Running is often thought of as a solitary form of exercise, but the recent spike in the popularity of running groups is changing that view.
As big a part of my life as the IT world is, it’s not the only thing I think about. I also happen to be an avid fitness enthusiast! I believe exercise and wellness are big parts of leading a happy, healthy, and successful life, and I’d like to pass that on to you.
In this series, I’ll share simple and effective tips and insight for leading a healthier life. Keep these in mind, and you’ll be surprised by how soon you feel a difference!
This week I’ll be sharing a few reasons to give a local running club a shot.
There is a tendency for people to think of running or jogging as a solo activity, and for a lot of runners, it is. Some prefer the solitude and like to be able to focus on their own pacing and progress as they get their miles in, while others just aren’t fond of group activities. If you’re dedicated and motivated, there’s nothing wrong with sticking to a solo running routine.
However, there is a lot to be said for joining a local running club.
One of the biggest benefits of running with a group is the structure and motivation that goes along with it. It’s a lot harder to skip out on your workouts when you’ve got people waiting for you, and expecting you to show up and take part in the day’s planned run. A group will hold you accountable and offer encouragement on the days you’re not feeling like you’re at your best. You might even find that the opportunity for a little friendly competition on more fast-paced runs is something you thrive off of.
Most clubs are made up of runners of all skill levels, giving you access to seasoned veterans and coaches who can offer advice and support to help you meet the goals you’ve set for yourself – whether that be running a marathon, or simply improving your stamina and fitness level. They’ll have some great pointers to share with you, offering little tips and tricks that runners tend to pick up over the years.
When you’ve got an experienced coach helping to plan out a club’s running schedule, you have the added benefit of knowing that your routine will have the challenges and variety you need to improve your time, pacing, and distance. Solo runners often fall into a rut over time, sticking to the same routes and locations each time they head out. That sense of familiarity is great from a safety perspective, but the lack of a change of scenery can get tedious after a while. New routes can keep things interesting, and it’s much easier to be adventurous and check out a new part of the city when you’re with a group.
The social aspect of a running club is another huge benefit. Aside from the motivation and encouragement fellow runners will be glad to offer you, many people find that having someone to chat with makes the miles go by much faster. Most clubs stick to a steady but brisk pace in order to make sure no one lags behind, which makes it easy to stick close enough to someone to carry on a conversation with ease. If you’re someone who finds themselves losing steam early in your runs out of boredom or distraction, the ability to socialize might just be the biggest advantage of joining a running club.
Meeting fellow runners you’d otherwise likely never get the chance to know also means having the opportunity to make new friends. You’ve already got a shared interest with all of these people, and there’s a good chance you’ll have even more in common with a few club members. Making friends as an adult isn’t always easy, so think of a running club as the grown-up version of a playdate. You’ll have fun no matter what, and you might just click with a person or two.
Making friends with fellow local runners also means learning about other activities or events you might not have known were taking place. You’ll get the chance to take part in nearby marathons that aren’t heavily advertised in your area, charity fun runs, and even more adventurous events like mud runs – which are significantly more fun when you’ve got a great team of people to compete with.
Check out social media sites and community message boards to find out about the running clubs that are active near you, and pick a night to meet up with them. You might just find that running with friends is the best decision you’ve ever made.