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QUICK COLUMN: Need motivation to exercise? Join a goal-specific training group

Willpower, the mental energy to exert self-control, gets depleted the more decisions humans face, John Tierney, co-author of “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength” said in an interview on “CBS This Morning” last week.

Join a training camp

Couch to 5K

What: From Couch to 5K Training Program. Eight weeks of preparation for the Catch the Leprechaun Run on March 14. The program is oriented to people who want to complete a 5K. It will be led by Noah Moore, USA Track & Field-certified coach.

When: 7 a.m. Sundays

Where: Meet at Alhambra Hall in Mount Pleasant.

Cost: $50 (includes 20 percent discount on Catch the Leprechaun fee)

More info: www.moore

Official Bridge Run Clinic

What: The 12-week Official Bridge Run Training Clinic. The coaches are Benita Schlau, assistant director of the Cooper River Bridge Run; Tyler Cross, a personal trainer and local runner; and Katie Blaylock, a personal trainer.

When & where: 6 p.m. Tuesdays starting Jan. 15 at the MUSC Wellness Center, Charleston; 6 a.m. Wednesdays starting Jan. 16 at the MUSC Wellness Center; 6 p.m. Wednesdays starting Jan. 16 at the Mount Pleasant Municipal Complex track.

Cost: $75

More info: www.bridge

Triathlon clinic

What: Parris Island Triathlon Training Camp, an eight-week program to prepare for the Parris Island sprint triathlon or other early season triathlons. Rip Oldmeadow, a former professional triathlete, is the coach.

When: Begins 8-10 a.m. Saturday

Where: TrySports, Mount Pleasant; training sessions will take place at various locations.

How much: $500 or $200 for 3 sessions. (Includes personalized training program, group training sessions, $100 discount for personal training at Shaping Concepts, and a free TrySports Believe Achieve Club membership during the eight weeks).

More info: www.try

Foot Store clinic

What: Beat the Bridge Run Training Clinic, sponsored by The Foot Store and Brooks. The coaches are Brian Johnson and Ryan Thompson, both USA Track & Field-certified coaches, former collegiate coaches and accomplished local runners. The clinic lasts 10 weeks.

When: 6-7 p.m. Thursdays starting Jan. 24

Where: Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park

Cost: $65 (includes a Good Form Running Clinic and Evaluation)

More info: www.foot

TrySports program

What: TrySports Bridge Run Training Program. The coaches are Shelley Smith and Peggy Klimecki, experienced runners. The 10 weeks of training are geared toward beginner and intermediate runners.

When & where: Info session is 7 p.m. Jan. 17 at TrySports in Mount Pleasant. Training will be at 6 a.m. at Alhambra Hall or 6:15 p.m. at Patriots Point on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and at 7 a.m. Saturdays at the former Red & White grocery store on the Isle of Palms.

Cost: $50

More info: pleasant

Summerville Y program

What: Y in Training. The coaches are Lucinda Hughes for Monday/Wednesday session; Kendall Shows for Tuesday/Thursday; and Nicole Moore for Wednesday/Friday. The 10-week program prepares runners and walkers to participate in the Shamrock Shuffle, formerly known as the Flowertown Run, a 10K and 5K on March 16 in downtown Summerville.

When & where: 10 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays starting this week at the Summerville Y at The Ponds; 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays starting today at the Summerville Y in downtown Summerville; 9 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays starting Wednesday at the Y in downtown Summerville; 8 a.m. Saturdays at various locations.

Cost: $60 for Y members; $85 for nonmembers

More info:

Half-marathon program

What: TrySports Half Marathon Training Program. The coaches are Shelley Smith and Peggy Klimecki, experienced runners. The 14-week program prepares runners and walkers to complete in either the Greer Earth Day Half Marathon on April 20 or the women-only Diva Half Marathon on April 28 in North Myrtle Beach.

When & where: Info session is 7 p.m. Jan. 17 at TrySports in Mount Pleasant. Training will be at 6 a.m. at Alhambra Hall or 6:15 p.m. at Patriot's Point on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and at 7 a.m. Saturdays at the former Red & White grocery store on the Isle of Palms.

Cost: $75

more info: www.try

Eco Fitness program

What: Eco Fitness Bridge Run Training Program is for members only. Ian Blake, a certified trainer and triathlete and runner, will run this 12-week training program. It includes a fitness and weekly runs and consultations.

When & where: Starts Saturday.

Cost: $350.

more info:

It was a timely message as most of us embark on goals in the new year.

Tierney, who wrote the book with research psychologist Roy F. Baumeister, says the key to achieving goals is to limit “decision fatigue.”

He noted quite colorfully that making too many decisions has led numerous public leaders, such as former President Bill Clinton and former N.Y. Gov. Elliot Spitzer, to make embarrassing private mistakes.

The interview also made me think why joining training groups with a common goal is so effective in helping people stay true to a fitness plan.

Not only do you have a goal to train for, such as the Cooper River Bridge Run, but you have to be a specific location at a specific time with a specific group of people to work out with. And since you pay money to join a training group, you'll probably be more apt to get your money's worth.

With the exception of deciding to join a camp or clinic in the first place, your decision is already made. In other words, joining a group makes the decision to training almost automatic.

Instead of having to decide what to do and when to do it, day after day, the decision is kind of already made. You have to be there. The coach or coaches have the workout. And your training partners are depending on you to be there.

With eight different camps starting this month, you have plenty of options to choose from, whether you're starting from scratch and just want to complete a 5K or is somebody ready to step up to a half-marathon.

January, quite frankly, is an inconvenient time to set fitness goals. Winter's short days and often cold and/or rainy weather can be quite unmotivating. Yet training camps, especially held on challenging weather days, can provide the camaraderie and fellowship to keep people true to a common goal.

Besides the training camps, don't forget the array of opportunities to run and walk — 15 in all, from 5Ks to a marathon — with others on weekends from now until the 36th annual Cooper River Bridge Run and Walk on April 6. For a complete list, go to the Charleston Running Club website at www.charlestonrunning

And for those who would rather ride a bike, group rides take place all week. Times and locations are listed on the Coastal Cyclists websiteat

Reach David Quick at 937-5516.

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