On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

NYCM training

So, it's that time of blog again when I contemplate joining a training group/program.

I think I've narrowed it down to the program at Jack Rabbit Sports (in terms of what works for me).

Pro: time and location that work for me.
Con: I'll have to travel 20 minutes to meet the group (when I can just walk out my door and run from here).

Pro: spending money will motivate me to do all of those runs.
Con: that's... a lot... of money.

Pro: it will be nice to run with a group.
Con: running at 6:45pm on a hot August evening?  Blah!

Pro: meeting new people will help me through the long runs and give me confidence that I can make it to the finish line.
Con: ...so will the knowledge that I've already crossed the finish line of 5 marathons.

I guess the biggest problem I have is the cost.  I long ago abandoned the idealized notion that running is a cheap sport to participate in, but I already paid nearly $200 for my race registration, not to mention another $250 qualifying for my guaranteed entry.  Add the $300 of this training program, and that will put me at nearly $750 spent - to run a local race.  Not including shoes, gels, gear, etc...  I don't know...


  1. I share your hesitation. At first glance, a training program that costs $300 may attract the wrong kind of runner. I fear that you will be surrounded by a bunch of first timers who don't know enough to wonder if $300 is a lot to pay for training buddies.

    On the other hand, the price tag may cause casual runners to self-select out of the group, leaving you with a dedicated bunch.

    Before I shelled out money, I'd want to be sure that I'd find someone who runs my pace. I'm not saying that you are slow (you are a million times faster than my current 13 min/mile pace), but it would be lame to pay that money and end up running alone. (I've signed up for training groups and been dropped within a few blocks of the store. So not fun.)

  2. You're exactly right. That's the biggest reason why I haven't explored any of the (free, or cheaper) clubs around here. I do love that I'm getting closer and closer to that magical 10 minute mile, the mark at which I feel like I'm not "superslow" so much as "not fast," but you're very, very right. I hearken back to my one run with the Bryn Mawr club, a decade ago, when my 9 minute miles meant that I was the last one out and they were clearly annoyed about having to wait for me and Emily E.

    But I think you nailed it: I want a dedicated training group of people to run with me. I'm not so much into the hydration and what to wear and how to settle nerves questions.

    I emailed Jack Rabbit a month ago, and they haven't answered. I've tried calling a couple of times, but the guy in charge hasn't been available when I've called. Bad sign?

  3. Can you not find a decent online program for the shorter runs and a training partner to help you through the longer runs? You know so many runners. I hate to see you spend so much to join a training group to see you through, when you already know that you can make the distance. Look, I run long runs alone in Florida. If I can do it, anyone can. Seriously.

  4. I do have this great group of online running friends... :) The shorter runs I'm okay with. The longer ones - I'm getting better, but I just end up making excuses, or procrastinating, when it comes time to do them by myself.

    It's so weird - on one hand, there are SO MANY runners in New York. On the other hand, this city is so big that things that are so easy end up being so hard instead. Like finding a running partner. I've tried, and tried. It really seems to me that the people I know who have reliable partners/friends met them through running clubs of some sort - either the kind I'm not (quite) fast enough for, or a charity program, or something like this. At least this is cheaper than running for a charity!

    I agree that the money is a lot, but if I make a lifetime running partner out of it, it would be worth it.

  5. Good luck with your training no matter what you decide.