, the apparel chosen makes a huge difference in terms of performance and injury prevention.


The majority of the half marathon training program will take place during the summer months. As such, it is important for runners to respect the environmental conditions (temperature and humidity). Plan on training outdoors during the coolest parts of the day (morning or dusk) to help prevent any heat-related illnesses due to hot weather.

Clothing can also play a factor with regards to body heat. To prevent your body from overheating, wear clothing that is loose and breathable (i.e., dri-fit shirts/shorts/socks) and wick away moisture. For example, it is not advisable to wear long-sleeved shirts and long tights during the warmer months because your body is not trying to conserve heat to battle colder temperatures. It is also not recommended to wear cotton fabrics, as they absorb moisture and will make your clothing feel “heavy” while not allowing proper heat dissipation. Wear the half marathon training program shirt provided, tank tops, and running shorts with appropriate socks (that also wick away moisture). Feel free to bring long-sleeved clothing and pants for warmth after the completion of a track workout and/or long run on Saturday. Also, bringing a Yoga mat or large towel is recommended for post-practice stretching!


Wearing the right shoes can make the difference between running comfortably and possible injury. The biomechanics of running determine a runner’s gait (stride). If a runner overpronates or supinates, he/she may be susceptible to injury. Having the right shoe in terms of cushioning, motion control/stability, size, breathability, and comfort can help offset biomechanical differences runners may possess. See the Exercises section for more information on choosing the right shoe and the proper way to tie your running shoes.



As the mileage increases on Saturday’s long runs, it is recommended that runners wear a waist pack for any runs longer than 60 minutes in duration. For long runs (7-13 miles) it is also recommended that runners bring gel, Gu, or some form of carbohydrate replacement supplements that can be taken while running. Some runners also add some Powerade or Gatorade to their water bottles to add carbohydrates to their fluids.


Inclement Weather/Cancellation Policy

The Friends & Fitness Training Program meets UNLESS there is lightning. To avoid a “telephone calling chain list” we WILL BE RUNNING unless there is lightning WITHIN ONE HOUR of a group workout. A good source for weather updates is WTOP (103.5 FM) since they update the weather every 10 minutes (“on the eights”). If it is pouring rain, but no lightning, the group still meets! If it is lightning two hours prior to a scheduled group run, we run. One hour prior to each group run dictates whether we are running or not. When in doubt, turn on WTOP (103.5) for a weather report.


Program Updates During the Summer

All program updates will be sent via email & Facebook, so runners are encouraged to join the “Friends & Fitness” Facebook page.


Suggested Additional Apparel

While these items are not required to participate in the Friends & Fitness Half Marathon Training Program, our staff recommends participants bring/wear the following to each workout:

  • Chronograph Watch / Timex Ironman Lap Watch
  • Water Bottle & Waist Pack
  • GPS Watch (i.e. Garmin)
  • Yoga Mat / Stretch towel
  • Rubber Resistant Bands for Monday Cross Training (2-3 different tensions)