Run, Walk or Crawl

One of the first things that happens at Portland Fit is getting sorted into our color groups. So which color are you?

At the core of Portland Fit’s training methodology is our ability-based training program. Our technique is using color groups to collect members of similar pace. This allows everyone to find their natural rhythm without having to worry about finish times and times. It also allows us to publish different training schedules tailored to your pace.

On our first day, we ask everyone to run, walk, or crawl three miles. Your finish time tells us which group (we keep track of time, not you!). We like to say “run, walk, or crawl” because we don’t care how you do your three miles. Or any of your miles all season. We also like to say that the only difference between a runner and a walker is that a walker knows in advance when they are going to walk. All runners walk sometimes. Whether it be through the aid stations along the race course, grabbing a drink during a training run, or just because it “isn’t your day.”

So, what are the color groups? On your first day, you’ll get a shoe tag (not a toe tag!) for your color. That allows you to spot fellow members of similar pace. It also serves as a source for important identification information as you can put your name on the inside. Safety first, of course!

Made up entirely of our full-time walking population, this is now one of our largest groups. Two to three hundred members show up every weekend with the intent of walking the entire time. Walkers learn the same basics as runners, plus some special things unique to their experience, like blister prevention and nutrition requirements during the event. Pam and her team of Assistant Coaches have walked  dozens of marathons. Pam also publishes “Walk About Magazine!”

Our largest running group, this group is “Red and Proud.” Led by Dave with his unique combination of enthusiasm and motivation, he gives rousing pre-game speeches, spreckled with songs and anecdotes. This group consists of runners averaging over ten minutes per mile. It also includes some folks that combine running and walking. For example, they will run for five minutes and then walk for a minute during their run.

This group averages between 9 minutes and 10 minutes per mile. It often has runners moving up from Red that want a faster pace, or maybe folks that have already been running a couple of times a week and are looking for a new challenge — a half marathon or marathon. Peggy keeps this group fun and moving.

Our green gang trains at 8 minutes to 9 minutes per mile. If you ever want to Run With Paula, this is your chance. Paula has been the coach of the Greens for years and is the organizer of the famous Helvetia Half Marathon. This group is small enough that you can learn everyone’s name and they stick together on their runs, usually branching out to find new routes.

These speed demons run sub-8 minutes per mile in their training runs. That’s fast. A subset of the Green group, these folks usually stick with the Greens for a bit before taking off. One of my favorite Portland Fit memories is watching a Blue runner push a jogstroller. That’s impressive.

Whatever your color group, we’re all part of the same Portland Fit family. As well as the USA FIT family as each FIT city program uses the same color designations. Wear your color tag with pride. In Houston, somebody ran for public office and his profile in the voting guide listed him as a member of the “Red Group.” Outstanding!