Get ready for the Auckland and Queenstown marathons with group training

As both the Auckland and Queenstown marathons loom larger on the horizon, marathon-runners are lacing up their trainers, hitting the road and getting into their training programmes.

With the Auckland Marathon kicking off on October 28, and the Queenstown Marathon following shortly after on November 17, it’s a good time to think about your marathon training and how you’re going to stay motivated in the run-up to the event.

A great way to do this is with group training sessions.

As proud sponsors, we’ve partnered with the ASB Auckland Marathon to host weekly group training sessions with ASICS Move Club, every Thursday and Saturday leading up to the event.

No matter what distance you’re targeting at the marathon, or your level of running experience, all are welcome to join: the only thing you need to do is turn up and be ready to run.

“At ASICS we are massive believers in fostering a community feel around running. The sense of having a support network is something which can be really important to making sure that people can stick to leading an active lifestyle. Whether it be the social need of interacting and supporting others, or the physical need of wanting to test yourself against other people, there is definitely something for everyone when it comes to group training.”

Why get involved in group training?

If you haven’t already considered group training, it could be a great thing to begin incorporating into your training programme. Group sessions can instigate big improvements in running performance, and, more importantly, provide lasting experiences, memories and companionship.

Gearing up for his first full marathon, ASICS Ambassador and paddle-racing athlete, Ralph Cabansag has joined the ASICS Move Club to boost his training and stay motivated. Having already competed in half marathons in New Zealand and the US, Ralph has learnt how valuable a weekly group training session can be.

“Your support network is one way to remind you of why you started whenever you feel like quitting. They are the ones that make sure you’re on track physically and mentally towards your training programme.”

So if you haven’t implemented group sessions into your training programme yet, or you’re still unsure about their benefits, here are some of the reasons you may want to try it.

Top 5 benefits of group training

1. A little healthy competition

Nothing quite gets the competitive juices flowing like a group training session. A number of studies have shown that when you run with others, you tend to go faster and longer than when you run alone. This can give you the extra push you need to take your performance to the next level.

The opportunity to train with runners at similar, or slightly more advanced abilities, can be the difference between a good race-day, and a great one.

ASICS Ambassador, Ralph agrees that group sessions are one of the best ways to improve. “Training with a group takes your mind off the pain factor, and can be a great way to measure your progress by selecting someone from the group to keep up with.”

2. Keep boredom at bay

It can be a struggle to keep the motivation and energy up during your marathon training programme and it’s always a good idea to mix up your routine to keep it interesting. Unlike solo runs, where boredom soon creeps in, training sessions fly by when you have a bit of company. Group sessions also provide the opportunity to explore new running routes.

As Adam McDonald, the ASB Auckland Race Director, notes: “Marathon training can be a long and lonely road, so it’s great to have group sessions to break it up. An organised group session means you can just turn up and run; all the planning is done for you.”

3. Moral support to pull you through low-motivation days

On chilly mornings when there’s nothing more tempting than staying in bed, motivation to turn up to training is remarkably different when there are other people holding you accountable. Sometimes it’s purely the knowledge that there will be others to share the grey morning – and perhaps the odd moan – with.

Your training companions can act as a personal cheering squad: lending support, rooting you on and encouraging you to keep going when you’re lacking enthusiasm.

4. Learn how to pace yourself

It’s hard to tell your exact pace when running alone – even with the help of gadgets. When you run with a group, surrounded by pacemakers, you can learn to match their pace stride by stride, ensuring you’re ready to run the distance on race-day.

5. Support and advice from people who understand

One of the most valuable things about group training sessions and the communities they build, are the support and advice shared between people in similar situations. Injury prevention, nutrition tips and training programmes are much more effective when learnt in-person from experienced coaches and other runners.  

The ASICS Get Race Ready Facebook group was set up for trainers, athletes and participators to share information and tips about everything and anything that will come in handy in preparing for race-day.

A team to share the journey with

One of the things ASICS love most about marathons – and the group sessions leading up to them – is the sense of community and camaraderie they foster. Whether you’re running together on race-day, cheering on your teammates or offering advice to someone who needs it, it’s a special moment to feel connected and be a part of something bigger than you.

Whether you’re training for a 10K, a half marathon or tackling a full one, ASICS are here to help you stay on track to reach your running goals. Join the ASICS Move Club here and we’ll see you at the next training session!

If you’re looking for quality sportswear that supports your marathon training, ASICS offers performance women’s running and men’s running gear that’s made to get you across the finish line.