Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I just heard about Portland Fit, how can I join?
    There are many easy ways to sign up for Portland Fit. Visit our sign up page for more information.


  2. I’m not a member. Do you allow drop-ins?
    Portland Fit does not have a drop-in program. Our all-inclusive membership fee covers our seminars, coaching, and training runs/walks. Visiting members from other USA FIT programs are always welcome!


  3. What is Portland Fit?
    Portland Fit is an award-winning 32 week running and walking program based on the USA FIT philosophy. This same program, currently being held in close to 40 cities throughout the country, is winning rave reviews and growing every year.  Read more…


  4. What is Portland Fit – South?
    We are no longer offering our Sunday-based program that used to be in Tualatin. Please join us on Saturdays instead and enjoy your Sundays off!


  5. What is Vancouver Fit?
    Vancouver Fit is our sister program in Vancouver, Washington. Please visit their website at for more information about that program. In years past, they have shared a website and registration, but starting in 2011 they are two separate programs. But they both offer the same award-winning USA FIT training program and philosophy.


  6. Who should join?
    Portland Fit is perfect for anyone who has a desire to challenge themselves, wants to exercise and make new friends, wants to increase their body strength and stamina, wants to look and feel better, or simply wants to get involved in a healthy lifestyle sport – running or walking. Whether you have only dreamed of completing a marathon or have done several, this program has something to offer you!


  7. When is the Portland Fit season?
    The official Portland Fit season runs from late March through October and the Portland Marathon. During our season we have group running/walking training sessions, deliver seminars, and provide training schedules for our members.


  8. Where is the training?
    Please refer our Where is Portland Fit page.


  9. Can walkers participate?
    Walkers are welcome! We have a wonderful walking program that will enable you to complete the Portland Marathon. Please be aware, however, that the Portland Marathon requires all participants to complete the course within eight hours (which requires a 18 min per mile or better pace). If this is faster than your typical pace, don’t let it keep you from joining us! There are plenty of other events to train for – such as half marathons – that might be more suitable to your pace.


  10. Are you affiliated with a charity?
    Portland Fit is not associated with a charity and you do not need to raise money to participate in this program. Some of our members choose to raise money for a charity, but it certainly isn’t a requirement.


  11. What’s the catch? When do I have to sit through the sales pitch for a new condo in Sunriver?
    No catch — really! Portland Fit is basically a running and walking club and training program. We don’t sell Amway or real estate in Sunriver. Portland Fit has members of all shapes and sizes (including folks that probably sell Amway or invest in Central Oregon real estate). But what makes us special is that we all come together to run and walk and share our war stories and our victories. We hope you’ll decide to join our club, recently named the ‘Best Running Club’ in the Northwest (Competitor NW Magazine, 2011).


  12. How did all this come about?
    It all began in Houston over 30 years ago with about 50 runners, 2 guys and an idea that runners needed some guidance and training to achieve their marathon goals. Today, USA Fit is in almost 50 cities nationwide.


  13. What is an ability-based color group?
    Portland Fit consists of 5 groups: Blue, Green, Yellow, Red, and Purple. You will be placed in the group that best suits your training pace. For example, if you train at a 9-10 minute per mile pace, you will be a member of the Yellow group. This system works because it allows you to train with those who are at your ability level.


  14. What color group will I be in?
    Our first two weekend runs are 3 mile pace finder walks or runs. Your time for the 3 miles will place you in a color group. You should walk or run at a pace where you feel you could keep going for a little bit beyond those 3 miles. If you couldn’t keep walking or running after completing our initial 3 mile pace finder then you are going too fast. You can run, walk, or both during any of our training runs or walks.


  15. Why should I walk or run my 3 mile pace finder slower when I can go faster?
    Simply because you are training for a marathon, not a 3 mile race. It may sound like a funny statement to make, but it is absolutely true. Walking or running too fast will seriously compromise your training season. If you find your correct training pace from the beginning you will complete the marathon in less time, you will experience fewer injuries, and you will have a lot more fun.


  16. What are the weekly seminars?
    Each weekend, after the group run and walk, we’ll have a brief group stretching session. We will then do announcements and then hold a 15-20 minute seminar. Topics will all be health and fitness related, and will be led by knowledgeable professionals. After each seminar, your group coach will be available to answer any questions.


  17. What happens on any given weekend?
    Each group first meets with their color group coaches for a coaching session. We then head out for our long run or walk of the week. After the run and walk, the seminar will start at the same time every Saturday, so our goal is to have all the color groups finished before that time. We try to have everything wrapped up by 10:00am so you still have some of your day to go grocery shopping, catch your kid’s soccer game, or mow the lawn. Before the weekend, you will be given the starting time for your color group (available on the website).


  18. Who created our schedule?
    Our schedule comes from the great folks at USA FIT. For over 30 years, they have been training people all over the country just like us. Everybody has a different marathon philosophy, but ours has been tested literally tens of thousands of times.


  19. Do we get discounts on shoes?
    Yes, you do! As a Portland Fit member you will receive a 10% discount at Portland Running Company. You may also get a discount at any of the other local running and walking specialty stores… just ask!


  20. What is the Helvetia Half Marathon and do I need to take part?
    For our marathon training first major benchmark, the half marathon, we participate in the Helvetia Half Marathon. We do this so that everyone gets “race day” experience before marathon day, which makes marathon day less stressful to the new runner or walker. Portland Fit will not be meeting at our regular location on those weekends. If you’d rather skip the Helvetia experience, you are welcome to use our discussion board to plan an alternative run or walk with fellow PFit members.


  21. How much does it cost?
    Portland Fit’s marathon training program costs only $140 for new members. Returning members get a discount. Check out our Train With Us page for details. Early registration discounts may be available.


  22. What is included for the sign-up fee?
    • Ability-based group work-outs and coaching
    • Weekly seminars
    • Weekly training schedules
    • Portland Fit T-shirt
    • Discounts at sports apparel stores
    • Social activities and more!


  23. You must be kidding. All this for $140? 
    No, we’re not kidding. Isn’t it great? Now why don’t you do your good deed for the day and tell somebody about Portland Fit?


  24. How can I sign up?
    There are three easy ways to sign up: Online, by mail, or in person. Click here for more details or to sign up!


  25. When/Where are the in-person sign-up sessions?
    Visit our Programs page to learn more about our various programs.  Remember, you can also sign up online to get a discount, but everyone should try to attend the first registration/orientation sessions.


  26. What happens at the sign-up session?
    The sign-up sessions include sign-ups, an orientation seminar, and a 3 mile pace finder run or walk which helps place you in the correct ability-based group. Everyone is strongly encouraged to come to both of the orientation/sign-up sessions (Weeks 1 and 2) as the seminars will cover different information. The sign-up session takes approximately 1.5 – 2 hours.


  27. Can I pay with a credit card?
    Yes, you can pay with a credit card, but ONLY if you sign up on-line.  We cannot accept credit cards via mail-in or in-person registrations.


  28. Do I have to attend both orientation sessions?
    If possible, we’d like you to attend both sessions (Weeks 1 and 2). First of all, you’re paying for a 32 week program, not a 31 week program. Second, we will cover all the details of how the program works the first week and put you into your groups. Lastly, the content of the first two seminars is different. The first week is information about Portland Fit and USA FIT; the second seminar is a quick overview of Week 1 and then a mandatory session on “Running & Walking Safety. “


  29. I can’t make it to the first weekend — should I still sign up?
    Yes, you should still sign up! We’d like you to attend the first week for the reasons outlined in the previous Q&A, but we know not everyone can make it to Week 1. That’s why we have another sign-up the following week. The Week 2 seminar will be a quick overview of Week 1, but we also have an army of Assistant Coaches ready to answer any question you have from the previous week (and any seminars that you miss during the season).


  30. Does entry into Portland Fit include entry into the Portland Marathon?
    No, your payment to Portland Fit only covers the cost of your participation in the training program. We are not affiliated with the Portland Marathon in any way, we just train for it! We will provide information about how to sign up for the Portland Marathon near the end of the training program.  This also goes for the other events on our schedule like the Rock’n’Roll Portland Half Marathon and the Helvetia Half Marathon.


  31. How much training does this program involve?

    Realizing that most people lead very busy lives, this program is one that can easily fit into your schedule. For the most part, the program calls for running or walking only 4 days a week. Your long run or walk will take place on Saturday with your group. The day after your long run/walk is always a rest day. During the week, you run or walk for time only (i.e. 30 minutes), not for distance.


  32. What does 20 on the weekly schedule (during the week) mean? Are we running 20 miles?
    During the week, we run for minutes. So if the schedule says “20” on a Tuesday, you should run or walk 20 minutes. Do this at a comfortable pace unless instructed to do otherwise. On the weekends, we do miles, so the schedule will say 4 miles. Listen to your coaches on how to run these miles each week.


  33. Do I have to be there every week?
    No, many members are unable to make every weekend session. The weekend seminars are important, but you can always ask your coach or running buddies about what you missed. However, those long runs/walks are a lot easier when you’re doing them with the group! And in our experience, the success of our members is directly proportional to their ability to attend our weekend training runs/walks and seminars. When you do have to miss a week, check our website for the next week’s schedule.


  34. Can we participate in races during training?
    Sure! In fact, the entire group will be participating in at least one race this season (Helvetia Half-Marathon). You certainly don’t have to be competitive about it, but it’s fun to run or walk in a different place, get a race number, and cross the finish line.


  35. What if I travel during my training? Can I attend other USA FIT city programs?
    Absolutely. USA FIT has programs in almost 40 cities around the country, and you are welcome to attend any USA FIT meeting anywhere.  Keep in mind that each USA FIT program is on its own training schedule preparing for their local marathon.  So they may not be in-season or they may be doing different mileage.  But you can usually adjust and it’s fun to meet our extended marathon training family.


  36. Could I win the Portland Marathon?
    Of course you could. However, most likely you’ll get a nice t-shirt, a finisher’s medal, a mug, bragging rites and a lot of cheers from spectators and coaches. And, that my friend, is winning!


  37. What if I want to find out more?
    Please read our website or visit our Facebook page.  If you need help, send an email to Thanks!