Behind the Scenes at the Portland Marathon
Part1: The Portland Marathon Training Clinic

The Portland Marathon Training Clinic is the official training group for the Portland Marathon. The Portland Marathon Training is well known throughout the US as one of the premier training clinics and is one of two nationally with FREE training runs.

History: Event director Les Smith approached the coaches Warren & Patti Finke and Bob Williams who had been providing clinics for the Cascade Run Off to put on a marathon training clinic. They began in 1984 with a marathon (4 hour) evening seminar. They decided they need to provide a series of training runs to go along with the knowledge base and developed the present format in 1985. The marathon and the coaches felt that FREE training runs would always be an integral part of the marathon clinic. The runs started with one weekend day every other week and are now every Saturday

The Coaches: The coaches have well over 100 years of combined coaching experience in distances from track to ultras and runners from beginners to Olympic Trials qualifiers. Warren & Patti Finke have been coaching for over 30 years, have written training articles for local, national and international publications as well as "Marathoning Start to Finish, the clinic training guide. Runners World 2007 featured Warren & Patti as two of the countries most noted marathon coaches. Both were presenters in the RRCA's coaching certifcation and were the major developers of the program's curriculum. Patti is an exercise physiologist who is often quoted in articles in national magazines on both running and walking training advice. DeeAnn Dougherty is a physical therapist who joined the clinic in 2000 after coaching in other marathon programs. The clinic coordinator and coach, Katie Hunter, joined the staff after completing her first marathon through the clinic in 2000. She keeps track of and notifies all the volunteers as well as other duties. Diane Lechner, a group leader for several years, has joined as a coach. All the coaches are RRCA certified running coaches and are known as runners and racers.

The Goal: "Finish and Feel Good" . The clinic uses sound training principles to prepare runners sufficiently so that they will enjoy their marathon experience, want to run more marathons and become lifelong runners.

The Training Runs: the training runs are FREE every Saturday from early April through the marathon. The training runs are led by experienced volunteer group leaders at 12 different goal paces from those wishing to race at under 3 hours to those wanting to complete the marathon in 5 hours. To keep runners interested and enthusiastic, the runs alternate in areas throughout the greater Portland Metropolitan area. Some runs will start at Lululemon in the Pearl and others from Roadrunner Sports in Tualatin. The Kickoff run and several others will start and finish at Mountain Hardwear. To participate, you need to chose the distance you want to run from the 2 - 3 distances offered, show up and sign the waiver. Listen carefully to find your pace group and have fun. You will be offered an opportunity to be part of the marathon spirit by volunteering to help at an aid station one time in the 6 months. The marathon provides water, sport drink, cups and everything else needed. Volunteers often bring treats such as jellybeans and gummi bears and say that helping is as much fun as running.

The Seminars: Five evening seminars to help you understand how to train and why we train are offered. The seminars are Tuesday evenings at Meridian Park Hospital. Topics covered include training basics, marathon physiology, nutrition injury prevention, speed work, marathon psychology plus other details you need to know to complete or compete in a marathon. There are lots of guest speakers including a panel of sports medicine experts on injury prevention, two sports dieticians on everyday day eating plus carbo loading and experienced Portland Marathon finishers with marathon information and stories. Seminar participants receive a 30 week personal training schedule and online log, a clinic microfiber shirt, and a copy of "Marathoning Start To Finish". The coaches are available by phone or email to answer your questions and several physical therapists are present at the seminars to help with any injury problems.

The Advanced Marathon/Half Marathon Clinic: the clinic features a 16 week advanced program with a personalized online schedule and log and a midweek coached run or track session. The program is an expansion of the popular marathon speedwork sessions from previous years. The runs will include fartlek, hill runs and track workouts designed to prepare experienced marathoners and half marathoners to perform at their best. Program begins in June at Duniway Park.

More Info on the Clinics: Sign up for our informative emails. Each email sent by the Marathon Training Clinic will feature training tips for you to read and use. The email has a reminder of the locations for the runs and usually includes online maps of the course. To sign up and for additional info visit the Marathon Clinics training page