If you’re relatively new to running, running with others or joining a running club can feel a little intimidating. Nothing sparks imposter syndrome quite like a mental image of super-fit, lycra-clad athletes on the prowl for PBs, especially if you’re lacking in confidence.
But here’s a question: do you run? If the answer is yes, then you’re a runner. And if you’re a runner, you’re ready for a club. Don’t overcomplicate matters by thinking about if you’re fast enough or good enough – You. Are. A. Runner. It’s that simple!
Plus, the benefits of running as a group are immense. Here’s five reasons why you should give #RunningTogether a go:
1) Variety. Chances are if you’re running solo, you’ve got your tried and tested go-to runs. But if you’re always running the same routes – and the same distances – it’s easy to plateau. Not with a running club, though! Most clubs have a weekly running schedule that mixes things up a bit – short, pacy runs on a Monday, trail running on Tuesday, medium runs on a Wednesday and so on – so that no one gets bored or complacent.
2) Motivation. When you’ve made a commitment with others to turn up, suddenly excuses like “I don’t have time” or “I’m too tired” start to sound a bit flaky. And once you’re there, even the most laid-back personality types can find their competitive spirit awakened. Running alongside others is a powerful motivator to keep your pace up, and keep going.
3) Friendships old and new. We all know life is busy, and fitting running in around work, caring responsibilities and general life admin can be super challenging. So why not multitask and get socialising while getting some miles in? Join a club or meet up with friends – you’ll feel better for it afterwards, and it’s cheaper than the pub!
4) Safety. As nights draw in and winter gets closer, running solo has its drawbacks, and fears about personal safety, visibility and slipping can stop runners from getting out the door. But there’s strength in numbers – plus, in a running club, people have put time into devising well-lit routes for running year-round in all conditions and weathers.
5) Making the psychological leap to saying ‘I am a runner.’ You are your environment. Surrounding yourself with people who run regularly could be just the thing you need to help you flick the switch in your head from simply being ‘someone who runs’ to ‘a runner’. You’ll find helpful hints and tips from those you run with – from the most effective stretching techniques to where to buy the best kit – and be inspired to keep going.