Training to Walk a Marathon - Charity Programs and Coaching

Leukemia Society Team in Training Shirt
Leukemia Society Team in Training Shirt. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Charity Marathon Programs

Team in Training: The Leukemia Society's Team in Training program is a highly-recommended way to train for a walking marathon while doing good for others. It brings runners and walkers to marathons around the world. Team in Training members must raise a minimum amount of pledges, on the order of $3000. In return, they receive Comprehensive training by experienced coaches, airfare & accommodations for marathon weekend, clinics, training sessions and monthly newsletters, team social events, Team in Training premiums such as t-shirts, racing singlets, or jerseys, pre- and post-race festivities.

Train to End Stroke: Train for a marathon or half-marathon with the American Stroke Association. Destination events include the Kona Marathon and the Vancouver International Marathon.

Avon 39 Walk: The Avon 39 walks are two-day walks held in several US cities each year. Walkers have the choice of walking a marathon or a half-marathon on Saturday, then all walkers walk a half-marathon on Sunday. The walkers are provided all support - food, a tent city to sleep in Saturday night, hot showers. Every walker must raise a certain dollar goal. Travel to the event is not provided. Each walker is assigned a walking coach to consult via email or telephone, and groups meet in local areas for walking training.

Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day Walks: The Breast Cancer 3-Day Walks are not marathons but three day walks of 60 miles, with approximately 20 miles a day of walking. The walkers are provided all support - food, a tent city to sleep each night, hot showers.

Every walker must raise a certain dollar goal. Travel to the event is not provided. Each walker is assigned a walking coach to consult via email or telephone, and groups meet in local areas for walking training.

Give'r for Liver: This program is available through the Canadian Liver Foundation in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

They were founded in 2006 send teams to marathons and half marathons in Canada, the USA and Ireland.

Crohn's and Colitis Team Challenge: This charity provides custom training plans and coaching. You raise funds and in return you get hotel and entry to a marathon or half marathon.

Marathon Coaching Programs

The options for getting coaching and support for marathon walking training are growing.

Marathon Programs Provided by Your Chose Marathon: Many marathons have coaching programs affiliated with them. When you choose your marathon, find out what is available. If your chosen marathon is some distance away, look for local marathons that offer coaching clinics and workouts.

USAFit: Offers marathon training programs in 26 cities in the USA and Canada. Weekly workouts, seminars, coachings, training schedules, and camaraderie for a 25-week program. Not all of the city programs have expanded to include walkers. Membership is around $75 for most programs, with a discount for returning members.

Marathon Running Room Clinics: Held in 14 cities across Canada, this 16-week program is geared to coincide with local major marathons.

Clubs: Local racewalking clubs may be a source of advice and training for the marathon, especially if you plan to use racewalk form for your event. The Olympic distance for the walk is 50 kilometers, more than a marathon, and a local racewalk club may have members with experience and good advice. At the least, you will meet experienced endurance athletes who understand racing, shoes, racing clothes, nutrition and hydration.

Local running clubs may also have a marathon training program and may have expanded to include walkers. Road Runners Club of America has over 670 affiliated clubs.

Local walking clubs may have members interested in marathon training. Check with the volkssport clubs in your area.

Books
"The Complete Guide to Marathon Walking" by Dave McGovern is the book every marathon walker should own.

Marathon Walkers email group is a small but active group of walkers training for the marathon and sharing their progress, advice, and questions.

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