5 Undeniable Reasons to Join a Running Group
Growing up I was never a fan of team sports. I was the awkward kid who would daydream in the outfield while there was a softball game going on around me. I did a little better playing tennis (singles, of course) in high school. I learned through forced team sports and embarrassing gym classes that I was more suited for individual sports, which is how I eventually came to love to run.
I didn't need teammates to run, I didn't need to socialize or show up for team practice. I just laced up my shoes and hit the road whenever I felt like it. It was a perfectly matched sport for my slightly introverted personality. No one was making small talk, no one was judging my performance, I wasn't letting anyone down if I tripped over my own feet. Perfect. Except I was wrong.
Turns out running is an individual sport within a huge social community. When I got more involved in the running community I learned that running has the best of both worlds. I could get lost in my own head on long runs in my neighborhood like any good introvert. But then I could make friends in-person and online with a vast community of supportive people who get me and my crazy obsession with hitting the pavement. If there's one thing that runners like to do besides running, it is to talk about running.
The community is as diverse as they come. All ages, all backgrounds, colors, shapes and sizes. If one thing became clear it is the pull to the pavement doesn't discriminate, it calls all types of people. There are fast runners, slow runners, new runners, experienced runners, baby-stroller-pusher runners, dog runners, casual runners and serious runners all cheering each other on. It's one of the most supportive and inclusive communities I've ever seen. In all the years I've been running, I've hardly heard a negative comment between runners. Runners generally don't judge or put each other down. We lift each other up to become our highest and best.
Which is why if you have the chance to train with a running group or join a social fun run, I encourage you to take advantage of the benefits of running with a group (especially if you have introvert tendencies, like me).
5 UNDENIABLE REASONS TO JOIN A RUNNING GROUP
1. JOIN A RUNNING GROUP FOR THE MOTIVATION
It can be hard sometimes to muster up the motivation to run, even with the best of intentions. Sometimes the days are long and the time is short. When you make plans to meet up with a running group, you have built-in motivation. Showing up for a scheduled group run gives you the motivation to run when you might not otherwise.
2. JOIN A RUNNING GROUP FOR ACCOUNTABILITY
We often feel more accountable to other people's expectations than we do to our own. Once you make friends in the group, they'll be sure to give you crap if you wimp out. A running group can be the place where everybody knows your name and misses you when you don't show up.
3. JOIN A RUNNING GROUP FOR THE RUNNING TIPS
Even if a running group doesn't have an official coach like many do, there are runners of all levels willing to share their own running experiences. Groups can be a great place to learn from other runners and coaches alike. Who knows, maybe you even have some wisdom to bestow upon a less experienced runner. We are all here to help each other out.
4. JOIN A RUNNING GROUP TO IMPROVE
Nothing will help you improve as a runner as much as running with faster friends. You can run at your own comfortable pace all the time, but if you want a little push, join in with some faster friends once a week for a little push of the pace. Of course, there's no pressure to run faster if that is not what you want. Running groups will have people of all paces and abilities, including walkers, so you can find the people you want to run or walk along side.
5. JOIN A RUNNING GROUP TO MEET LIKE-MINDED FRIENDS
They say we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time around. So if your family doesn't run, your co-workers would rather take a smoke break than a walk break and your friends prefer to socialize at a bar, it may be a good idea to open up your social circle to some health-minded friends. A running group will be full of people with similar interests and goals, plus maybe you can grab a beer after your run for the best of both worlds.
Convinced? If you are in Fort Worth, Lone Star Walking & Running company has a four mile social fun run for both runners and walkers on Wednesday nights at 6:30 PM. We have a fun inclusive group who will welcome you with open arms and offer you post run beer or an ice bath (which ever you prefer).
If you are not within driving distance of Fort Worth, search out your local running specialty store for events near you. Get some exercise, have some fun, make some friends. It's worth it.
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Author: Lea Genders
Lea Genders is a running coach and personal trainer in Fort Worth, TX that specializes in strength training for runners. Visit her on Mondays at Lone Star Walking & Running Company, on her strength & running blog at www.leagendersfitness.com or say hi to her and her favorite four-legged running partner over on Instagram at Runningwithollie