Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about USA FIT Tampa 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 Tampa Bay?
    Once we are past the registration date, we cannot take any new members training for the full marathon. The 2019 season registration will open June 1, 2019, and will not close until September 1, 2019.
  2. I’m not a member. Do you allow drop-ins? USA FIT Tampa Bay does not have a drop-in program. Our all-inclusive membership covers our seminars, coaching, and training runs. Visiting members from other USA Fit programs are always welcome!
  3. What is USA FIT Tampa Bay? USA FIT Tampa Bay is an award-winning, 25-week running and run/walk program. This same program is currently being held in over 50 cities throughout the U.S. and internationally. USA FIT Tampa Bay will begin its next season in August 2019. Want to meet us now? Check out our events on Facebook and join TBF friends on their next group run – we’d love to meet you!
  4. Who should join? USA FIT Tampa 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. Whether you have only dreamed of completing a marathon or have done several, this program has something to offer you!
  5. When is the USA FIT Tampa Bay season? The official USA FIT Tampa Bay season is the six months prior to our final season target race. This usually runs from August to February. This is when we hold our seminars and provide training schedules for our members. Check out the area group runs to Stay Fit in the off season!
  6. Where is the training? We train in the heart of St. Pete, downtown where all the action takes place and beauty abounds! What more could you as for?! We meet in the parking lot at North Shore Drive and 12th Avenue NE, St. Petersburg, FL (next to the tennis courts). We also take field trips to Bellaire Bridge, Clearwater Beach, and Safety Harbor to vary our terrain and get in that great hill training on the bridges.
  7. Are you affiliated with a charity? USA FIT Tampa 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.
  8. How did all this come about? It all began in Houston about 30 years ago with 50 runners, two guys, and an idea that runners needed some guidance and training to achieve their marathon goals.
  9. What is an ability-based color group? USA FIT Tampa Bay consists of pace groups: Green, Yellow, Red, Orange, and Purple. You will be placed in the group that best suits your training pace. This system works because it allows you to train with those who are at your ability level.
  10. What color group will I be in? Our first weekend run is a pace finder run. Your run or walk time 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 the mileage we have set and be able to talk. If you couldn’t keep running after completing our initial pace finder, then you are going too fast.
  11. Why should I run or run/walk my two or three mile pace finding run slower when I can go faster? Simply because you are training for a marathon, not a 5k or 10k 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.
  12. What are the weekly seminars?  Most weekends, after the group run, we’ll hold a 15-25 minute educational seminar. Topics will all be health and fitness related, and will be led by knowledgeable speakers. After each seminar, you will break off into your color groups for a brief talk and question-and-answer with your coach.
  13. What happens on any given Saturday? We meet at a specified time, arriving ten minutes early to sign in. We will run the prescribed mileage for that week and return for light stretching or core work. Then a 15-25 min seminar with a different topic/speaker each time is presented. We then break into our color groups and get a few updates from our color group coach or our organizer.
  14. Who created our schedule? Our schedule comes from the great folks at USA Fit. Since 1989, 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.
  15. Do we get discounts on shoes/clothing? Yes, you do, thanks to our running store sponsor, St. Pete Running Company.
  16. How can I sign up? You can sign up online by clicking the “Register Now” button at the top of the page. We will announce the registration opening date this spring.
  17. How much does it cost? USA FIT Tampa Bay offers extremely competitive prices you won’t find anywhere else. Our program is nationwide. Tampa Bay Fit’s 25 -week training program costs only $120 for new members. Early bird specials and return members discounts are offered.
  18. What is included for the sign-up fee?
    • Ability-based group workouts and coaching
    • Weekly training schedules
    • Group runs with course support, hydration stations, and coaches to motivate and encourage you on the run
    • Weekly seminars
    • The coveted USA FIT Tampa Bay techt-shirt
    • Discounts at local retailers
    • Social activities and more!
  19. When are the in-person sign-up sessions? We will have an in-person sign up party at St. Pete Running Company  time TBA. In-person sign up will also be available at our Orientation on August 11th and the 2018 season Kick Off on August 18th. Sign up for our newsletter on our home page to receive the details.
  20. What happens at the sign-up session? The sign-up sessions include registration, an orientation, and an opportunity to meet the coaches. Our kick off day will include a short pace finder run or walk which helps place you in the correct training group.
  21. Can I pay with a credit card? If you wish to pay by credit card, please register online. Otherwise please bring a check or cash to the registration dates.
  22. Do I have to attend both orientation sessions? If possible, we’d like you to attend orientation the first week of the season, beginning in August. All members will walk or run their first 2 or 3 miles at the Kick Off.
  23. 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 the orientation. That’s why we have another sign-up the following week. The Week 1 seminar will be a quick overview of orientation, but we have Coaches ready to answer any question you have from the previous week.
  24. Does entry into USA FIT Tampa Bay include entry into the marathon? No, your payment to USA FIT Tampa Bay only covers the cost of your participation in the training program. Each season, Tampa Bay Fit offers a full marathon schedule for the Disney Marathon and the Clearwater Distance Classic marathon, along with a half marathon and full marathon schedule for our season finale target race each year. We are looking into target race options for 2019-20 season and the possibility of keeping it local and partnering with St. Pete Distance Classic. Many members also train with us for these other half and full marathons: Florida Road Races, St. Pete Beach Classic, Best Damn Race, Gasparilla Distance Classic, Marine Corps Marathon, Space Coast Marathon and Half Marathon, New York Marathon, and many other races across the country. If you are trying to qualify for Boston, then our Green group is for you! Many times, you’ll have a new Tampa Bay Fit (TBF) friend, or TBF group of friends, to train and meet up with at any given race. Of course, our scheduled target races are a guaranteed fun time with the whole team!
  25. 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 4 days a week. Your long run will 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, unless you take part in the speed workout.
  26. What does “20” on the weekly schedule (during the week) mean? Are we running 20 miles? During the week, we run or walk 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 4 miles. Listen to your coaches on how to run/walk these miles each week.
  27. Do I have to be there every week? No, many members are unable to make every weekend session. The weekend seminars are important, but you can always ask your coach or running buddies about what you missed. However, those long runs are a lot easier when you’re doing them with the group! And in our experience, the success of our members is directly proportional to their ability to attend our weekend training runs and seminars. When you do have to miss a week, check our website for the next week’s schedule. REMEMBER AS WITH ANY PROGRAM-YOU GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN. Your participation is vital to your success.
  28. Can we participate in races during training? Sure! We encourage you to participate in races during training. In fact, every year we have races as part of our training schedule. These races are meant as intermediate goals along the way, they are a great way to practice the race-day strategies that we will teach you, and they are a lot of fun. The benchmark races for the 2019-20 season are St. Pete Run Fest and St. Pete Beach Classic
  29. 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.
  30. 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. And that, my friend, IS winning!
  31. What if I want to find out more? Send us an e-mail at