Finding a training group requires some research on the athlete’s part – it’s a good idea to look around online but most importantly to talk to other athletes, current and former. If you have a shoe sponsor, they will usually provide you with information about training groups they support and prefer. They may even require you to pick from a certain group of training groups and/or coaches.
When making your decision, decide what your priorities are and rank them accordingly:
1. Are you willing to move?
2. Do you need training partners to motivate you on a daily basis?
3. How much attention do you want/need to succeed?
“For me, my main priority was finding a coach who had success at the world level and who I trusted. It’s hard making the break from the college coaches and teammates, but the professional season is completely different. You aim to peak in August, so if you’re doing the same workouts as the college girls, you’re probably not on the right schedule for yourself. Or they aren’t on the right schedule for them,” says Lisa Aguilera, former American Record holder and two-time USA National Champion in the steeplechase.
Once you have decided on a training group, you, your sponsor representative and/or your agent will contact the coach and make arrangements to join that group.
Resources for finding a training group:
- TFAA Map of Elite Athlete Training Groups - Check out our map of training groups around the country (and the world) and be sure to submit groups we are missing or send additional information if you have it the TFAA so we can continue to grow this database.
- USA Track & Field Elite Development Clubs - USATF’s “Elite Development Club” designation identifies clubs with the commitment, resources, and record of providing significant assistance to these athletes, thereby making it easier for the athletes to continue high-level, competitive involvement in our sports.
- USATF Athlete Advisory Committee Directory – Contact your event leader if you need help finding training groups that are for athletes training for your event(s).
- List of Mid-Distance and Distance Training Groups - Thanks to RunPro.com for this link.
Thank you to Joanna Hayes (2004 Olympic Gold Medalist, 100m Hurdles) and Lisa Aguilera (2-time USA National Champion, Steeplechase) for contributing to this post.
Have anything to add to this post, such as lists of training groups available, thoughts on how to find a training group, etc? Please let us know in the comment section below.