While running in a group may sound intimidating, there are many benefits to participating in a running group.
We all have that little voice in our head that tries to convince us to skip a workout. Running groups help provide accountability. Others in the group will encourage you to participate in group runs and when others are counting on you, it becomes harder to give in to that little voice telling you to skip your run. The majority of people quit running or exercising due to lack of accountability.
RANGE OF EXPERIENCE
Running groups can consist of runners with a range of experience. Fast walkers, joggers, runners… even rollers! At one point or another, everyone is a beginner. In a running group, you’re surround by a supportive, encouraging group of people who strive to become better and at the same time, push you to become better as well.
In a running group, there is always someone who has run more races, can run a faster mile or who is more fit than you are. This provides motivation to push harder and go faster. You will give more effort to keep up with the person beside you or catch up to the person in front of you than you would if you ran alone. You will also gain a group of supporters who will encourage and cheer you on both during group runs and competitive runs.
If you struggle to keep a routine, a running group can help keep you on track. Regular group runs, whether weekly or daily, are the perfect motivation to stick with your training. I for one have a very hard time sticking to a routine, but being part of a running group provides me with regular scheduled runs which assist me in staying on track.
One of my favorite parts of a running group is meeting new people. It is the easiest way to meet people with a shared interest while also staying active and getting fit. Many people have made close friends, myself included, and even met their spouses or significant others after joining a running group.
Running with a group provides a great sense of community. You are there for each other, providing encouragement and support through problems and triumphs both running and non-running related. It is rewarding to connect with like-minded people and be a part of something larger than yourself. Racing together, volunteering and cheering on your running mates are all great examples of the community relationship in a running group.
Social facilitation is the tendency for people to perform differently when in the presence of others than when alone. Basically, you’re likely to put in more effort when running with a group than you would by running alone. You feel more motivation to keep with the others and even run faster. When I ran my first 5k, I had never run more than a mile and I ended up running the whole 3.1 miles, without stopping.
One of the most essential benefits to running in a group is the aspect of safety. It is much safer to run in a group than it is to run alone. It is harder to get lost while running in a group and if you do, you can work together to redirect and find your way. It is also helpful to have others there if someone gets hurt or sick. While running with a group you are less likely to need to listen to music and thus will not be distracted and unable to hear traffic or other hazards. Lastly, predators are more likely to attack lone runners than a group.
If you are looking for motivation, support and to meet new people, a running group is a great place to start. And don’t feel discouraged by the word “run.” We define “running” as “moving forward at a brisk pace.”