Updated: Aug 27
The Big Question Every Runner Has. Why Should You Consider Joining a Running Group?
There's no denying that running is a freeing, empowering experience. Whether you're a seasoned marathoner or simply enjoy going on casual jogs around the park, runners know that there's nothing quite like the sensation of having your feet connect with the pavement and hearing your own breathing in your ears as you pound down the road.
Running groups take this experience one step further by providing new motivation and support for those who want to improve their running skills or just have fun with others who share their passion for running. Here are just some of the many benefits that can come from joining a group:
1. New Running Techniques
Taking from my own running journey, I've gained first-hand experience, knowledge, advice, tips, and tricks from others I met through running groups.
The power of observation is an undervalued technique. By engaging with other runners whether on the track, road, trail or at a race, I've been able to improve my running by simply observing those around me. Sponsors are another great resource to pick their brains on nutrition, gear, tips, personal experience, etc.
Being in a setting with like-minded individuals can be motivating in itself. I've gone for runs alone and found myself thinking about what my goal is, and what my intention is right before going for a run. Am I aiming for time, distance, endurance, etc? Then I see others around me and wonder what their goal is. I find that that motivates me more to stick to my goal. The same thing applies when I run with someone else or multiple people.
Another way that running with a group can be motivational is when you have those days when you just dread getting ready and don't have the energy to go for a run. Having a group to go run with can be a great motivator and make that dreed you felt minutes ago just disappear. I've found that being in that type of environment is a great motivator and turns what I thought would be a terrible run into a not-so-bad run.
Running groups are also a great support system during training runs and especially for races. The sense of camaraderie and support you get can be invaluable. You'll find that other people's motivation and support can be contagious, and help keep you moving when the going gets rough-because trust me, it will at some point in your life as a runner.
Another way that running groups can be a great support system is by building a network. You can meet others through connections and they may be able to offer support from providing tips and advice to offering classes and deals that you may not have known about, or other group events going on.
You'll meet like-minded people. Finding people who share the same interests and have similar lifestyles, makes it easier to build a connection and not feel like you are on your own.
I have found it helpful being in a running group because I can talk about struggles, and victories, and ask questions knowing that they understand and can relate. Having that kind of community can be comforting.
It's like having another family - except this time it's someone who has your best interests at heart and wants nothing more than for you to succeed in life!
If you're the type who likes to be social and make friends, then this is a great way to do it. You'll meet people with shared interests and hopefully form some lasting bonds.
If you're not an outgoing or social person, or if you have trouble making friends, don't worry - you'll still get out of it what you put into it. The more effort that goes into being friendly and welcoming towards others, the easier time they'll have warming up to you.
6. Fun. Friendship. Foundation.
Running groups can make running fun. I know running is not always easy or fun at times, but being able to share that with others can turn things around. Just like how earlier I mentioned motivation can be contagious, well fun people can also be contagious.
Running groups are also a great way to build friendships and make new ones. You share one thing in common already, and the more you run together and get to know people you may find you have other interests in common, and then boom, you start to build a friendship. Before you know it you're going out and doing other stuff outside of running.
A running club also provides a great foundation. What do I mean by that? If a building doesn't have a sturdy foundation it'll topple over. A runner with a goal is a good start to having a foundation, but being in a group with people who share similar goals builds on that foundation and provides additional support. It's like having a shoulder to lean on if you need it.
Is Joining a Running Group Right For You?
If you like to get out and enjoy being around other people then joining a running group is absolutely a great idea. If you are more on the shy side, and social gatherings can be too much then maybe hold off on joining a running group. An option to consider is to still join a running group but reach out to a few select people you may want to run with and keep it small. Build up to going out to the bigger group runs.
I understand it can be intimidating going to a group run especially if you don't know anyone or seem like a competitive environment but you should sike yourself out. Running groups are welcoming of newbies. After all, everyone was once a newbie when joining or starting a running group. In every running group, there's always someone who will take you under their belt and help you get adjusted. You don't have anything to worry about other than finding that running group or multiple running groups that you want to be a part of.