Coach Culpepper: It Takes Balance

Pick a time that fits best with your schedule. Don't force training in where it just doesn't work. Photo: Corbis

The Group Dynamic

Running with a group for specific hard workouts or long runs will help maximize the time you have dedicated to training. Even those who, like me, enjoy the solitude of running will agree that having a group to train with a few days a week raises the quality of harder sessions and helps the miles click off a little easier on longer runs. Groups are available in almost every city around the country, either through running clubs, specialty run shops or casual meeting locations at a track or trail. Running with others provides accountability and camaraderie with like-minded individuals and makes those harder sessions much less psychologically challenging. If you are choosing between an easy run with a group or harder session always choose the workout. Recovery days are best done solo to ensure you run your recovery pace, and having others to push through a tough workout will help you get the most out of the workout and the time you put in.

o Call your local running retailer for suggestions for groups or meeting locations.

o Surround yourself with runners of equal ability; find a group that can help elevate your workout while not making your run a race effort.

o Running with others just one day a week can help eliminate the burden of a hard workout or long run and make training not only more fun but more effective as well.

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