Have you ever found yourself staring longingly at a group of early morning runners as you drive passed or taken a few extra minutes to gaze at social media pictures capturing a trail running event from the day before while sighing from FOMO (fear of missing out)?
Then you are showing all the signs of wanting to get involved! And although hitting some takkie to tar for a solo sweat is many people’s preferred workout, joining a group or club can do wonders for your physical and social well being. Here’s why:
If you have mostly been running on your own, then you tend to become stuck doing the familiar routes over and over. Getting familiar can also mean getting a bit ‘too comfortable’ and possibly bored. Joining a running group is a great way to move out of your comfort zone by meeting new people and experiencing some different routes! How refreshing.
Staying on Track
This comes down to accountability. If you have decided to join a sports group who have scheduled runs or activities, then the chances of you bailing are much lower. You don’t want to let people down and you’re ensuring that you are still getting your workout in. It’s a win-win situation.
It can be daunting to show up to a group of people you have never met before and join them on a run. But once you are over the initial phase of introductions and polite banter, you’ll start to feel more and more like a family. These are likely to be similar minded people who are going to motivate you and keep you inspired.
Every runner has tricks and techniques that work well for them and others that don’t. When you are part of a group, there is room for sharing and comparing with the other runners whether it’s about nutrition, stretching, gear or gadgets. It’s an opportunity to share knowledge and get feedback from fellow runners.
Many runners fear joining a group because they believe they are not fit enough or fast enough to keep up. Rest assured that in most cases, there will be someone running a similar pace to you or someone who acts as a sweeper to make sure no one gets left behind. Plus, you will notice how quickly your running and fitness start to improve as you get comfortable in the group. This is because you’re probably pushing yourself a bit more and not even realising it. Or that competitive streak is coming through!
The bottom line is that running in a group is far safer than running solo and for more reasons than one. There’s the comfort of knowing people are around if you get injured or feel sick, you are better visible to drivers on the road and you are less likely to be a victim of mugging.
These are a few of many reasons we think joining a running group is a great idea. Not only will your fitness improve and you feel safer, but you will also gain knowledge and make new friends along the way.