Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about USA FIT East Bay:

Questions about the program:

Questions about signing up:

Questions about the training:

Other questions:

  1. It is past the registration date. Can I still join USA FIT East Bay?
    Out training program runs from January through July each year, and our registration period starts in December each year and continues through January 31st.  However, if you missed registration, send us an email and we’ll get you going!
  2. I’m not a member. Do you allow drop-ins? USA FIT East Bay does not have a drop-in program unless you are a visiting member of another USA FIT program. Our all-inclusive membership covers our seminars, coaching, and training runs/walks.
  3. What is USA FIT East Bay? USA FIT East Bay is an award-winning, 26-week running program. This same program is currently being held in over 50 cities throughout the U.S. and internationally. USA FIT East Bay begins each training season in January and concludes in July.
  4. Who should join? USA FIT East Bay 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.
  5. When is the USA FIT East Bay season? The official USA FIT East Bay season is the six months prior to the San Francisco Marathon and Half Marathon. This usually runs from January until July. This is when we hold our seminars and provide training schedules for our members.
  6. Where is the training? We meet at a variety of east bay park and trail locations and will begin our program year at Osage Station Park in Danville.  Each week we publish a meeting location in email and on our Facebook page.
  7. Can walkers participate? We are currently not offering a walking program but will consider this in the future.
  8. Are you affiliated with a charity? USA FIT East Bay is not associated with a charity, and you do not need to raise money to participate in this program. There are several good marathon training programs where raising money for a charity is part of the program. While these can be effective and rewarding, we realize that it’s not for everyone, and it may be impossible to do year after year. Some of our members choose to raise money for a charity, but it certainly isn’t a requirement.
  9. How did all this come about? It all began in Houston about 24 years ago with 50 runners, two guys, and an idea that runners needed some guidance and training to achieve their marathon goals.
  10. What is an ability-based color group? USA FIT East Bay consists of multiple pace groups which are given a color such as Blue, Green, Red. 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 Red group. This system works because it allows you to train with those who are at your ability level.
  11. What color group will I be in? Our first two weekend runs are one- or three-mile pace finder runs. Your time for the pace run will place you in a color group. You should run at a pace at which you feel you could keep going for a little bit beyond those one or three miles. If you couldn’t keep walking or running after completing our initial pace finder, then you are going too fast. All walkers are in our Purple group regardless of pace.
  12. Why should I run my one or two mile time trial slower when I can go faster? Simply because you are training for a marathon, not a one- or three-mile race. 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.
  13. What are the weekly seminars? Each weekend, before the group run, we’ll hold a 15-20 minute educational seminar. Topics will all be health- and fitness-related and will be led by industry professionals. After each seminar, you will break off into your color groups for a brief talk and question-and-answer with your coach.
  14. What happens on any given Saturday? We run with our groups after each seminar. The seminar will start at 8am every Saturday. After the seminar, we usually meet with our color groups for a few minutes to talk with the coaches, ask questions, make plans for the next week, etc. Before the weekend, you will be given the starting time for your color group (available on this site and in the e-newsletter you’ll be receiving).
  15. Who created our schedule? Our schedule comes from the great folks at Houston FIT. For over 24 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.
  16. Where do we normally run on Saturdays as a group? We usually run the Iron Horse Trail or other trails in the East bay Area as a group.
  17. Do we get discounts on shoes? There will be more information to come.
  18. How can I sign up? Signups are open from December to January each year. You can sign up online by clicking on the red “Register Now” button at the top of the page, or in person at one of our two orientation sessions.  If you missed the registration window, don’t worry – send us an email and we’ll get you going!
  19. How much does it cost? USA FIT East Bay’s 26-week training program costs only $125 for new members and $100 for returning USA FIT members.
  20. What is included for the sign-up fee?
    • Ability-based group workouts and coaching
    • Training log
    • Weekly seminars
    • Weekly training schedules
    • USA FIT East Bay T-shirt
    • Occasional discounts at sports apparel stores
    • Social activities and more!
  21. When are the in-person sign-up sessions? In-person registration for USA FIT East Bay’s season takes place at Osage Station Park, 816 Brookside Drive, Danville, CA. 94583. Sign-ups are at 8am on our first two sessions.
  22. What happens at the sign-up session? The sign-up sessions include sign-ups, an orientation seminar, and a short time trial run which helps place you in the correct training 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.
  23. Can I pay with a credit card? Yes. Register online by clicking on the red “Register Now” button at the top of the page to pay with a credit card. We cannot accept credit cards at our in-person sign-ups, so please sign up online with your credit card online or bring cash or check to the in-person sign-ups.
  24. Do I have to attend both orientation sessions? If possible, we’d like you to attend both sessions (weeks 1 and 2). We will cover all the details of how the program works the first week and place you into groups. The content of the first two seminars is also different. The first week is information about USA FIT East Bay; the second seminar is a session on “Hydration and Warm Weather Running.”
  25. 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 Coaches/Assistant Coaches ready to answer any question you have from the previous week.
  26. Does entry into USA FIT East Bay include entry into the marathon? No, your payment to USA FIT East Bay only covers the cost of your participation in the training program. We are not affiliated with the San Francisco Marathon & Half Marathon in any way — we just train for it. We will provide information about how to sign up for the San Francisco Marathon & Half Marathon.
  27. 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 only four days a week. Your long run will usually take place on Saturday with your group. The day after your long run is always a rest day. During the week, you run for time only (i.e., 30 minutes), not for distance.
  28. 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 “30” on a Tuesday, you should run 30 minutes. Do this at a comfortable pace unless instructed to do otherwise. On the weekends, we do miles, so the schedule will say four miles. Listen to your coaches for guidance on running these miles each week.
  29. Do I have to be there every week? While those long runs are a lot easier when you’re doing them with the group, we know there are times when you won’t be able to make a weekend meeting. The seminars are important, so be sure to speak with your coach or running buddies about what you missed. In our experience, the success of our members is directly proportional to their ability to attend our weekend trainings. If you do have to miss a week, check this website for the next week’s schedule.
  30. Can we participate in races during training? Sure!  You certainly don’t have to be competitive about it, but it’s fun to run in a different place, get a race number, and cross the finish line.
  31. What if I travel during my training? Can I attend USA FIT programs in other cities? Absolutely. USA FIT has programs in over 50 cities around the world, and you are welcome to attend any USA FIT meeting anywhere.
  32. Could I win the marathon? Of course you could. However, most likely you’ll get a nice T-shirt, a finisher’s medal, bragging rites, and a lot of cheers from spectators and coaches.
  33. What if I want to find out more? Send us an e-mail at