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Taking it in Stride: 20 Running Clinics in the Midwest
Running clinics are a great way to sharpen your technique and get immediately better.

They are designed with all runners in mind, from novices to experienced runners who want to participate in marathons.

Clinics are where you’ll learn how to stretch properly, how avoid common injuries, and — for those who aspire to compete — tips on pacing and race strategy. Although experienced runners in clubs are always a great source of knowledge, clinics have trainers and certified coaches to work with athletes one-on-one or in group settings.

A lot of runners belong to running clubs for the motivation and companionship, and some clubs put on clinics themselves. We’ve compiled a list of 20 running clinics (and clubs with training programs and clinics) in the Midwest to give you a real head start.

Calhoun Beach Running Club, Facebook: CBRC
Minneapolis, MN

This all-inclusive run club has training programs to help you prepare for marathons, including the Twin Cities Marathon, as well as to achieve any other running goals. They also have social runs, running the Uptown/Lakes area four days a week.

Minnesota RED, Facebook: MN RED
Minneapolis-Saint Paul, MN

Another Twin Cities group, Minnesota RED was founded by USAFT Level 1 and RRCA Certified Coach Ron Byland, who also provides personalized coaching. Even if you’re not in great shape at the moment, you’re welcome to join, and you’ll be with a team of athletes who train hard and have fun with runs scheduled nearly every day of the week. Coach Ron provides personalized coaching.

Corridor Running, Facebook: Corridor Running
Cedar Rapids & Iowa City, IA

A club for runners of every level, from beginners to experienced marathoners, Corridor Running holds multiple weekly group runs and sponsors races of various distances throughout the year. Training resources include their “Couch to 5K” nine-week program, specifically designed to get novice runners to complete their first 5K (3.1 mile) race.

Taking it in Stride: 20 Running Clinics in the Midwest

Team BEAST, Facebook: Team BEAST
Burlington, IA

This endurance athlete team offers something for every fitness level, from those who want to get in shape to Ironman competitors. USAT-certified coaches hold clinics throughout the year on various aspects of triathlon training, and clinics are held regularly on all aspects of the sport. Group runs usually occur three times per week, averaging between 4-6 miles, although some runs can be as long as 20-plus miles.

Belleville Running Club, Facebook: Belleville Running Club
Belleville, IL

This club offers half- and full-marathon training as well as a Couch to 5K. That pro­gram is based largely on’s Couch to 5K Run­ning Plan. The marathon training is “a pro­gram with ded­i­cated vol­un­teers of run­ners and walk­ers of var­i­ous fit­ness lev­els ready to help you reach your goal of run­ning a half or full marathon.”

Chicago Area Runners Association, Facebook: CARA
Chicago, IL

Whether a beginner or seasoned runner, everyone in the Chicagoland area can benefit from CARA. There’s an eight-week clinic for novice runners who want to leave their cubicles and train to run (or walk) 3 miles. There are also certified coaches and trainers to help experienced runners (in small groups on one-on-one) reach their individual goals. These might include lessons in how to train properly for several upcoming races, or how to get faster and stronger, or how to stay injury-free.

Decatur Running Club, Facebook: Learn to Run
Decatur, IL

A community organization with the mission of promoting fitness and running, this club helps at and sponsors several organized races annually. It also hosts social runs and training runs throughout the year. There is a free 10-week program, with coaches on hand, designed to help participants with little to no experience complete a gradual, non-competitive transition from walking to running.

Dick Pond Fast Track, Facebook: Dick Pond Fast Track
Chicago, IL

Serving the Chicago, Schaumburg and Naperville areas, the goal of the Fast Track is to empower runners and support running through social events and local races. Membership in the club includes team training and is open to all ability levels, with everyone operating collectively so that its members not only train with but also race with an award-winning racing team.

Bloomington Area Runners Association, Facebook: BARA
Bloomington, IN

The approach at BARA is “to provide the best possible resources and support to our members to ensure a lifetime of health and fitness.” The group does this by providing members with training programs led by coaches. These sessions include weekly speed work and coordinated group runs as well as providing training concepts and experienced advice on nutrition and race day preparation.

Calumet Region Striders, Facebook: Calumet Region Striders
Griffith, IN

This group offers a training program for runners ready to attempt their first 5K run or those who simply wish to be more consistent with their own training. Coaches are RRCA-certified and guide participants over the eight-week program through every aspect of racing, from proper stretching to the basics of running to training runs.

Carmel Runners Club, Facebook: Carmel Runners Club
Carmel, IN

By hosting multiple group runs and weekly walks, the CRC promotes running and walking for everyone regardless of experience or ability level. The club also provides training programs for those who wish to train for full or half marathons.

Indy Runners, Facebook: Indy Runners
Indianapolis, IN

Indy Runners has a couple of training programs, depending on what you’re looking for. There’s the winter/spring “mini” training, which prepares runners for spring half marathons; and a summer/fall race training program, geared to get you ready to take on a half or full marathon in the fall.

Taking it in Stride: 20 Running Clinics in the Midwest

5 Rivers Running Team, Facebook: 5 Rivers Running Team
Dayton, OH

Membership, which is open to everyone regardless of running level or race experience, includes weekly group workouts and training groups as well as help from coaches and training advisors. Training sessions are held twice a week throughout the year, and the methods are based on the interval training system developed by Bob Schul, the 1964 American gold medalist in the 5000-meter at the Tokyo Olympics.

Dale Fox, the founder and coach of 5 Rivers, trained and raced with the Bob Schul Racing Team from 1985 to 2002, and was inducted into the Dayton Distance Running Hall of Fame in 2011.

Northeast Ohio Fit, Facebook: NEO Fit
Cleveland/Akron, Ohio

This USA FIT program is a running group and training program for anyone who wants to train for and complete a fall marathon. The target event is the Akron Marathon/Half Marathon, and participants can be at any level of fitness to join. It takes six months and includes weekly group runs, daily training schedules, expertise from trained coaches and weekly informational seminars on running-related topics.

Kansas City Track Runs, Facebook: Kansas City Track Club
Kansas City, MO

With guidance from an RRCA-certified coach, members of the club can choose to take the 14-week half marathon training. The weekly training plan increases mileage shortly, but enough to ensure that participants who do the work will be able to go the distance of any half marathon. There are beginner classes, and many group run options as well, so people at every level of fitness are welcome.
True Runner, Facebook: True Runner
St. Louis, MO

All three retail locations, Pittsburgh and Boston being the other two, have a free 8-week training program called True Runner 101. Geared toward the beginning or rededicated runner, it’s also great for an experienced runner who is returning from an injury or layoff. It could also be of benefit to walkers who want to transition to running.

Through personalized coaching and group work, you’ll increase your running volume and prepare so that by the program’s end you can run a 5K.

St. Louis Blazers Track Club, Facebook: St. Louis Blazers
St. Louis, MO

This youth cross country and track team is for participants up to the age of 18. With several experienced coaches on hand, a typical practice is between 3-5 miles, broken up into smaller segments. Distance is the name of the game here, with the team specializing in the 1500m and longer races. While the coaching staff is committed to teaching the sport to young people, they are just as focused on making it a fun experience.

ATI Running Institute, Facebook: ATI
Northville, MI

ATI Physical Therapy is also home to The Running Institute, where runners of all abilities can obtain training and coaching. In addition to personal coaching, marathon and half-marathon training groups, and educational seminars, there are specialized running resources such as an anti-gravity treadmill and video gait analysis. A free clinic is offered on Wednesday afternoons, when runners can drop in for a brief gait analysis or injury assessment.

Kalamazoo Area Runners, Facebook: Kalamazoo Area Runners
Kalamazoo, MI

In addition to track workouts and group runs, Michigan’s largest running club (with some 1,100 members) offers a Beyond Training program to help runners prepare for a marathon or half marathon. KAR members train with runners of similar ability and pace, in programs that range from Beginner to Advanced Plus. There are day-by-day workouts and snapshot schedules with weekly training tips and supported weekly runs led by experienced pace leaders and marathoners.

PR Fitness, Facebook: PR Fitness
Ann Arbor, MI

Personal Record (PR) Fitness, which has a run club, also offers personalized services for anyone who wants to improve their fitness levels, from novices to endurance athletes. You can choose from several packages, including personal training, classes, group runs and coaching as well as nutrition consultation. The staff at PR Fitness is composed of RRCA-certified running coaches, USAT tri-coaches, personal trainers and fitness instructors.


Images by:
Chris Hunkeler / Flickr
Adelphi Lab Center / Flickr
Peter Mooney / Flickr


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