Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Capital Area Runners Training Program?
The Capital Area Runners Training Program is a year-round program for runners of all ability levels that provides expert coaching within a supportive team environment. The program offers organized workouts 4 days per week. No matter what your running goals may be, with Capital Area Runners you will find the coaching expertise and training partners you’ll need to assist you in achieving your goal.

Who are the program participants?
Most of the Capital Area Runners Training participants are fairly experienced runners who are seeking a more structured approach to their training with the goal of improving their personal best times. Most participants join the group with the goal of training for a half marathon or marathon. The program consistently produces 50+ Boston Marathon qualifying performances every year, as well as some of the DC area’s top age group runners at distances ranging from the 5k through the marathon.

When does the program begin?
The program has organized workouts 52 weeks a year. New members can join at any point during the year. If you are joining to prepare for a particular target race, it is recommended that you spend at least 3 months preparing for your race.

Who is the coach of the program?
George Buckheit
 is the head coach of Capital Area Runners. He was a two-time NCAA Division I All-American during his collegiate days at Bucknell University and had an outstanding post-collegiate career, representing the United States in international competition. He has posted lifetime bests of 4:02 for the mile, 7:59 for 3,000M, 8:35 for 2miles, 13:43 for 5,000M and 28:39 for 10,000M. George began his coaching career in 1979 as an assistant coach at Bucknell, and in more recent years he has coached many of the DC area’s elite distance runners including multiple Marine Corps Marathon champions and Olympic Trials qualifiers. George has brought a comparable level of success to his non-elite athletes with more than 90% of his marathon runners recording personal best times over the past five years and dozens of runners qualifying for the Boston Marathon every year.

What is the basic training philosophy?
Effective distance running training is repetitive cycles of stress in the form of interval workouts, hill repeats, tempo runs and long runs, followed by rest days in the form of light running and/or cross training to allow your body to rebuild and recover. The easy recovery days are every bit as important to your training as the hard workout days. Failure to build adequate rest and recovery into your training program will result in excess fatigue, frustration with your running, burn out and, in many cases, injury. Our typical training week involves 3 hard workouts and 4 easy days. On our hard days, we work very hard, and on our easy days, we go very easy. We also put a major emphasis on paying attention to the non-running details that have a very big impact on your body’s ability to perform well. Proper nutrition, proper hydration, adequate amounts of sleep, and a sound core strengthening program are extremely important elements of any successful training program.

Most importantly, we try to have fun with the training so that everyone on the team always looks forward to coming to the group training sessions. The tremendous success of the CAR training program has come from the sound coaching advice of George Buckheit and the supportive team dynamic and camaraderie that exists among the members of Capital Area Runners.

Why speed train?
The interval training and tempo runs that we do as part of the CAR Training Program are intended to improve your physiological and mechanical efficiency as a runner. By incorporating speed work into your training, your body will improve its ability to utilize and deliver oxygen to the muscles that need it during exercise and you’ll be “waking up” your fast twitch muscle fibers that you don’t normally employ in your everyday running. The end result will be that running at any pace or distance, whether it be a mile or a marathon, will become easier as your body’s efficiency improves.

Where/when will the group be meeting? 
As a member of the program, you will have access to organized training sessions 4 days per week with CAR’s head coach George Buckheit. Tuesday interval workouts will be run at Washington-Liberty HS at 6:30 AM. Tempo runs will take place at Washington-Liberty HS on Fridays at 6:30 AM. The weekend meeting times are seasonally adjusted with 7:00 AM being the normal summer meeting time and 8:00 AM being the typical winter meeting time. The weekend runs meet in a variety of locations, but most frequently begin from either Fletcher’s Boathouse or Carderock Recreation Area on the C&O Canal Towpath.

What other benefits are associated with the program? 
Other benefits of the program include our popular weekly e-newsletter with general club news, training tips, race results and advice from George Buckheit, as well as discounts on shoes, apparel and accessories at our retail partner, Road Runner Sports with locations in Arlington, Falls Church and Sterling.

What is the cost of the program?
The cost of the program is $120 for a 2 month session, $170 for a 3 month session, $300 for a 6 month session, or $65 per month for those who prefer to participate on a month-to-month basis. Memberships must be paid in advance. Click 
here to register online.

Although there are fees involved in participating in this program, we will never exclude anyone from participation in this program due to an inability to pay. If you are a full-time student or if you meet the qualifying standards for CAR’s  Elite Development Program, you are welcome to participate in the program free of charge. If you have some other legitimate financial burden that makes the cost of the program prohibitive for you, please send a note to with an explanation.

How do I get more info?
For more information about Capital Area Runners and our training programs, including online training options, contact George Buckheit at