Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about USA FIT Champions:

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 Champions?
    Yes!  Registration will open on June 1 and stay open until August 30.  You can still register in person as long as you can convince us that you can mange the distances we are currently running.  Just show up on a Saturday morning and speak to one of our coaches or our organizer.  We meet at the Ground Up Athletics, 130 Vintage Park Blvd., Suite D, 77070.
  2. I’m not a member. Do you allow drop-ins? USA FIT Champions 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 Champions? USA FIT Champions is an award-winning, 26-week running and walking program. This same program is currently being held in over 40 cities throughout the U.S. USA FIT Champions will begin its next season in July.
  4. Who should join? USA FIT Champions 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 Champions season? The official USA FIT Champions season is the six months prior to the Chevron Houston Marathon and the USA FIT Marathon, which occur in January. The season usually runs from early July through early January. This is when we hold our seminars and provide training schedules for our members.
  6. Where is the training? During the season, we meet at Ground Up Athletics, 130 Vintage Park Blvd., Suite D, 77070.
  7. Can walkers participate? Walkers are welcome! We have a wonderful walking program that will enable you to complete the Cypress Half in November, and the Aramco Half Marathon and USA FIT Ft. Bend Kia Half in January.
  8. Are you affiliated with a charity? USA FIT Champions 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 in 1987 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 Champions consists of a full marathon group, a half marathon group and a walking group, each with a head coach.  Assistant coaches (or run leaders) train with the various paces in each 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 weekend run will be a two- or three-mile pace-finder walk or run. Your time for pace run/walk will place you in a group. You should walk or run at a pace at which you feel you could keep going for a little bit beyond those two or three miles. If you couldn’t keep walking or running after completing our initial pace finder, then you are going too fast.
  12. Why should I walk or run my time trial slower when I can go faster? Simply because you are training for a marathon, not a two- or three-mile race. 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.
  13. What are the weekly seminars? Each weekend, after 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 or walk with our groups before each seminar. The seminar will start at 8:00 a.m. 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 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.
  16. Do we get discounts on shoes? There will be more information to come.
  17. How can I sign up? Online registration opens June 1 for the 2019-2020 season.  If online registration closes and you still want to join, just show up on a Saturday morning and speak to one of our coaches or our organizer.  We meet at Ground Up Athletics, 130 Vintage Park Blvd., Suite D, 77070.
  18. How much does it cost? USA FIT Champion’s 26-week training program for new members is $125.00.
  19. What is included for the sign-up fee?
    • Ability-based group workouts and coaching
    • Training log
    • Weekly seminars
    • Weekly training schedules
    • USA FIT Champions T-shirt
    • Discounts at sports apparel stores
    • Social activities and more!
  20. When are the in-person sign-up sessions? Please check on our website and sign up for our newsletter to get the latest information on Registration (including early registration discounts). In-person registration takes place at Ground Up Athletics, 130 Vintage Park Blvd. Suite D.
  21. What happens at the sign-up session? The sign-up sessions include sign-ups, an orientation seminar and a chance to meet the coaches.
  22. Can I pay with a credit card? Yes. If you register online by clicking on the red “Register Now” button at the top of the page, you can 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 or bring cash or check to the in-person sign-ups.
  23. Do I have to attend both orientation sessions? If possible, we’d like you to attend the meet and greet sessions on July 15th or 17th from 5-7 pm   We will cover all the details of how the program works the first Saturday morning (July 20). The content of the first two seminars is also different. The first week is information about USA FIT Champions; the second seminar is a mandatory session on “Hydration and Warm Weather Running.”
  24. 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 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.
  25. Does entry into USA FIT Champions include entry into the marathon? No, your payment to USA FIT Champions only covers the cost of your participation in the training program. We are not affiliated with the goal races in any way — we just train for them.
  26. 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 four days a week. Your long run or walk will usually 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.
  27. 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 or walk 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.
  28. Do I have to be there every week? While those long runs and walks 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.
  29. Can we participate in races during training? Sure! In fact, the entire group will be participating in two races this season. 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.
  30. What if I travel during my training? Can I attend USA FIT programs in other cities? Absolutely. USA FIT has programs in over 40 cities in the U.S., and you are welcome to attend any USA FIT meeting anywhere.
  31. Could I win the marathon? Of course you could. However, most likely you’ll get a nice T-shirt, a finisher’s medal, bragging rights, and a lot of cheers from spectators and coaches.
  32. What if I want to find out more? Send us an e-mail at