The PRC Scholls store has a number of excellent training groups that I would recommend to any new or experienced runner. In the summer, most of the runs are on the Fanno Creek trail, a relatively flat paved running/biking trail near the store. In the winter, runs are on nearby roads, although always in areas with sidewalks. Both options make for good weekday runs, and groups typically have good options for a variety of paces. In general, I would say that runs at the Scholls store tend a little more toward runners in the 8+ min/mile category, although some faster folks show up too. Amenities are excellent – the store has water, a box to keep your keys safe, and of course knowledgeable staff if you need to buy shoes or gear. There are also quite frequently events sponsored by various shoe companies at the group runs, which let you try out new shoes for a whole run (much more enlightening than a jog through the parking lot) and then an opportunity to win a pair of shoes or other items at the end. If you live anywhere nearby, this is a running hub worth checking out! If you find that one night is not a perfect fit, try another night, as composition of groups does vary a bit (Monday runs have more fast folks; Wednesday has more walkers). Any night you go, though, you should find that everyone is very friendly.
I just want to say a public thank you to all associated with Portland Running Company. It’s owners Dave and Paula Harkin, its friendly and knowledgeable staff — AND the great runners/leaders that come out to PRC’s group runs to welcome everyone there and to provide encouragement to all. There are winners in running, but to me, all who participate can think of themselves as winners. Everyone can improve and can thus be a winner. The group runs at PRC are a real encouragement to “regular” people who run or walk at all different paces and distances. Participation and engagement are what counts and the PRC folks encourage us all to participate in their events (and others in the community) as well as be engaged with the other regular folks running and walking around us.
All of this has certainly encouraged my running and has provided me with a community to join.
When I first got into running I was hesitant about going into a running store where everyone was, presumably, an accomplished runner. But the accomplished runners at Portland Running Company were warm and welcoming to me as a newbie and continue to be informative and encouraging as I become a better runner. PRC is the only place I’ll go.