I am primarily a solo runner but, I ran with 2 other people for a while on a Wednesday. This changed my running journey for the better. How did it? I hear you ask.
Motivation, improved performance and accountability were the main benefits I experienced when running with a group, but it also provided social interaction, support, safety and opportunities to learn how to improve my running technique. I found that I experienced a variety of benefits beyond just physical fitness when running with a group. I would recommend others to give group running a try.
Let's look at it a bit closer and find out why you should find your running tribe.
Motivation and Accountability
One of the main benefits I experienced when running with a group was motivation and accountability. I felt like I had to show up whatever the weather. I showed up in the heat and in the rain. Running with others can keep you stay motivated and help you stay accountable. Being part of a group forces you to show up in fear of letting others down. Knowing that others are expecting you to show up can be a powerful motivator.
Social Interaction and Support
Running solo can get a bit boring at times and running every now and again with a group keeps things interesting as you chat, trust me the time goes a lot faster. Running in groups also allows you to meet new people with similar interests.
Running in a group can provide support and encouragement during challenging runs or races. Within my group there was a soon to be army medic who had been running as part of their training. They knew exactly how to support me in challenging runs and keep me motivated enough to push myself. I ran a lot more than I thought I could. When you go running with other people, you can support each other in your running sessions.
On my weekly running session with my group, I wanted to show them what I was made of and pushed myself much more than I do running solo. Running with others can push you to run faster and longer than you would on your own.
Additionally, you and the other runners in your group doesn’t want to hold the other members up and this alone gives you the motivation to move a little faster and run a little longer than you would solo in fear of holding your group up.
Safety and Security
Running with a group can provide safety and security. Running alone can be risky, especially if you are running in unfamiliar areas or at night. Running with others can reduce the chance of injury, getting lost or tripping and make you feel more comfortable and confident while running.
Opportunities for Learning and Growth
Everyone in your group has different experiences with their running journey and in life. Running with a group can provide you with opportunities for learning and growth. Running groups often organise workshops, seminars, and training sessions that can teach you about nutrition, injury prevention, and other aspects of running. These events can help you develop new skills and knowledge that can improve your running performance and overall health. Additionally, everyone has a different life so during your running sessions you may learn a lot from just chatting.
Better Mental Health
Running with a group can improve your mental health. Running releases endorphins that can boost your mood and reduce stress levels. Running with others can also provide social support and reduce feelings of loneliness or isolation.
Increased Enjoyment and Fun
Running with a group can increase enjoyment and fun. Running with others can make the experience more enjoyable and less tedious. Group runs can also be a great way to explore new areas and enjoy the scenery while running.
How to Find a Running Group
Finding a running group is easy. You can start by asking friends and family. You will be surprised how many people will be interested on coming on the odd run with you here and there. You can also check online for running groups in your area. Social media platforms like Facebook and Nextdoor can be a great resource for finding running groups.
Running with a group can bring a lot of value but, in the end, it is your choice. I would definitely give it a go through. It might change your running routine for the better.