Home / Training Programs / Winter / *VIRTUAL* Winter Half-Marathon Program

*VIRTUAL* Winter Half-Marathon Program

A CURRENT MCRRC MEMBERSHIP is REQUIRED to participate in this program. Please note that membership is NOT included in your program registration. PRIOR TO JOINING this program, you must become a member. If you are unsure if you have a CURRENT MCRRC Membership, please contact office@mcrrc.org for assistance. Otherwise, please click here to become a valued member.

Registration is CLOSED for 2021.

Virtual Program Overview:

MCRRC and its volunteer program directors and coaches are committed to helping club members reach their running goals, even as most in-person activities are suspended for the health and safety of all.  This year’s program will be conducted virtually, where no runners will physically meet to run together. It is recommended that all program participants have a GPS watch or a running app on their phone, since each runner will be responsible for ensuring the distance and pace of their runs.  The Program Director is happy to provide guidance on watches and apps.

Goals and Purpose of Program:

The Winter Half-Marathon Program (WHMP) is designed for runners who are accustomed to running middle distances. While in-person events might turn out to be in short supply in the first half of 2021, it is an excellent time to build a solid base and work on some of the extra’s – stretching, strengthening, and cross-training that will let you come out of these trying times ready to go.  The program will prepare you for a spring race or provide a base for longer distance races that might happen later in the spring or summer.

Monthly training plans will be provided, giving participants a road map to build mileage safely. We will host weekly Zoom calls, the format of which will vary from week to week. Some weeks will feature guest speakers on injury prevention, nutrition, and other topics while some weeks will feature more interactive discussions with coaches and allow participants to ask questions about workouts, pacing or any general running questions.  Coaches will also be available via e-mail to answer any questions throughout the program.

While we will not meet in person, we will provide a library of good running routes at a variety of distances and in different locations that will allow you to get out and explore running spots around the county if you wish.  If you are most comfortable running close to home, you are welcome to do that as well.

We train runners of varying ability levels including beginners. You do not have to be a fast runner to do our program or complete a half marathon though it is important that your base going into the program is sufficient to support the increasing mileage. We will provide recommended paces and effort levels for various workouts.  For many, this is not the time to be shooting for a PR at any given distance and that is ok. If you do have specific fitness goals in mind, it will be important that you stick to the recommended pace and effort levels provided for the workouts.

We will utilize Strava to encourage accountability and community support.  Participants will be encouraged to upload all runs to Strava to allow for coaching feedback and encouragement.  While this may be new to a lot of people, we think that if people actively use it, it will really provide a nice way for our group to support each other during the program.

The program structure is subject to change as we learn from our experiences.  These protocols are new to everyone and we appreciate your patience and kindness with our volunteer coaching staff at all times.

Prerequisites:MCRRC Membership is required for participation in this program.  If you are not a member, you will have the opportunity to join MCRRC during registration.  Participants must be 18 or older to register.

Runners should have a weekly mileage base of 15-20 miles and should be able to comfortably run 6 miles without stopping.  If you don’t have the mileage base required, please consider another winter training program or working on your own to build up your mileage for MCRRC’s Summer Half-Marathon Program in 2021.

Dates/Target Race:

Dates:January 14 – April 29, 2021

Target Race: If MCRRC is able to stage any low-key races in the spring, we may encourage participants to take part to measure their progress in the program. Running a goal race is not required to participate and now more than ever, those who just want to train with a group are welcome.

Cost/Premium Info: Online registration is $50.  Program registration fees are non-refundable for any reason.  By completing your registration, you agree to these terms. There will be no premium included with registration.


Program Staff:

Head Coaches/Directors: Ken Earley and Karen Kincer


About Ken:  Ken is the current President of MCRRC and is an RRCA Certified Coach who has run frequently with XMP and other MCRRC programs.   He is an amazingly consistent runner, known for winning 4th place (never 3rd, never 5th) in his age group.   Ken might run faster if he weren’t so busy motivating the other runners around him by telling them fabulous stories to amuse them through their races.  Ken and his wife Mary jumped full speed into parenting by adopting two children from Ethiopia several years ago and quickly became the typical crazy, scattered American family.

About Karen: Karen is also an RRCA Certified Coach and is coming full circle with her running.  After begging not to be cut from her junior high track team, she was captain of her college cross country and track teams and started running longer distances with MCRRC in her mid-20s, first with the FTM Program.  She was MCRRC’s Runner of the Year in 1999 and has since been through pregnancies, days of pushing a triple jogging stroller, fast races, injuries, and is now happy to just be able to run.

Ken and Karen previously served together on the MCRRC Board of Directors.   For the last several years they have coached opposing teams in the City of Rockville’s Youth Track and Field Program.   They are hoping that the runners in Winter Half Program will have better listening skills than the younger athletes they coach but will exhibit just as much joy and pride in their accomplishments come race day.


Date/Time:  Monday, January 18, 2021 at 7:00pm

Location:  Zoom Meeting ID: 953 5664 7224; Passcode: 404462

Workouts/Pace Groups:

Pace Group Information:

If you have a current race time (last 6 months) there will be a place to let us know that on your registration. Otherwise, we will be asking some questions about your current weekly mileage, LSD pace and other things. Please don’t lie. We use this information to recommend workouts that will allow you to build your fitness level while preventing injury.  If you don’t provide accurate information, your risk of injury goes up, as does the chance that you will be unhappy with the program, us, and your results.


As the program will be virtual this year, all workouts will be done on your own.  In general, we will set the workout schedule for a long run on Sunday and runs with some higher intensity elements on Tuesday and Thursdays with two other runs during the week. If you need to change the days of workouts, that is fine and we will discuss ways to safely adjust the schedule during orientation and on our weekly Zoom calls as needed.

Communication Methods: We will use a private, online group to facilitate communications. Everyone will be required to join this group to participate in the program. Instructions on how to join this group will be provided by the Program Director.

Disclaimer: The program director reserves the right in their sole discretion to refuse admission to the program or dismiss any individual from the program whom the program director believes is unsuited for running the specified distance, or is unable to meet the demands of the training schedule, or is disruptive to other program participants. Those individuals will be denied entry into the program or dismissed from the program as appropriate. The program director also reserves the right to limit the number of participants in the overall program or in individual pace groups. MCRRC has a No Refund policy. Program registration fees cannot be refunded due to injury, schedule conflict or any other reason.